There is mounting evidence that the modern church in the Western world has lost its relevance. Rapid declines in church attendance in England coupled with college aged students in America leaving the church in droves should be a clear and obvious signal that something is desperately wrong. It is late in the battle and we have done little to stem the tide. We must act swiftly, and in strength, in order to build again the church God desires.
We have lost our way because we have lost our mission. Rather, we have created a new mission, one that is not that which we were called to carry out. We have become consumed with evangelism at the cost of mercy. We have delivered a truth that is devoid of love. In our era of prosperity and mega-churches we have allowed poverty and homelessness to proliferate. We have stood by and watched genocide occur in Africa. It has been on our watch that single parent households have become an accepted norm. The prevalence of AIDS creates millions of new orphans every year. We have become irrelevant because of our silence. When the world needed us most, we were nowhere to be found. When the world needed our hands, they were too busy building larger worship centers for our own people. When the world needed our feet we were too busy running to the latest committee meeting for our congregation.
The modern church has blood on its hands because we refused to act. The screams of murdered children, enslaved teens and hungry parents ring out in accusation against us. We turned our focus inward and forgot those outside the walls of the buildings we built to cater to our comfort. The world at large starves while we indulge in every comfort know to man. There is more bread in our communion plate each week than millions of people will see in a month. We have been blessed beyond belief and we have squandered that blessing.
It’s time to return to “square go”. We must start over and build anew the church that God calls us to be. We need to strip away all that we believe about our responsibilities as Christians and return with vigor to searching the Scriptures in order to reclaim our mission. Let us return to the basics and begin at once to affect change on our world in the name of Jesus. We have food, so we must feed the hungry; we have clothing, so we must clothe the naked; we have homes, so we must shelter the homeless. Silence must no longer be our credo, but rather we must stand up boldly and call out injustice wherever it is found. In anguish we must fall to our knees and repent of our apathy. There is no one else to blame. We are the church, and we have fallen short of our mission and our calling.
These are harsh words and I don’t say them lightly, as I bear the burden of conviction along with each and every one of you who claim to follow Jesus. God forgive us for our blindness, for our lack of action and for our unwillingness to be the body of Christ to a hungry world. It’s not too late, there is hope; but we must begin today, we can no longer delay. Forget what you’ve been taught and everything you know. Return to God’s Word and seek what He would have you to see. Discover what He would have you do to alleviate the pain in this world. Seek Him passionately and allow Him to speak into your life a fresh calling. Feed the hungry and shelter the homeless. Care for the widows, the single moms, and the orphans. Be the hands and feet of Jesus. Reclaim the mission to which you were called. Don’t be content with irrelevance. Repent and boldly reclaim our relevance in a world that needs the Church perhaps now more than ever. Let’s start again and let us boldly live our calling.