19 09 2014

What if the church were more like Apple?

Can you imagine what that would be like?

Think of a Church, as attractive as Apple!

That’s what I thought this morning as I drove to my office and saw people lined up outside the local Verizon store to get the new iPhone 6. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen people lined up at a church . . . for anything! And that makes me sad.

The Church has been given more love and grace to share than any other Body in the world! We have a Gospel that is all about an affection that is unconditional, and a mercy that is new every morning — and our call is to share that with the world. And who doesn’t need more love and affection, more grace and mercy in their lives? We live in world where hate abounds — where violent division separates Blacks from Whites, Jews from Arabs, Christians from Muslims, Republicans from Democrats. Issues regarding sexuality leads us to quickly dam others to hell for all eternity, pro-choicers condemn pro-lifers, and class warfare continues to set parent against child, brother against sister, city dweller against suburbanite. Don’t we all need a greater measure of love and grace? And don’t we need it more than we need a new cell phone.

Christ’s body in the world today has also been given a cause that simply cannot be matched by any business, corporation, government, non-profit, or NGO! The prophet Micah has challenged all those who claim to know and follow God to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly! So why do we spend so much time pitting organ lovers against guitar lovers, debating which version of the Bible is most accurate, and arguing about whether or not Jesus is going to come back to life before some great world tribulation or after? While we continue to talk in coded language that means little to the next generation, they’ve gone off and discovered yoga as a spiritual practice. We continue to ‘do business’ like we did in 1950s, and then wonder why young families are simply not interested in what we have to say or engaged by the ways we say it!

Today’s faith communities are supposed to be about just that . . . being community. We are supposed to be places that are all about building relationships with one another: caring for those who are in need, comforting those who ares hurting, showing compassion to those whose burdens are too great for them to bear alone. While the world is vastly different today than it was 10, 100, 1000 years ago, one thing remains the same. People still need people. And if the church is about anything, it should be about people . . . people needing people. So why aren’t people lined up outside our doors to be cared for? Why aren’t people knocking down our doors to get themselves some of our comfort?

So much is being written today about the demise of the Church — article after article about why we’re declining, and book after book about what we can do to reverse the trend. But we’re really not talking brain surgery here. We’re simply talking about BEING the church. Perhaps if the Church just sought to be the Church, our future would take care of itself. Perhaps if we remembered our call to be dispensers of love and grace, and not law and judgment; perhaps if we focused on the mission of Jesus — doing God’s will “on earth as it is heaven” — and in ways that were culturally relevant and meaningful; perhaps if we sought to BUILD community, growing peoples’ relationships with one another and filling people’s lives with honesty, authenticity, vulnerability and trust; perhaps if we did just some of these things, people would be lining up to get in.

I doubt I’ll ever own an iPhone 6. And as much as I love Apple, I don’t think I’ll ever wait in line to purchase anything they might have to offer. But Church — you have something for which my soul will always long. You have given me more than I ever hoped, dreamed, or even dared to imagine. So help me share that with others. Help me to let the world know that more than a cell phone, they need a Church — the Body of Christ, with a love, a cause, and a sense of community that can do far more than an iPhone will ever be able to do.

Tonight, when I — when WE — watch the news, and hear all about the lines at Apple stores, God, help us to think of your church, and commit ourselves to making it a place as attractive as Apple.



One response

27 09 2014
Dave Edmunds

Amen!! Thanks for stirring up the pot in my mind and heart, Bob! (Uh…..didn’t mean that kind of pot!)

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