Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Christian Club

Churches can make a difference in some way with some Christians, but it's unlikely they're making a dent in culture by reaching the unreached or helping the truly disenfranchised. [from The Tangible Kingdom by Halter & Smay].

I just started this book (thanks Dad!) and it is already getting the wheels in my head turning. I remember back to High School when we had "Christian Club" - a place where Christians could eat lunch together and hear some lesson by some local youth pastor. We were encouraged to bring our "non Christian friends" but in reality most of the kids did not really have any non-Christians that they could actually call friends, and those of us who did were too embarrassed by the lameness of the club to bring a friend. Sad reality, but truthful. Flash forwad to today. I look around at many churches and find them operating in much the same way. We as the church do a good job at creating a club for Christians. Christians feel safe inside and hang out with other people who do not scare, threaten or intimidate them. Christians jump from club to club feeling for the one that most matches their style. But just like the club back in high school, what good the church might be doing for those who are already believers is completely overshadowed by the fact that society at large is not really being impacted. People who do not believe in God and have no concept of a relationship with Jesus are left outside, because those inside the club don't really care about them and the club itself has no relevancy to them. I see churches doing a lot of good in the lives of "believers" - their lives are getting better and happier. But its those who actually need to taste the saving grace of Christ for the first time that are left wandering. What if churches across America stopped doing programming for believers? What if there was no club activities on the inside of the club? What if the only focus was on helping the community and world at large - primarily taking the time to invest in those who have never been a part of the club? Who knows. I have a hard time believing that will ever be the case. I love church. I just wish church could mean more to more people.


Romi said...

Great post and thoughts as usual Landon! Thanks for sharing about this book and I've added it to my next amazon book order.

I too struggle and have this bittersweet relationship with the "Christian Club." Maybe I'm naive but I think things could be different, it just would take Believers radically changing the way we see non-believers as well as how we do church. As much as I understand the merit and intent of "bringing a friend to church", it's just not very impactful. I truly don't think that getting people to go to church is the goal of the gospel. To me, church is what occurs when people are in relationship, community, doing and experiencing life together. And that can happen anywhere. I think there is hope for things to change, but it's up to us to make that happen.

Btw, have you checked out the book's website?