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There has always been a lot of talk by people about leaving, visiting, or experiencing a so-called “dead” church. To most, I suppose what they mean by “dead church” would be that it was cold and formal. When people say it’s a dead church they mean that it feels dead. This could be true, and as the venerable Jonathan Edwards said, you have to have both heat and light.
However, lets consider the other side, because I have seen just as many churches that are just as dead and yet have a whole lot of buzz about them. You know, they even have a buzz conference these days. They may have a lot of hype but no holiness, a lot of passion, but no power. So to me a dead church can look like a really lively one, for sure.
Today we have the church of the upwardly mobile, the church where everybody is somebody, the church where you can become the best you that you can be, and we even have a laughing church or two out there. We have the liberated church, the empowered church, the militant church, and the dead churches. I would put all of the above in the last category.
Today what we need is for people to be on fire for the gospel, but what we see are just more and more programs, promotions, politics, and purpose. We may have passion, but we don’t have any real power, because we lack purity (fuel): where there is no fuel the fire dies out. Flash fires, flash paper, and the flash in the pan all fade. Soon enough a fire that doesn't have real fuel dies out, and often gets replaced by a false fire built on feelings, fellowship, or flurry. People try and live off the fumes of a faded fire, and that, friends, is a dead church. Too many preachers in the pulpit and people in the pews are confusing anointing with adrenaline, and the busyness of man with the business of God.
A pastor in Illinois said something like this. “The modern day church looks exactly like a community service organization, like the YMCA. I love the Y, but I would not say I love the ministry of the Y. It is a health club, a safe place for families, and a place to go to have fun. The YMCA boasts having introduced millions of people to sports. One of their themes, “It’s more than a gym, it’s a community,” sounds a bit like the theme of the modern day church. Go to www.YMCA.net and view their website and compare it with most church websites. They are almost identical. Sadly, the modern day church has a lot in common with the YMCA.”
“Pastors who want to build churches by attracting people through programs and that sort of community, the YMCA could use your help. No one would say the YMCA functions like a church, but we can say many churches function like they are a YMCA.”
You see, church today has become little more than a socialistic country club atmosphere of fun seekers – not God seekers! Psalm 127:1 – Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.
The question remains: what do you want to be a part of?
It’s good to be active, and organized, and lively, but it’s a must to be alive!
Do you want to know what an alive church is?
A church that is alive is a church where people are dying!
Dying to self that is…