Church Culture vs. Jesus Culture
Jesus went around recruiting followers by saying “Follow Me.” These followers; known as disciples; were then taught to be “Fishers of men” or disciple makers as they left everything and followed Jesus.
Today’s church culture tells us to “invite” people to church; and to “serve” with other church people. We are denied nothing when it comes to the comfort that entices us to show up at church to participate. We also pretty regularly refuse participation in anything that risks sacrificing our comfortable existence unless we get a good “feeling” out of it.
So I’m just trying to compare what Jesus did with what we call “Christianity” in our modern church culture and I am finding a rather large disconnect. In fact; I am going to go so far as to say we have missed the boat so badly that we bear little resemblance to Jesus.
What was the primary job Jesus called us to be and do? Second Corinthians 5:11-21 lays out the reason for our faith and the logical responsibility that we now have as a result of being reconciled to God. We now have the responsibility of reconciling the world as Christ’s ambassadors. Verse 14 of that passage says that now “Christ’s love compels” us to live lives that are about the ministry of helping everyone we come in contact with into a restored relationship with their Creator. Jesus is calling all of us to be “fishers of men.” This is what disciples do; they make more disciples.
The relay baton has been handed off to us as followers of Jesus; have we dropped it in our churches? Is our identity as a “fishers of men” what is most talked about in church? Is it what all our programs are built around? Is it where we pour the majority of our resources? Is it what we see modeled by every leader in church? Do we celebrate every Sunday all the new lives that have been reconciled throughout the week? .
There is no substitute or alternative to Plan A. Everything else comes after or develops out of that clear and central purpose. Verse 20 of 2nd Corinthians Chapter 5 says: we should be living as though God is making His appeal to everyone through us! This isn’t a hobby or occasional event; this isn’t even a project or programed activity; it is our life! And I believe Satan has worked very hard to entice us off on well-meaning side-tracks.
So how do you start living your destiny? How can you and I start a movement within our Church culture to go back to living every day and every moment as Christ’s ambassadors focused on our mission of reconciliation?
Hospitality! Hospitality that looks a lot like discipleship is a way to zero-in our lives on this compelling act of love. Hospitality says: “my door is always open, come follow me as I learn to follow Christ.” Hospitality is the lifestyle of being a disciple-maker. Hospitality is the lifestyle of a “fisher of men!” Hospitality is the lifestyle, actions and thoughts of someone who is so humbled by God’s love and forgiveness that they can’t help but share it with their neighbors and everyone they come in contact with.
Hospitality is the way we deny our own needs and wants in order to reach those who are lost and in need of a Savior. Hospitality starts with our neighbor over a cup of coffee or a meal. Hospitality is not so much about what we say but how we live. Hospitality is eternally purposefull.
I believe it is time to turn our Church culture back to following Jesus. I believe that if we don’t start living lives of compelling love in this way, that God will have no use for us whatsoever. It doesn’t take a Christ follower to fill a back-pack or pack food for starving families across the globe. What we have that everyone else doesn’t have is the gift of a restored relationship with our Creator God in whose image we were made. This is what makes our message uniquely better! What we have in scripture is the mandate to be sharing it with every one and using every resource God gave us. Start with your dining room table. Invite a neighbor for coffee or a pizza. Begin a relationship that the Holy Spirit living in you can use to transform a life.
How can we change culture? One neighbor at a time! Will you start today living your purpose in Christ?
“Hospitality looks a lot like discipleship!”