The 21st Century Retooling of the Church – Part XXXXX = L
The Mid-Century mark of blogging about the “retooling of the 21st Century Church” is dedicated to the principle of “influence” over “affluence”, the very force that is needed to bring change to the American Church. “Affluence” is when money speaks, the power of the dollar dictates policy; “influence” is measured by “change” (sorry, not a pun on monetary coins intended here)! How does the replacing of the dollars in the offering to change bring about change in the way the church does business, or should it even matter?
Budget reductions brings reduction in staffing, in funding projects, re-examining commitments to other outside ministries, etc., which, when we look at as church business, diminishes its “influence”. Actually it just may make those who attend the church to be more active, more out going in their faith, more supportive of service projects demanding their time, more caring about what the church is doing, creating more “influence” in the community around them.
With budget cuts nationally and locally, those social programs once deemed necessary are liquidated for the cause of saving money. Programs targeting the poor are slashed. It is looked upon as it is no longer the government’s problem to take care of the poor. Property tax funding public schools is under attacked by tax payers who no longer have children of their own in public schools with the attitude of “why should I sacrifice of someone else’s child”. “They (undefined) needs to take care of their (undefined) own! They (undefined) are not my responsibility.” When pronouns are generally used, prejudice can be detected.
I hear it’s the “taxpayer’s money, my money, that is funding all this. I should be able to control my money, not the government.” All the while we, the American taxpayer, are living in our large homes with two or three car garages, their value determined by the number of bathrooms on the premise, large screen tv’s and entertainment centers in multiple rooms to fill our thirst for entertainment, children playing video games, Googling on their computers, or texting and tweeting their friends rather than playing with them in their ¾ acre lot of a yard. The “affluence” of wealth in America has had a direct correlation of the American church’s role of “influence”, paying others to do what the Church, the people of God, should be doing? The “retooled 21st Century Church” needs to change its mindset of operating out of “being affluent” to serving by “influencing”. This needs to be developed not only how it deals with matters within the church, in house, but also outside its walls. The power of the Great Commission is not to be held within the walls of “affluence” of the church, but by its “influence” of reaching out to a dying and desperate world, looking for help and answers.
So how does the Church gain back its “influence”? Through “sacrifice”, “service”, and “selflessness”, three central themes of the gospel of Jesus Christ which are all contrary to the “affluent”! If we miss any of the above three when doing something, we missed the target, and missing the target is the definition of “sin”.