December 31, 2007

Instead of Fishing Boats, we now have Cruise Ships

(Please note that my comments here about "the church" are not directed to any particular church or body of believers, but that I am speaking in generalities of the Modern Day Church as a whole. Please realize there are some good churches out there, but it is my opinion they are fewer in number than the Modern Day Church (MDC) mentioned in this post)

In recent months several of my fellow Christian bloggers have written about the issue of being overly "busy" in their various roles within their respective churches. Blogger Dean Lusk has written several good posts on his site about this subject matter over the past couple of months. Over the Christmas Season I had a chance to reflect a little further about this subject matter (as this is the season of being busy).

As I was pondering this whole issue last week when something struck me. It was one of those moments of irony (it reminds me of that 90's song "Things that make you go Hmmmm"! So here it goes: The "thing" that is supposed to draw people closer to God (ie. the church), is turning out to be the the very thing that is causing people to be separated from Him! Here's what I mean. Most people come to church with the idea that they are going to obtain knowledge and understanding of God and the church body is there to oversee peoples spiritual growth and maturity (at least thats the general concept). Instead, they become "saved" and the next thing they know their being shuffled off to Nursery duty or being asked to teach Sunday School. Next thing they know, its years later they are no better off spiritually than when the first came to know the Lord. Why does this happen? Because the very entity or body that was supposed to assist them in growing spiritually, has instead hampered them from growing by keeping them "busy".

Recently I have been reading Leonard Ravenhill's "Why Revival Tarries". In his book he writes about the "Present Day Church" where he sites the following:

"What a fever of church building there is just now, yet without unctionized preachers these altars will never see anxious penitents. Suppose that we saw fishing boats with the latest in radar equipment and fishing gear launched month after month and put out to sea only to return without a catch - what excuse would we take for this barrenness? Yet thousands of churches see empty altars week after week and year after year and cover this sterile situation by misapplying the Scripture. "My word . . . shall not return unto me void." I

For one, I think Leonard's comments really applies to the whole issue of busyness and our churches. Instead of seeing empty pews or alters these days, we see all sorts of activities going on, plenty of to and fro, but yet yielding no true harvest if you will..... Today our "ships" are large and full of people and we have plenty of activities. But instead of fishing, we are now nothing more than cruise ships, party barges if you will. Churches today have become nothing more than a religious community center where one can learn to have "financial peace", be entertained and see a floor show on the veranda deck! We have taken our fishing vessels and transformed them into ships of busyness. All the while countless souls are perishing into Hell and the Modern Day Church is not sitting idle. Oh no! instead it has lulled itself into a false sense of accomplishment. Along the lines of Ravenhill's comments - our ships return to the harbor with no yield in its hull! The boat is speeding in and out to sea, but yet it yields no fish! My point here is if we were to know of such a vessel, would we not inform the ships captain that their operation would soon be bankrupt or even worse shipwrecked?

So maybe the real issue here is not busyness in of itself, but that the church has lost its real purpose. Instead of the church being a place of spiritual growth and knowledge, it has preoccupied itself with being a Cruise Ship and not a fisher of men as Christ instructed his disciples.

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