The cat is out of the bag. The community is well aware that the church is failing in her mission.
A block get together over the weekend confirmed it. In discussing things like health care, child care, homosexuality, and single parenting the group asked “Where is the church?” Except for my wife and me, this group does not go to church. They are socially liberal, fiscally conservative, family-oriented folks. They really do not harbor any ill-will against Christianity per se, but they do have some specific questions of the church:
1. Why are you focusing on always obtaining more land, building more structures, and increasing the number of programs for your church members when people in the community in which you are doing these things are hurting?
2. Why do you focus on two sins only – abortion and homosexuality – while allowing corrupt politicians, unethical businessmen, gossiping women, and unfaithful husbands to sit on your boards and committees?
3. Why have you not provided an alternative to the culture we see around us, instead of focusing on the latest music or media trends?
Church leaders, pastors, elders, board members – do you hear what they are saying? They know that the church is called to have a unique position in our society. They know that you are to help the poor and needy, to hold all your members to the same standard, to love unconditionally, and to help people through service and discipline live according the standards of Scripture. They see you as doing none of that. They see you as places of judgment, of double-standard, of corporate land-grabbing. The really sad thing is that they do not want to see you that way. They want you to be more effective, they want you to have some sort of influence – not as a political movement, but as a first responder out of love. Because they see you as just another institution, they will not come.
Much like the fabled emperor, the only one who does not realize that she is walking around naked is the church. The community surrounding the church can see right through the façade of ballpark sanctuaries and immaculate soccer fields – they see that the church has really nothing to offer. If that isn’t damning – what is?