We like safety. We do things to make our life easy. We like easy. Church looks nice when it is easy. Smiling faces. Shallow conversation. Sports. Weather. News. Kids. Everyone is great. We work hard not to go too far. We don’t want to give up too much, other people might think we’re strange. People we feel safe around.
I have really been convicted in the last couple weeks about the church’s desire for safety. I am tired of safe, easy church. One of my greatest fears and convictions about the modern church in North America is that Christ would be so sickened by our actions and lack of action that he would spit, spew, vomit us out of his mouth (Revelation 3:20). Francis Chan reminds us that this passage is written to believers, to the church.
The church of Laodicea was a safe church. They had everything they needed. God had blessed their area with prosperity through banking, fashion, and a medical training school. They had become dependent on the things God had blessed them with instead of God Himself! Christ called this church poor, blind, and naked! The language of the passage paints a picture of the church making God physically ill. I do not want that for the church I’m a part of or the North American church as a whole.
We talk a good game about what God is doing in persecuted churches, and that we desire for God to grow our churches, but are we truly prepared for what that might mean? I am not sure that the majority of the churches in America could survive if driven underground. I don’t know how many could even survive a major disaster such as what has happened in Haiti.
The other day, I heard Tim Schmoyer from studentministry.org tell about his trip to Haiti. In the midst of this unspeakable disaster, they are experiencing true revival in Haiti. One of the native pastors they met with told Tim that they have been praying that God would do whatever He needed to do to bring the people back to Him. Are we prepared to make that declaration in America? Honestly, the uncertainty of the outcome of that prayer scares me more than a little.
Where is radical thinking among churches? Are we truly working to bring in a revolution that builds and encourages God’s people into falling face-down in awe and reverence to the God that created us and loved us enough to send His only Son to die for us? What are we doing that is so different that people cannot help but notice? I fear that well-intentioned youth pastors and pastors have perpetuated the condition of comfort in our churches (myself included). We have done it with shallow, slick, easy, messages that fail to call people into the dangerous unknown. Do we even know where that is ourselves? We cannot lead students where we have not been, nor where we fear to go. Do we still believe that God can truly bring revival into the context of what we’ve made church today? Are we willing as a church to make whatever changes out of a compelling fear and love for Christ to keep from being spit out, separated, removed from God’s plan. Are you in? It will not be a safe choice.
Brent Lacy is the Youth Pastor at FBC Rockville, IN and the tech guy behind http://MinistryPlace.Net.