The Invisible Church
Some recent thoughts about the availability and efficiency of the Church have prompted me to write a series titled, “The Invisible Church”. Make no mistake, I said “invisible” NOT “invincible”. This series has been prompted by my thoughts about how billions around the world are homeless, starving, or without proper health care. I would even love to write a book on this subject, because there is just so much to say.
We’ve made ourselves visible through our elaborate sanctuaries, energetic conferences, social alliances, political influence, catchy billboards, pop music groups, energetic websites, tag line t-shirts, bible verse tattoos, entertainment events, radio and TV broadcasts, Christian concert and cruises, and engraved jewelry; but our efforts have brought anything but tangible results. The above ways of “reaching out” have very little to do with actually reaching out. Advertising is not reaching out. Making sure our church sign is lite up at night is not reaching out. We have to be in the mindset that putting money towards any of these things could be considered an overhead cost, because they do almost nothing in performing the actual work of Jesus Christ.
Ok, Ok, so you get my point. I understand those things are not wrong. Well let’s look at this practically. I do not put a sign up at my house with spotlights saying, “i am a Christian”, just so everyone can know, that God is here, just in case you didn’t know. Ok, analogies are not perfect, but i want to show that actually reaching out is in contrast to advertising God. We should give them help when they need it. Give them food if we have extra. Mow their lawn if they are incapacitated. A house next door doesn’t show that there are any neighbors, just like a church building does not tangibly prove that there is a loving God. This is why you can have millions of dollars in real estate, top-notch church programs, energetic worship team, and thousands in attendance, but still fail miserably.
We have said enough about Jesus, written enough about Jesus, sang enough about Jesus, it’s about time we just be Jesus. The world doesn’t need anymore words, or pictorial reminders. They need real tangible help. The repetitiveness of Jesus name in public is not going to stop world hunger, cover the homeless, and bring back proper health care.
We pour so much money into displaying our God and our Church that we could easily pay for all the commercial spots available during the Superbowl! Are we afraid that people don’t know that we are here? Does God need a greater display than the heavens? Does He need a greater display than what nature gives us? Will our t-shirts, billboards, tattoos and jewelry make the Church tangible in any way? Will our humanistic efforts to display God make God more real to us or others?
People are over gorged with our Christian sub-culture. We are so accustomed to displaying Jesus, instead of being Jesus. Jesus laid simple principles of this in his teaching. He said,
“for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”
This is the first part of a series on this blog about the invisible Church. In the next couple of posts, our stewardship methods will be on trial; and hunger, poverty, and health care will be on the witness stand. My final question to you is, “Can a city on a hill be hidden?”