Author — Jim Harris
WHAT HAS CHANGED AT CHURCH LATELY?
I realize that some may be offended by what is in this article. Some may totally disagree with me, considering me (and my article) to be “mossback,” outdated, old fashioned, and more. However, I cannot find anywhere in God’s Word where the Lord instructed His churches to get more like the world in order to attract the world, and borrowing and applying the world’s terms to what we do is a step in that direction.
A lot of things have changed since I started going to church over 60 years ago. While there are a few things that have changed for the better, most of the changes have taken us, I believe, farther away from resembling the kind of church that Jesus started, the kind of church that the Apostle Paul addressed in over half of the New Testament. Some of those negative changes are noted below.
1. The big room where services are usually held on Sunday mornings is no longer a sanctuary. Now, it is an auditorium.
2. The area where the preacher stands is no longer a podium or a “pulpit area.” Today it is a stage where all kinds of performances take place.
3. The people (supposedly) listening to the sermon are no longer called the “congregation.” Instead, today they are the “audience” (which the preacher must entertain and please if he wants them to come back next Sunday).
4. Thus, and sadly, the “sermon” is rarely a message from God’s Word. Today it is likely to be a “pep talk,” the latest pop psychology, or simply a “nice little talk.” In some instances, the sermon may be replaced with a drama, a cantata, or some other less offensive approach to entertaining the “audience.”
5. Preaching is no longer delivering a message from God’s Word. Instead, it has become a performance to be rated by the “audience” (congregation) to help them determine if they want to return and hear more next Sunday.
6. Often, special music is no longer presented to the glory of God but to showcase and promote the ability of the person, group, or choir singing. Consequently, instead of bring glory to God, it is sometimes presented to bring glory to the individual singer(s) or musician.
7. And, the building where the people meet is no longer called the church house. It has become “the church.” And whereas the building can never go into all the world making disciples for Christ or bring glory to God, the people could — if they would.
There are many more things that have changed, and it has not taken them 60 years, only the last few. I wonder, when will the Lord’s churches get back to being what He called them to be and quit taking their cues from the world?