What would happen if your church building lost electricity? How many people would have their Bible with them? How many people would be able to follow the music in the hymnal if the projector didn’t work? How many people would simply stay home because the building would be too hot, too cold, too stuffy, or too dark?
Now let’s pretend that not only your church building loses electricity but your pastor’s house, too. Would your pastor be able to prepare a sermon without Internet? Would he or she have any stories to tell or illustrations to relate without searching online? Could your pastor speak from the heart or would he or she be lost with no light to read from a manuscript?
I imagine a church full of people wandering around in the dark, not knowing when to start the service because the countdown is not projected on the viewscreen. I imagine a congregation That cannot worship because they don’t have music and lights to manipulate their emotions, and because they have never been alone with God.
I remember attending church before viewscreens, before endless choruses, before the Internet, before Bible apps on smart phones, and before dark, cavernous multi-purpose meeting halls with manipulative lights, mood-affecting music, and polished performers.
I remember when we had a pastor to whom we could speak when we had a need, but that was before senior pastors, teaching pastors, youth pastors, children’s pastors, senior pastors, and church CEOs. I remember when we had to learn the books of the Bible and their order. I remember when we committed Scripture to memory. I remember when we were guided by the Spirit instead manipulated by the worship service .
And, I remember when we measured the success of a church not by the number of attendees but by the number of people whose lives were changed.
Why is the Church in the West dying? Because churches are social clubs doing “good works” based on social justice and humanistic principles, reaching out to people based on psychological precepts, marketing themselves like the newest trendy nightclubs, and presenting the prettiest, most talented, and charismatic musicians leading the newest music on a high-dollar sound system.
The dying Church in the West preaches “I can do all things through He that strengthens me,” and “I know the plans I have for you.” The dying Church preaches living “life abundantly.” It preaches giving with a “joyful heart.” But it forgets repentance and deliverance from sin, transformed lives, and freedom from the Law.
I long to find a church where the pastor preaches true Victory in Jesus because he has experienced it himself, not because he finds it in a Bible app. I pray for a church where the congregation is full of humble sinners whose lives are redeemed and transformed by the blood of the Lamb, and who are willing to reach out and lift others from the muck and mire of sin. I long for a church whose musicians play and sing to God’s glory, and not their own. I long for a song leader who doesn’t care if he or she is a little pitchy, because he or she is led by the Spirit and not the latest trends.
I pray let THE CHURCH BE THE CHURCH.