“He’d be such a GREAT Christian”

I’ve heard it over and over as long as I’ve been in the church. 

“Man, could you imagine what would happen if <> became a Christian.  They have so much influence and don’t you know that the youths really listen to them.”

I’ve always hated that line of thinking.

One, because it’s an absolute lie.  We make the failed assumption that their influence is inherent within them.  But we know that’s not true.  Influence remains only as long as contemporary culture says they are relevant. And relevance is measured by the ability to cater to particular appetites.  Those are surrendered rather quickly once someone identifies publicly with Jesus.

It seems we’ve convinced ourselves that the reason that the world doesn’t love our videos, and movies, and music, and books is because of our production values.  If we could only be slicker, sharper, edgier, whatever they would give us their undivided attention. 

The truth is our culture only celebrates and gives attention to those things that feed their desires.  In a world carnally driven, the Spirit is not a hot commodity.

The other reason is because it’s a cop out.  The subtle undertone to this train of thought is that we are waiting for someone to show up and make a difference.  We need someone to take the reins and reach the world. 

We all to ready to wait for a white knight to ride to the rescue than we are to be the white knight ourselves. 

We’ve resigned ourselves to the thinking that programs, events, special services and meetings will make the difference in the world of those around us.

Imagine what could happen if we became great Christians…

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Food Network, the Cooking Channel, and the progressive development of the Church

In 1993, with a straight forward title, the Food Network was launched.  An entire network dedicated to cooking shows and entertainment.  Makes sense.

And people enjoyed it.  And the chefs and cooks with their “BAM” and their butter and Southern drawl transformed into celebrity personalities.

And then came the competition shows featuring massive cakes, and Iron Chefs, and the whatnot.

But somewhere along the way, the Food Network became more about the personalities and the lifestyles of food than the food itself. It became decreasingly “how to” and increasingly spectator driven.

The Food Network even developed shows like “The Next Food Network Star” and “The Next Iron Chef” that were all about who would be appearing on their other shows on the network.

Somewhere along the path to critical mass and insulation, the network became about so much more than what it was when it started.  As it grew and expanded, the fringe programming became more and more central demanding more time and pushing the tried and true cooking format shows to the edges.

Last year, the network created a second network.  An entire network dedicated to cooking shows and entertainment.  The programming that the Food Network was originally created to provide no longer had a place in the line up.  But the Cooking Channel was created in its place to provide a home for all of those shows.

We’ve seen this happen before.  In 1981, it would’ve been hard to believe that you would ever need more than one cable channel dedicated to music.  I mean, the radio plays the same songs for free.  But inevitably, the popularity of the additional programming kept requiring more space from the music.  The answer – MTV2!

And we’ve seen the same happen within the walls of the church.

I’ve never met a pastor who wasn’t committed to sharing the truth of the Gospel and the love of God with people who need it most.   But, it happens.  In the course of the church growing, so many things become a regular part of the life of that church and they must be attended to.  The fellowships, and support groups, and events, and classes, and outreaches, and services.  The kids, the newly marrieds, the singles, the divorced, the seniors, the youth.

It’s not that there is anything wrong with any of those things.  Just the opposite.  There is great benefit in being able to minister specifically to a wide range of people.

We’re taught to want that very thing.  But we have to make sure we aren’t sacrificing our original design and purpose.

And we can’t be surprised when God suddenly decides that He wants a Cooking Channel to your Food Network.

Just a taste…

Ever felt like there was something missing, but you just couldn’t put your finger on it? 

You’re not crazy. You’re hungry.

In our current study series “Hunger”, we are discovering the symptoms of hunger, its function in our lives, how to properly respond to it, and how God uses it to draw and lead us.