The Irresistible Jesus – 02/9/15
Last Saturday afternoon, I read this headline article on churchleaders.com, Andy Stanley: The church is too ‘resistible’, needs rebranding.
“In the first message of a new series this past Sunday, February 1, megachurch pastor Andy Stanley told the congregation at North Point Community Church that the Christian church at large has become “unnecessarily resistible” to newcomers, its stubborn ‘temple model’ needing a rebrand. Stanley began the sermon by praising the changes made to Christian churches in the recent past: Steeples, choirs and suits are a thing of the past, and the church is much more ‘accessible for people who weren’t into the church thing’”.
To read the full article and subsequent comments on social media, go to http://www.churchleaders.com/daily-buzz/247913-andy-stanley-church-resistible-needs-rebranding.html.
A few hours later, I drove to the University of Pretoria to speak to a group of about fifty Chi Alpha students. With the article fresh on my mind, I asked the students about their view of the church.
The following is a sample of some of their comments:
The church has become about “marketing” Jesus
The church manipulates people into a relationship with Jesus
The church has secularised Jesus (making Him fit into the world’s way of thinking)
The church seems unwilling to include the next generation
The church has become about tradition and title (position and power)
The church is about competition – whose church is the biggest and why you should come to our church
The church is good at getting people saved but fails when it comes to discipleship
Contrary to what some might be thinking, this was not a generational gripe session, these students genuinely appreciated that someone was willing to listen. My willingness to ask the question and listen to the responses that followed, ignited for me a weekend of late night thinking and writing. What made Jesus “irresistible” in the Bible?
Perhaps we have concentrated so much on marketing the church, that we have diminished the irresistibility of the Head of the church! As a matter of fact, maybe our emphasis on tradition and title, (position and power) has led people to a dilution of the person of Jesus and the allusion of His ineffectiveness in our day to day life.
Today’s musing has more questions than answers. I am just at the beginning of this journey and am not yet ready to dismantle church steeples. However, if after revisiting the writers of the New Testament to see what made Jesus so irresistible in His day, I discover that I have done anything to make Him resistible, I am prepared to tear it down.
I feel a series coming on: “The Irresistible Jesus”.
Until next time…