Yesterday I blogged about Vampire Christians (i.e. those who are only interested in Jesus’ blood – salvation). Shortly afterwards I was listening to a sermon by Patrick Mead in which he spoke of AA Christians. He meant those who judge their spirituality by Attendance and Abstinence. The idea that if I attend services regularly and abstain from certain “big sins”, then I’m a “good Christian.” Mead asked, “Is that really why you were given the Holy Spirit? So you could be a moderately good citizen?” Ouch!
Our church staff has been discussing this. I am reluctantly having to admit that it isn’t 1979 anymore, and the church landscape has changed. My life experience has been that life revolved around the Lord and His church. And good Christians planned their lives/schedules accordingly. Christ and the church were a high priority. My experience differs from some folks I have known. Whereas they were threatened with, “You’d better attend church and behave a certain way or you are in danger of hellfire”; I was brought up with the attitude, “Why wouldn’t a person want to do this? Christianity is great. The Lord is good. Service is simply something that believers do.”
I’m not sure that world exists anymore. This is the challenge for the suburban church. Busy lives. Crowded schedules. Relatively happy and secure people who are simply “adding Jesus” to their seemingly good lives. Consequently, church leaders are finding that the level of commitment is not what is was in previous generations. At least it seems that way. I feel the tension between the desire to “raise the bar of discipleship” while at the same time trying to reach as many as possible. How many times can a guy say, “Bless your heart, Jesus went to the cross and you can’t even get your butt out of bed to come to the church work day!”? Okay, I haven’t said it publically. Quite like that. Yet.