A Church Afraid of Brokenness

Courtesy Scott Maxwell, flickr.com

Courtesy Scott Maxwell, flickr.com

There has been controversy surrounding a large, corporate, mega-church in the news. I first became aware of it upon seeing this tweet in my timeline:

Curious, I read a few articles to catch up. If you are not familiar with what has been happening at The Village Church and want to be simply Google “the village church apology” and you too can get caught up. But doing that is not necessary for where this post is going.

So I replies with a tweet of my own (please excuse my typos):

It indeed would have been a breath of fresh air to see a church own up to its mistakes before they became a national issue.

But that seems to be the business-like environment prominent in our church culture.

Jesus is the product to be sold. In order to show the product works, there needs to be more and more ‘fixed’ people.

This in turn creates a church that does not know what to do with the reality of brokenness.

We are broken image bearers of our Creator. While we are being sanctified in Christ our old nature and new nature do battle (see Gal 5:17).

One of our most beloved hymns declares this truth…

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;

When the church does not understand that the spiritual life will have steps forward and steps back, the result is…

A community that lacks grace. Weakness means you are not following Jesus properly.

A leadership that lacks humility. Unable to acknowledge their own weakness.

Spiritual lives measured by performance.

Forgiveness that is conditional.

Followers that become disillusioned. Either by the fact that following Jesus is ‘not working’ because they still struggle, or that their leaders make mistakes.

To grow spiritually, we must develop awareness of our weaknesses. Then we can apply the truth of Christ.

To grow spiritually, we deepen our understanding of what we cling to as substitute for God. Then we can let go and cling to Christ.

Then we will be able to show compassion and love to our neighbors. In our weakness, Christ gets to shine as our strength.

From there, people will see and want Christ, not us or our behavior. The former will never fail, the latter will because we are broken image bearers living in a broken world system.

This applies to church leaders as well as congregants. Together we are all followers of Christ.

How has the modern corporate culture seeped into your church and/or spiritual life?

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I work with followers of Christ to energize discipleship, improve relationships, decrease anxiety and facilitate leadership development. I am a certified coach specializing in pastoral leadership, relationships, discipleship, life transitions, and Christian identity. Also, I am the author of the forthcoming book Discovering Your Root: Developing Your Identity in Christ.

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2 Comments

  1. Spot-on. It’s said that Christians shoot their wounded, and it’s unfortunately true…and has been for awhile. Remember what the Christian music industry did to Amy Grant after her divorce?

    I’m no longer well enough to go to church, but I do follow TBN, and I see some of these problems there, an assumption that salvation is a done deal, and the saved are entitled to hold themselves on a plane of self-esteem higher than the common clay (which includes Catholics, and members of the Eastern Orthodox churches, as well as the Copts).

    What they don’t recognize, and prove their blindness by their overweening pride, is that we are bound to crucify Christ daily, bound as we are to the flesh for the duration of our temporal lives. When we slip into pride at our ‘holiness’ (a prominent TV preacher once claimed to be holier than 95% of his viewers…ugh), or flash into anger at spouse or child or parent, we drive the crown of thorns deeper into His scalp and brow.

    And daily we have to admit that we screwed up. Otherwise we’re just wearing a disguise, wearing the Christian uniform while we’re serving the devil.

    And you know what happens to saboteurs caught in the opfor’s uniform during wartime…codified in the Geneva Convention (1932, I believe)…yeah. Death.

    Reply
  2. Our church became totally divided last night, I finally had to leave the meeting as I could not watch a congregation I love turn it’s back in hatred towards our Pastor.

    Reply

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