Most churches have boiled down their activity and message to an inoffensive middle.
Offensiveness is not always bad. The Gospel, according to the Bible, is offensive. If your church is not offending people who don’t like the Gospel, the Bible, Jesus Christ, and any number of godly things, then your church is ineffective.
The reason most churches are not offensive is because they can’t afford it.
They have mortgages to pay. There are heating and electric bills and general upkeep for giant buildings. Exorbitant salaries for increasingly expanding paid positions must be paid.
As these things increase for a church, adherence to the offensiveness of the Gospel and truth goes out the window.
Some people want more of a thing while other people want less of that same thing. The church, desiring not to lose any cash givers, finds a comfy middle ground where both parties are happy.
Church traditions are merely hundreds of years of doing this.
This is what we’ve always done and this is what we will continue to do because back in 1893 the Jones and Miller families hashed this out until we found this workable solution. Don’t mess with it. This is what people expect. If we don’t give them what they want; they won’t give us what we need: money.
Your church does not perfectly follow the Word of God. If it did, it would be smaller.
Your church knows this, so it has come up with a handy way to make people feel like they are listening to God while scratching ears to get money.
Cynical? Yes. It’s also very true in most cases.
As a pastor, you know what verses your church has no interest in taking seriously. You know you can’t preach on them without losing people. Do you preach on them anyway and take your lumps, or do you compromise? Maybe skip some uncomfortable parts of the Bible?
Why are you doing that?
After years of playing games with people in my church, I began to simply preach what I saw in the Bible. People left. I made a clear statement to the board that I will take pay cuts. Keep doing everything the church needs with money, I will suffer the consequences of my teaching.
I taught what I believed. People left. My salary shrunk. There were many times I could have skipped verses or not preached certain sermons. I wasn’t trying to be a jerk or purposely poke people in the eye (most of the time!), but I was trying to be faithful to the Word.
My church shrunk to the point of non-existence. I’m no longer a pastor. The church is no longer in existence. I find both things to be ok under the circumstances. I tried to correct what the church taught and did with biblical teaching.
People left. People aren’t interested in biblical teaching; they are interested in an inoffensive institution they can use to assuage their guilt.
Cynical? Yes. Unfortunately, also very true.
Try it sometime. Do you have the guts to preach the verses you know your church ignores? It’ll cost you. Is it worth it? Well, you won’t have as much stuff and you’ll have fewer people, but you’ll also have a clean conscience before the Lord.
The church is here to proclaim the Light of Jesus Christ. Men love darkness and hate light. Don’t be surprised when the world hates you, and also don’t be surprised about how much world is currently in your church.
Don’t be an inoffensive, ineffective, worthless church. Proclaim the Word of God, forsake your dependence on worldly things, and speak the truth in love.