There is no doubt that McDonalds is appealing. It is quick and a treat. Everyone knows it is not a good option for a daily meal. Yet we know it is well known all through the world. The M illuminated shows us we have arrived at one of the franchised outlets.
The sad thing is we are doing the same with Church. We are now appealing to the masses. The change is subtle and takes time to achieve. It may mean bringing in people who market things and package what they market.
Paul the apostle in several of his letters speaks of how God brings people unto Himself. There is now a displacement right there. We acquaint the so called “sinners prayer” with one more member of the Church hence growth.
Contrast with what Paul says here;
And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
1 Corinthians 2:4 KJV
It seems when we need to “market” the Church we have lost sight of the message and it’s effectiveness to be of itself the means and manifestation of God’s power.
The subtle shift from depending on God with what He shows in His Word about functioning as His Ecclesia to appealing to the world means we must make it attractive and acceptable.
We must “polish” our theology in our preaching. Our Gospel preaching now packages the Gospel in meeting necessity of our own souls, in terms of wellbeing and problem and life solving formulas.
That is why there is little demonstration of real power. We have right at the outset believed a different Gospel. The Word “sin” today has had 2 reactions.
One the Church has become legalistic and used sin to judge wrongly whilst the members themselves lived their lives outside the bounds of righteousness. The bigoted yet hypocritical image of believers is all too familiar. On the other hand “sinful” habits have now become a lifestyle and an identity which means once we preach the Biblical based Gospel we are now seen as bigoted and intolerant.
To appeal you must negotiate and meet half way in many issues. We must package things to appeal and in doing so we must avoid offence at all cost. We must present our Gospel in styles of worship akin to the music culture of the day. Some of the doctrine filled hymns thrown out for catchy tunes and lyrics which appeal to the pursuit for well being.
I am not pointing out any particular congregation but these are tendencies that I am highlighting here.
As technology appeals to many of course we must also make use of it. However we are trying to make God in our own image. We must be aware that if we try not to offend or package it in a way that we gain respectability we have already lost the power from which Paul says is demonstrated by the Message preached in its unadulterated state.
We may get a healing or a provision, a miracle, but we cannot acquaint these as endorsing these tendencies as we exercise faith we will get these. What we need is to regain the distinctiveness which means we see why we decided to follow Christ; because we were lost in sin and needed to recognise that God sent His Son to save us. We must face sin. We must face our depraved condition. The benefits of this do not lie only in a better life but more than all of that is peace with God. This gives us access to eternal life.
The ingredients of McDonald’s may not be the best but they taste good. The long term damage to our health may be bad. So the “Church” of our day has lost the “Ecclesia” which makes it different. Separated to God. The Church of our day with its catchy songs and neat formula preaching may aid us to remain far from God.
The Church was birthed with a demonstration of Yeshua, sending His Spirit.
The demonstration was powerful on those 120; including the women that walked with Yeshua; including His mother too. We read in Acts 2 how fire and glory came upon them. We read how they supernaturally spoke to many nation’s represented in Jerusalem. We read Peter’s preaching centers on Yeshua and His purpose of death; resurrection and exalted state. The appeal to forsake sin.
May we return to the Word so that God lead us to the Ecclesia He desires for us, and for leaders that they trust the Spirit to enable them to move with power with an uncompromising commitment to Biblical truth!
Only this way will salvation come and power and signs follow the Word in their gatherings!