It’s Gotta Be More?
I recently read this quote in “Death By Church” by Mike Erre: “As long as people are coming and excited, most of us assume that God is moving. But NASCAR races and NFL games draw big crowds too.” — Mike Erre.
What is following Jesus all about? What is “success” in being a Christian?
For many years, CHURCH has equated success with big crowds, entertainment, and excitement. This type of CHURCH was made popular by a massive, amazing community called Willow Creek in Barrington, Illinois (which 1000s of churches copied). Willow Creek, for all its “success,” (over 20,000 members), has recently repented of this brand of ministry. Literally, the staff and pastors apologized to the people for the type of church they built.
Led by the leadership of Bill Hybels, Willow Creek has recently undergone a transition from majoring in entertainment with a minor in God to majoring in God with a minor in entertainment.
In the CLC Emerging Generations ministry, we will NEVER equate success (following Jesus) with pure entertainment. We certainly desire to “entertain” and be “attractive,” but this is not “success” in God’s eyes.
What is “success” in being a Christian? I think it is the following characteristics based on the attributes of the Kingdom of God:
- Redemption/Forgiveness (Others, Ourselves, God — Both Giving and Receiving)
- Justice/Righteousness (Seeking Justice for Others)
- Peace (Knowledge and Faith in this life and the next)
- Joy (Not just temporary, but real, permanent joy)
- Presence of God (The Spirit is clearly present in your life and you’ve allowed the Spirit in your life)
In our ministry, we use “farther in reach, deeper in Christ, stronger in relationship, higher in purpose.” If we continually push these areas, we will be “successful” in following Christ.
To sum the above, I just finished watching “Valkyrie.” The men who opposed Hitler stood up for principle rather than personal gain. They stood for something more.
Following Christ, being the Church, is so much MORE than drawing crowds, taking trips to Magic Mountain, going to Soaked, going to Leadership Lab, or doing Lock-Ins. These are all a PART of being the church, but it is about SO MUCH MORE than those things. I refuse to believe that Jesus died and said: “I was crucified so that you can go to Disneyland.”
It’s gotta be more, doesn’t it?