George Barna, the Christian polling expert and best selling author of many books, including “Revolution, The Habits of Highly Effective Churches” and “The Second Coming of the Church,” has often been highly critical of evangelical, Bible-believing churches. He criticizes them not because he doesn’t share their doctrinal position, but because he does share it. He recently wrote: “The challenge to church leaders is to stop pandering for popularity and set the bar higher. People only live up to the expectations set for them. When the dominant expectations are that people show up, play nicely together and keep the system going, the potential for having the kinds of life-changing experiences that characterized the early Church are limited, at best.” He went on to say, “There has never been a time when American society was in more dire need of the Christian Church to provide a pathway to a better future. Given the voluminous stream of moral challenges, and the rampant spiritual hunger that defines our culture today, this should be the heyday for biblical ministry. As things stand now, we have become content with placating sinners and filling auditoriums as the marks of spiritual health.”
The criticism is appropriate and well put. This is not the time for Christians to be sitting around congratulating one another because we have found a way to fill our church buildings. Our society is decaying from within and so many of our citizens, even the non-religious, are looking for a more meaningful life. That is what we have committed ourselves to do at CCF, to provide the direction to a life of meaning and purpose—becoming everything God has called us to become. But we can only offer the direction and give opportunities. The congregation has to act and step out and embrace that disciplined, godly lifestyle the Lord has called all of us to live. If we don’t step out and step up to other levels in our Christian walks we will only be adding our names to that long list of churches that are “fiddling while Rome burns.” Do you want to make your life count for something that will outlast it? Do you want to hear God say “Well done, good and faithful servant” when your life is over? Then it is time to get ready to perform as we raise the bar. Take the time to get in a small group, step out to lead, build relationships, and minister to those around you who need you. Only that kind of response to our decaying society can justify our continuing existence as a church family.
Senior Pastor of Cactus Christian Fellowship