I believe the idea of the church as a hospital started years ago with the "seeker" movement. Maybe it started before then, but this is when I became aware of the changing church. The idea behind the "seeker" movement, in my humble opinion, is to make sure the Sunday morning service appeals to non-believers. How many times have you heard a pastor tell you that it's your job, as the laity, to invite your unsaved friends to church? If you do your job and bring these people to Sunday morning church, the pastor will do his job and create an environment that makes them feel safe and welcome. This way, your unsaved friends will come back week after week and eventually get saved. People should get saved within the four walls of the church, apparently. The result of this mindset is that believers hand over the job of true witnessing (inviting someone to church is not the same as sharing the Gospel of Christ) to church staff, and the church staff substitutes milk for steak at the Sunday morning meal. This is not the concept of church that I read about in Scripture. In reality, the church is not for the non-believer.
The Church is made of people who have given their lives to Jesus Christ. Christ is the Head of the Church. The local church is the gathering of these believers, under the leadership of the pastor and elders. The pastor is the shepherd of the flock. His role is to teach, encourage, and build up believers so they will live out Christ centered lives. According to Matthew 28 believers are to go and make disciples. All believers. Disciples. The terminology is "go" to them not "bring" them to the pastor. Unfortunately, the church has become a "perfect place for imperfect people" and the result has been devastating. Oh sure, the church still has full pews. And yes, churches are "relevant" and "cool" and people enjoy going to the show every Sunday. But where is the impact of all these church goers in our city? In our state? In this country? Where are they during the week? Are they changing the lives of those around them, or just waiting to be spoon fed the next Sunday?
These thoughts may sound harsh. The reality is that I'm not sure they are harsh enough. For too long the church has coddled young believers. Some of these "young believers" have been walking with Christ for 10, 20, or 50 years. Yet, because they walk into a "hospital" each week they are not progressing. Is this every church? No. Are all believers immature? Absolutely not. But are a majority of churches failing to teach the Truth of the Word? Yes. Do I also fail in my walk with the Lord? Every day. I too often settle for what is easy instead of allowing the Word of God to stretch me and get me out of my comfort zone.
So, why am I writing this blog? To encourage believers to start wearing armor and moving mountains. To encourage pastors to boldly preach the Word of God to believers and to equip these believers to fulfill the Great Commission. To encourage churches to stop calling themselves hospitals. Let's show non-believers the Light, not a gurney. Of course, these are only my perceptions, as I'm only passing through...
"What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation.
Let all things be done for building up." 1 Corinthians 14:26
Copyright © Rachel D. Butler and Only Passing Through. All Rights Reserved.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. ESV Text Edition: 2011.