The average Joe (by the way, why is it called average Joe? Why not use another name? Like Average Andy?) Church-goer seems just that: a church goer. I think we have a lot of Ians floating around our churches. What do I mean? They’re Christians without Christ. I know that’s harsh and can be rather judgmental. I’m not trying to judge, but I’m just stating what I have been observing and discovering through conversations with people. And a lot of non-Christians view us this way too.
I feel like there are many more people who follow the customs and traditions of the local church than Jesus himself. To church of Laodicea, Jesus says: “Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you and you with me.” We often take this passage as a form of personal evangelism: open your heart and Jesus will enter. But Jesus is clearly addressing a church. And it’s a shocking and saddening image: Jesus outside a church knocking on its door. How many of our churches are operating with Jesus waiting outside of the church, hoping to let him in?
There’s a plague of non-commitment floating in our churches. And it probably has been floating around for ages and ages. People are committed to their local sports team. (Lord knows I am at a fault to this) People are committed to their season tickets. People are committed to doing their work and their job. But where does commitment go when it comes to Jesus?
Why do we always settle for less?
Why do we choose the comfortable route?
Why do we seek to maintain the status quo?
How do we, then, as leaders get Six Pack Joe Church-Goer to Joe the Disciple?
How do we battle the complacency that fills our hearts as we sit in pews?
How can we fight the plague of non-commitment in our churches?
How do we get people to see our proverbial Jerusalem and weep for it as Jesus did? How do we operate as a church that Jesus is a part of, that Jesus is the head of, rather than a church where Jesus is outside knocking on our doors?
How do we get our beloved Ians to be loving Christ-ians?
I believe this is very possible, that we as leaders can bring about change in our local churches. We don’t have to set out to change EVERYONE. Throughout history, it’s always been a small number of people that changed the whole world.
We are still agents of God here on earth.
We are still the hands, feet and eyes of Christ here.
And I still believe that we can make a tremendous impact in the lives of our community in the name of Jesus and that we are still very powerfully relevant in our culture today.
May we all pray: Lord, send revival, but first begin with me.