Whipping the Church
By: Rev. Brandon Dirks
“We too often flog the Church, when the whip should be laid on our own shoulders.” It’s amazing how words penned in the mid-1850’s (by Charles Spurgeon) are still, if not more, appropriate today.
We need a revival in the Church.
But not the kind of revival you are thinking about.
The Church has been an easy target for believers and non-believers alike.
“It’s too institutional.”
“It doesn’t do enough of (fill in the blank).”
“It’s time for someone else to teach Sunday School.”
“I don’t like this preacher” or “that doctrine” or “that person.”
“The music is too loud.”
“The children make too much noise.”
“I don’t have time for that project.”
“It doesn’t support my pet project.”
“The time is not convenient.”
Is it any wonder that the Church seems to have made little impact in our community? Are there less burglaries? Less hunger? Less poverty? Less immorality? Less illiteracy? Less homelessness? Less incarceration? Less divorce? Do Christians look more and more like the culture—reaching for money, building up status, ignoring justice issues? The world seems to be as sin-full as ever.
And who is at fault?
That’s right. Me.
I’ve worked hard in my 25 years of ministry to change the Church, to change the community, to change others. But I did not work hard to change me. Jesus came into the world inviting people to follow him—not only to do what Jesus did, but to become like Jesus, to think like Jesus, to see like Jesus, to have the character of Jesus, to love God like Jesus, to love others like Jesus. As CS Lewis once wrote, “Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.”
I’m afraid I’m a fraud. I’m afraid that I am only a Christian on the outside and my heart is still wrapped up in the things of this world, the things I want, the way I want it, when I want it. I’m afraid I am making faith to be more about me than about Jesus.
Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2
Maybe the Church isn’t effective in the world because my heart is not as transformed as some of my actions. Maybe I’ve not surrendered myself wholly to God. Maybe I’ve not done the hard work to confess my sins, to read my scriptures daily, to have intimate conversations with Jesus daily, to tithe my possessions, to be discipled by a more experienced believer. Maybe I know more about Jesus than actually knowing Jesus personally. Maybe I’ve not put myself in the way of God’s grace so that He might transform me—the way He wants me transformed.
I need a revival of piety.
And…I wager… I’m not the only one.