We are called to be representatives and emissaries of Christ on this earth. Doing as he would do, speaking as he would speak, and loving as he would love. Christianity is a call to action, not just contemplation. But the church has made it too easy to go through the motions, to make our faith a Sunday only kind of thing.
Our large churches have made services more about entertainment than study. Large orchestras and choirs, mini rock bands, and light shows draw more people in, but the worship is a show instead of a feeling. The messages are growing more and more generic. Life lessons are given in lieu of deep study of the Bible. Why? Because that’s what brings people in and keeps them happy. They like that they spend an hour and a half once a week in a building, see a decent show, are given a feel-good message and get to tell the world “I’m a Christian.” Its probably safe to say that no one who starts a church ever intends for it to become like this, but as land is purchased and buildings are constructed bills have to be paid. Tithes have to be collected, so the seats MUST be filled. Again, it never starts this way, its never intended to be like this. But it’s a harsh reality that churches are businesses. And when a certain demographic of your market becomes less profitable than others (someone who can’t contribute as much to the bottom line), you focus less on them so you can focus more on those that are profitable. The churches become self-serving instead of community serving.
And so, Christianity as a whole looks more and more complacent and more and more stagnant.
But there is hope.
As these problems become more and more apparent to people who care about the faith, they are presented with a choice to either sit back and let the destruction happen or to shore up and repair the weaknesses. And evidence seems to indicate that the people who are most willing to take on this task are the very people the churches seem to have forgotten about.
From established Pastors leaving large contemporary churches to start a smaller one with new methods, to millennials stepping out of the shadows and exploring new ways to incorporate communities long forgotten, a counter movement has formed to help recreate what many believe Christ intended for the Church to be. Many are seeing that what conventional wisdom has caused churches to believe they are moving forward has caused churches to move farther away from their purest form. They are seeing that perhaps the best way to help the Church grow is to regress. A drastic “grass roots” movement.
These “underground” movements move as far as they can away from the corporate mindset of the mega-churches, and focus more on understanding and enacting the Philosophy of Christ. They see that our lives should reflect the Love for those in our communities. We are supposed to be salt and light. The effects of our lives on our communities should be irreversible, and our inspiration should be obvious.
We should be Priests. Beings set aside for a greater purpose.
We should be obviously different. We should stand out in a way that our communities will ask “What is it about them that make them different? What can I do to have that same infectious spirit?”
This is not achieved by saying and doing obviously good things where everyone can see them. It is achieved by doing the small, seemingly insignificant things for the individual in need. The encouraging word. The helping hand. The secret, unselfish gift.
Though these things seem small and insignificant, they are the most powerful methods for spreading the infectious spirit.
We should not be loud, judgmental, and intolerant (nowhere in the Bible are we taught to judge or choose what and who to tolerate or not tolerate). We are to show unconditional love and unfailing compassion to EVERYONE. It is not our place to differentiate between people of different beliefs, or people who choose different lifestyles than we do. We are charged by Jesus to be SERVANTS to the entire world. We are to humble ourselves, and try with all our being to uplift others.
When we all as Christians are making a conscious effort to show Love, Compassion, and Mercy (instead of hatred, judgement, and indifference) we will be living up to the name we claim (Christian literally means “Little Christ”).
When Christianity as a whole makes these things its focus and devotion, the “Body” will be moving in a way that will change the world. We will be doing the work Jesus charged us with.