In a conversation over a meal, I used this term – maybe I’m coining a new word “Church”-ianity. It is a play on the word “Christ”-ianity and conveys the struggle that I see in myself and in the consumer church in America.
- The kind of community that exists to imbibe – “feed me, feed me, feed me, I’m hungry, I don’t like that food…” (it reminds me of my children), a community that doesn’t understand life poured out as a drink offering towards God and others (Phil 2:17).
- The kind of ministry structure in which programming has replaced Christ-infused relationships that expand the kingdom of God because the life and Word of Christ oozes out (2 Cor 5:18-21; Eph 4:11-13)
- The kind of ministry structure in which people rarely discover or utilize their supernatural gifts or ministry calling, because the church has programs that have needs and people are shackled by the busyness of life (1 Pet 4:10-11)
- The kind of gathering in which following Christ in organic, life-infused community has been replaced by religion, the activity of “church” (1 Cor 12:12-18; Rev 2:1-5)
- The kind of gathering where ones can come and go, hide amongst the masses, and completely miss that a life following Christ involves the denial of self and the carrying of the cross daily in humble, lowly service (Luke 9:23-25; Phil 2:5-12)
- The kind of gathering where daily life is divorced from loving obedience – ones can participate, week after week, consuming a delectable pallet of the religious smorgasbord and walk away empty rather than being consumed by the love of God, the Word of Christ, and the indwelling Spirit of Christ within those who believe which satisfies the thirsty (John 7:37-39; Col 3:16-17)
We live in the land of the free and home of the brave – don’t we? Last week, I had the privilege of worshiping with a group of one hundred believers in prison. Afterwards, one thought kept playing over and over in my mind like a broken record – perhaps more like a scratched CD or mp3 with corrupted data packets… “These men are in prison, but they have been truly unshackled by the gospel (good news) about the kingdom of Christ; however, the church is shackled by the chains of consumerism.”
I love the church… I have been called by God to equip the church for service; however, I recognize that we need to be set free and there is but ONE Person who sets the captives free, Jesus Christ (Luke 4:18; John 8:34-36).