As the various ministry leaders filed into the room, they smiled warily at one another. Exchanging tepid pleasantries as they moved to their assigned seats at the head table. This session was intended to create a panel discussion on “The Most Pressing Issue Facing The Church”, and the audience seemed enthusiastic to hear from this distinguished group. Some of the speakers were better known than others, but all had come with something to say.
One by one, they spoke out their concerns. One spoke of the rampant sexual sin, that had engulfed so many in leadership; calling for the corporate repentance of all believers. Another pointed to a failure to properly discern “The Body or Ecclesia”, pleading for greater unity among the brethren. Still another reasoned it was the lack of a functioning “Five Fold Ministry” structure, chiding the attendees to step under the umbrella of Apostolic leadership. Each presenter was met with a chorus of amens, and generally polite applause, until one particularly boisterous speaker set the spectators aflame with his diatribe on the loss of the churches influence within western society, and his “7 Cultural Mountains” strategy to bring her back to her former glory. The people rose to their feet as this man made his way around the room, laying his hands on them, and “imparting a spirit of boldness!”
Conference organizers considered ending the session on this high note, but there was still one more panelist who hadn’t spoken, so despite their better instincts, they asked that folks move back to their seats and give him their attention. The energy of the room dropped significantly, as this final speaker made his way to the podium. Some looked through their program, searching for the credential that qualified him to be included amongst this illustrious group. He spoke in a relatively low voice, and in measured tones, but he seemed to make eye contact with just about everyone in the room. He did not introduce himself, or give his resume, as the other speakers had. He simply began to speak.
“The most pressing issue facing the church of Jesus Christ is that we do not look anything like Him. We do think like Him, we do not speak like Him, we do not share His value system, and we do not reflect His character. We are called to be the physical manifestation of His Body on the earth. A living, breathing representation of who He is, so that He might draw men unto Himself through us. But instead, we have created an industry called, “The Church”, and we’ve slapped His name on our letterheads, and buildings, much like a corporate sponsor does on a stadium.
He said that people would know us by the way we love each other, but that is not how they know us. If we’re honest, we ourselves struggle to gather in the same room without all manner of envy and strife. Who should accept the invitation to join in such dysfunction.
The Apostle Paul warned that we could gain all knowledge, and know all prophecy, and give to the poor, but if we failed to love, as He loves, we would have nothing. We are rich in the things of the world. We have beautiful facilities, and state of the art sound systems, and church vans, and coffee bars… But we are impoverished in the currency of the Kingdom. I would suggest to you that it is not “boldness” that we lack, for we have boldly gone our own way. It is humility that we ought to pray for, because without the mind of Christ, or the Father’s heart, we cannot be trusted with the power of His Spirit.”
The room was completely quiet, and everyone sat still, as the man shuffled back to his seat. After an uncomfortable pause, it was announced that the session was over, and lunch was served. Both the speakers and the audience rose to their feet, and intently moved toward the door. No one acknowledged the final speaker, or addressed the issue or words he’d said.
But as the conference ended, the singular point of agreement amongst the attendees was that this man should not be invited to next year’s gathering.
By Bryan Corbin
There is so much truth here I had to post it. #TheRealChurch ISSUE JLB