I chanced upon this article early this week from Thom Schultz ’The Rise of the Dones’and this phenomenon of people leaving Church in America as they are tired of the systems.
I don’t think we are seeing this happening yet in Singapore, but I do know of friends who have already started contemplating this path.
Maybe over time, with more opening their eyes and ears to the stark truths. More who will be willing to listen to the prompting by the Holy Spirit in their hearts and seek the Word of God, and not only depend on the Mega-church charlatans who are preaching behind the pulpits now.
The exodus might happen then.
Until then, people are feeling something, something that they can’t quite put their finger to right now. But not uncomfortable enough to leave the walls of these organisations just yet. There would probably be many who have to suppress their thoughts of wanting to ‘burn me at the stake’ for opening this can of worms.
But with the previous posts that I have written on faith and churchanity, you would have some inkling that I am not a conventional Christian. I am not afraid to ask questions and look for the answers.
Whether we like to admit it or not, we are beginning to see the beginning stages of a new reformation happening for church internationally.
So why are people leaving the church?
One common reason is this; ’The sermons don’t speak to me’. There is this consumer mindset that has come into the church, where ‘I contribute (pay tithe), I expect to be fed’.
Why is it that we are expecting pastors and church leadership to feed us, when spiritual growth is our responsibility?
I think in a place like Singapore, of fairly well-educated individuals, we have have gone through our years of lectures in primary and secondary school and university, most of us have no problems sitting for like 30-40 minutes each Sunday and absorbing information.
But how many times do we need to hear Christianity 1.0 on the same subject of the grace of God? Hearing the ‘We are the righteousness through Christ’ preached Sunday after Sunday in different permutations, was the key reason why I left a mega church in 2008.
It was this very reason I once encountered that motivated me to study further what was taught, ask the questions and then discovered the inconsistencies. I didn’t even realised what were the inconsistencies until I was determined to seek God for the truth that was written in the Word.
After all the preacher or pastor is just a man, who is capable of making mistakes while teaching on an infallible God.
It is this very thing, the unwillingness of many who do not want to make that consistent effort to read the bible and know God personally for themselves, make themselves out to be victims of the deception that is being preached in some mega churches.
I think Christians need to ask ourselves if God will want His children to be seating passively on pews, just accepting everything that is shared, without searching out the bible for the truth for themselves. Or be reserved and not want to seek Him directly for the confirmation for these things, or press in to have an intimate relationship with God.
So is passive Christianity a trend in Christen-dom these days? Sadly, I am beginning that it is.
Christianity that is being practiced amongst a big group of Christians are focused on being just hearers of the Word (knowing the Word very well intellectually), and for some, ‘having the knowledge of God, but denying the power’ (2 Timothy 3:5)
Like what Francis Chan has wisely said, “God wants all or nothing. The thought of a person calling himself a ‘Christian’ without being a devoted follower of Christ is absurd.”
What is Christianity 2.0 or 3.0?
The reason of ’The sermons don’t speak to me’ then sounds like an easy excuse, when Christians should start living out Christianity 2.0 or 3.0 instead.
Christianity has never meant to be a religion.
It is all about a relationship with the Creator. Where the focus is to embrace a personal relationship with God, centred on Jesus.
If you a Christian, and Christianity is a religion for you, likely it’s time to stop finding purpose and meaning within the walls of a church building, and start living out what is written in the pages of the Word of God.
The true Church, are Christians living out their lives daily as disciples of Christ.
Not a denomination or the building or church that they attend regularly or have membership with. Or to take any pride in these things like ‘Our church has a great worship team’, ‘Our church has a great Children’s or Youth ministry’ or ‘Our church has a great pastor,’ or the ultimate, ‘Our church has a nice building.’
True Christianity is this; “If you love me, keep my word (commandments)” John 14:15.
We humans make it all so complicated with the systems, structures, and the fancy stage lights and effects that are in some churches, or even the concept of tithing. Attending church service once a week will not automatically make a person a true Christian.
Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that I am anti-church or the assembling of Christians. I believe the assembly of Christians do not need to be limited to the 4 walls of a church, two or more Christians can meet to talk about God, at a cafe, in their homes or even a park anytime. True Christianity means living out our daily lives as a ‘Disciple of Christ’.
Walk the talk, be doers of the word and not just hearers (James 1:22) and start living out Christianity that is listed out in the Bible 24/7, not just every Sundays at Church.
Stop focusing on what on what the Church can do for you. Start being the Church.
And the proverbial question which I always like to ask, “Do you truly know God. Or do you just know all about Him?”
If this post has ruffled your feathers, then I would recommend reading this guy’s blog for more of your Christian feathers to be ruffled.
And if this post got you wondering, I am still attending a small church and do intend to continue attending weekly. I am appreciative of the fellowship and teaching in church, but NOT dependent on church for my spiritual walk, growth or even the ministries in church to serve.
**Also, if you have this verse at the back of your mind, ‘Judge not, that you be judged,’ while reading this, do read this post