Sometimes I get angry and need the Lord to settle my spirit.
I am so frustrated over the shattered lives of man after man who I help find the Lord in jail, who then go to some on-fire, podium-focused, pastor-centric church when they get out.
Inevitably, I will see those men back in jail again a year later, or I’ll hear that they have relapsed and fallen back into addiction or bondage.
Why are they back in jail or back in bondage? Because that “church” is little more than glory-halleluiah feel-good meetings with exciting sermons framed by manipulative emotional intensity which masquerades as “worship” – all deliberately designed to serve as a platform to showcase the gifted pastor and his gifted team.
But no one at those kind of “churches” ever seems to come beside broken people to become involved with them one-on-one. Nor do they ever seem to take the time for real discipleship, which often involves the difficult task of helping clean out real mess in real people’s lives.
Oh, sure, most churches have programs and canned answers. But ministry?
Emotional experiences, programs and circus-like services seem to have become the substitute for mentoring, participating in each others’ lives, confession, repentance and forgiveness – and the hard work of helping inconvenient people becoming whole and complete in Christ.
In essence, such churches are built around providing spiritual highs. So is it any wonder that folks with addictive personalities are initially attracted to your meetings? And is it any wonder – as you feed rather than mend their broken personalities in your self-serving drive for ever larger attendance – that they inevitably fall back into old habits?
Yet you claim that lots of people were delivered from addiction by jumping up and down and clapping their hands, or crying a few tears of conviction, in some feel-good mass meeting? Get real.
You can boast of your church, your “amazing” services and your growing attendance, but I will be there to pick up the pieces once again as broken people discover that when the afterglow of your feel-good meeting fades, they are still left with themselves – while you’ve left to focus on your next big meeting or event.
Let’s get real.
Although you can boast of “mentoring” an occasional member of your church, it is driven more by your perception that they are worth “investing in” because they have the potential to advance your ministry. But when they fall short of your expectations, you’re suddenly too busy to be there for them anymore.
Understand that some of us get tired of constantly cleaning up the lives that your churches can’t seem to redeem. Broken lives and real people are inconvenient and demand more than your hollow gospel, artificial relationships, manipulative worship and podium-oriented shows can give.
But praise God, you have great meetings and can charm some dollars from your people!
But tell me, when did Christianity become little more than a circus?
I really need some folks to pray for me. I get so frustrated over all this, yet I see such amazing fruit where the church in fact starts acting like the church – where we get involved in each others’ lives and gather to minister to one another – rather than attending a circus that puts on good performances.
Biblical church is rare, yet the need is so great and my heart breaks as I see how folks are so willing to settle for hollow and ineffective Christianity as long as they are made to feel good.
Thanks for letting me vent.
~ Jim Wright