Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Jesus Didn't Die for a Street Name

For those of you keeping score, you know that I turned down an opportunity to go into ministry on a full time basis last year. If that scenario had played out, I would have started in that role on January 1 of this year.

We are now well into March and not a day has gone by that I have not second-guessed that decision and wondered if I did the right thing. In reality, I think very little would have changed. The only difference is that I would be getting paid for it and become one of the very things I have always despised.....the dude that's preaching for a paycheck. But that's another topic for another day.

Today, my heart is heavy and troubled because my faith tradition is disappearing and I am seemingly powerless to do anything about it. Churchitis is killing my church. We are so "churched up" that we have lost all perspective as to why we even assemble on Sunday.

In Texas, and in many other places, we name our churches by the Street Name where the building sits. Except for one. It's actually on Marsh Lane, but carries the street name of the crossroad just north of there! I know. It gives me ice cream head, too!

When one goes into the assembly at these congregations, he is "street-named" to death.

"Would like to take this opportunity to welcome everyone to <Street Name>."

"<Street name> is a loving, caring bunch of people."

" Please let <Street Name> know if we can serve you."

It goes on and on and on ad nauseum. We put our faith in <Street Name>. We put our confidence in <Street Name>. We put our hope in <Street Name>. We say INCREDIBLY stupid things about <Street Name> and its impact or reputation in the community.

And I wonder what our Savior thinks about that? I wonder if he almost weeps and and wishes that things were different. I wonder if he is jealous of <Street Name>. I wonder if he ever says, "If they would only put their faith in me! If only their confidence was in me! If only they had hope in me!"

Oil-Can has been making hash marks on attendance cards for months, keeping tally of the times that preachers mention Jesus in a sermon as opposed to the times they mention the church or <Street Name>. I think the most recent average is about 9 to 1. <Street Name> gets 9 mentions for every 1 mention of Jesus.

<Street Name> or what I like to call "churchitis" is killing our church. One <Street Name> I used to attend and love very dearly is deader than a mackerel and another <Street Name> right around the corner is heading in the same direction.

In both these places, on a Sunday morning, one gets "Street-Named" to death. Bless their hearts. They don't recognize it. They never will. Because they are so in love with their <Street Name>.

But almost weekly, they continue to act ASTOUNDED that the Millennials are leaving their <Street Names> in herds! I'm not astounded. Really! Sadly! I am not.