MARK 6:34 says, “And Jesus, when He came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and He began to teach them many things.”
I have searched for a place to exercise my spiritual gifts. I pastored four churches, taught hundreds of Bible Studies, written hundreds of devotions, yet as I sit in my local church as a congregant, I feel there is a gap between my expectations and reality. This situation has caused me to think that there is a pandemic within organized Christianity. The common thread is a subtle change from the centrality of the Word of God to something that could arguably be considered as important. Worship is a good thing but is it enough? The change is from discipleship to worship. I deeply understand and seek to worship my God in word and deed but I struggle with the lack of spiritual depth that a constant diet of worship and praise seems to provide.
So what is the reasoning behind this subtle change in style and methodology? Is it easier to sing and raise our hands than to rightly divide the word of truth? Is it more palatable to feel good by ecstatically repeating words over and over in the cadence of a snare drum and brass cymbal than to dig deeper into the Word of God and perhaps find something in our lives that requires change.
So who within the church today is supporting this well-meaning paradigm? Today, in America, churches are full of sheep not having a shepherd. Within these churches across our country, hungry sheep wait to be fed and to be led into the things of God. Unfortunately, these same multitudes are being shepherded by someone not willing to, as Jesus stated, “If you love me feed my sheep.” Barna’s studies state that two-thirds of all those who classify themselves as regular attendees have the primary desire for their attendance is to discover more about God. But when asked if their last church service meet that need, only six percent responded that the last church service they attended met that expectation.
And, unfortunately, while there is a yearning for God in the pew, there appears to be a falling away in the pulpit. I not saying that much of today’s clergy is spiritually bankrupt, I am just saying it is easier to go with the flow.
Paul speaking to the Roman church said “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” I long for the day when more and more preachers begin refusing to “trim the truth in the name of tickling the ears of the people.
Not wanting to be a part of the problem and becoming part of the solution, I have found a better solution to sitting on my holy petard. I am actively finding my place in changing the Church. I must change it from the inside of a church. I can no longer just point fingers. I must be a change agent. Spiritual gifts are not to be hoarded or kept to myself. I will make every effort to stick my foot in the door and make a difference where I can.
I will not do only what is expected but do as much as I can without incurring the wrath of the church hierarchy.