Jesus Is NOT Enough

My husband and I were driving around town today chatting about a local mega-church who seems to be taking over the city.  The newest campus they planted in a small rural area was forced to offer two services on Easter because their launch Sunday brought in 500 people. This church has talented worship team members, big screen TVs, whistles and bells, decorated hallways and cafes and coffee shops and telecasting and … and…and….

I get it.  I really do.  I started at a church like that, I was called to ministry in a church like that.  But here’s what disturbs me.  One of my students from the hood visited this church for Easter.  He talked about the big screens, and how funny the pastor was.  He was in awe of the feeling of being at concert but really being at church..  But then he says, “It was cool, but the pastor didn’t really talk about God much.  He talked about himself and his own life.”

So over lunch, I asked my husband, “When did Jesus become NOT enough?  When did the business of church, the business of advertising and gimmicks and enticing ministry get in the way of the purity of the Gospel?”

In his wisdom he kindly explained to my disappointing blue eyes that Church is merely a business these days.  That when it comes down to it, even church is about making money, and numbers.  I shook my head in agreement, because I understand there is a business side to doing ministry, I think Jesus even understood that when he so carefully picked his disciples-Matthew, Philip, Judas.

But it is Peter, who stood in the courtyards and preached the Good News of the Resurrection of Christ, and that truth, and that truth alone cut to the hearts of the people and they begged for repentance and baptism.  (Acts 2) And it is Billy Graham who has stood in front of crowds, preaching the truth, drawing people out of their chairs, out of their old lives and into something new…thousands and thousands…and millions of people.

In a world of comfort, today’s church is becoming more and more guilty of becoming like that world, instead of standing apart from it.  The church wants everyone to feel comfortable, what’s the most comfortable chairs, and sound level?  What’s the most comfortable place to leave my kids?  What’s the most comfortable message I can hear so that I feel good about who I am and what I am doing?

Jesus was not in the business of making people comfortable.  In fact, quite the opposite.  People were offended by Him, and his congregation, so to speak, would often be split.  Some believing with conviction, and some walking away shaking their head because they did not want to be uncomfortable.  Jesus let them go.  He did not entice them with a free basket of fish if they would just come back.  He did not ask them to complete a survey so that He could follow-up with them and make sure they really liked Him.  He spoke the truth, and He allowed the truth to speak for itself.

I’m not ignorant or blind to the realities and the changes in our world and culture.  I don’t need an explanation of church growth, or statistics on the importance of numbers in a church plant.  I just wish that we could, as a church, re-discover a revival of simply Jesus being Enough.

What are your thoughts?

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17 thoughts on “Jesus Is NOT Enough

  1. You raise some good points. There are dangers to making worship too man centered. Yet, as you’ve alluded to that’s not say that we forget people’s needs, and that those coming to our churches are coming from all sorts of backgrounds. I think part of the key is being able to move them from being a spectator into a growing and vibrant relationship with Christ and His church.

    1. I think that you are spot on in saying that we must move people,cand it seems thats where the comfortable-ness factors in. Not only is it uncomfortable for the people to move, it can be unnerving for leadership as well….always good to check my own heart! Thanks for your comments and the work you do for the Kingdom!

  2. Totally agree. It’s actually sad that we have these technologies available but aren’t using them in a way that actually contributes to the gospel rather than being a distraction.

    I think this is a good motto: The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.
    🙂

    1. Thanks for the challenge to use our blessings to contribute to the Gospel not distract from it….I think thats the just of what I am getting at! Tooo many churches get more wrapped up in the technology when theynshould be wrapped simply in Jesus!

  3. Tiffany, I understand the point you are trying to make and I agree with you. No matter what size your congregation is, no matter what tools your church has to do ministry, the message must always be the love of Jesus.

    However, it seems to me you are judging a church by one person’s impression of one Sunday visit. I don’t know the pastor at this church plant, but I do know many people who attend the sending church. Witnessing first hand the growth they have experienced since joining that church and having visited there myself, I know that the gospel is being preached.

    As Christians in this community, I think its important we don’t make assumptions about churches or pastors by what someone tells us. Instead, let us be in prayer for that congregation. Let us ask God to bless that pastor and staff to be a light to the community. Maybe at some point we can even partner with them to spread the gospel. I hope you don’t take my post the wrong way. I often feel lost in a mega-church, like they don’t need me. I know mega-churches aren’t for me, at least right now. But if one person comes to know Christ through this church, I am glad they are there!

    1. I hear what you are saying and dont take offense. And even though good things can happen at a church, any church, the lukewarmness that most churches swim in is disheartening.

      The individual that visited the church actually visited the main campus, and I have had several people i know actually leave the church for that very reason. I personally have been to this church and tend to feel the same way.

      Pray for them yes. Desire God does good things, absolutely. Accept it as the norm and standard for churches, I can’t.

      Thanks for your thoughts!

  4. I really identified with this. I have just left a group of Christians I had grown to love because I could not agree with their vision of wooing a bigger congregation and thus being able to build a bigger building, attributing it all to a “move of God” to reach more people. I understand what they are saying and truly believe their hearts are well-intended, but no where in scripture can I find basis or instruction for theatrics and showmanship that manipulates the people in a crescendo of emotion and makes us all feel good to have really ‘felt the power of God” moving, all to ensure more and more people attend and it becomes a bragging point to list the number attended and ‘brag’ how many were saved (an appallingly low number in ratio to those attending). At the same time, I am holding my own self accountable, not sitting in judgement of them, but asking God to continually grant me (and them– ALL of us, the Body of Christ)discernment and clarity to enable me to “go”, which is truly what I believe He exhorts us to do– “go” – and take with us only the Gospel, the Good News which penetrates, convicts, saves, and restores and then bring the saved back to the body of Christ to learn the pure and simple teachings of Christ. I keep coming back to this thought (I’m calling it “The Field of Dreams” Philosophy): God did not say “build it and they will come”; He said “Go and make disciples”. It is true, Peter needed only the Word; when did He become peripheral?

    1. Not sure about the Peter, but Jesus only needed the Word. When he stood and spoke to people, He had his knowledge of Scripture, the prayer filled power of God and the Holy Spirit, He also genuinely cared about people and their lives, willing to stop His own, or go out of his way to show people that he wanted to know them. When we Go, we are to go to people…

      Sometimes the church uses how Paul was everything to all people…but he was this in the middle of the streets where THEY were at. The church was for believers who would gather, support each other, and then hopefully GO.

      I think the church has become too much about the NON believer. Not that we should be sensitive, welcoming — our lives as believers, and the excitement for what God is doing in our lives will be used by the Holy Spirit to be a testimony to those who don’t believe so that they say: I want what you have.

      As frustrating as the church can be, you should make sure to be apart of one. Change can never happen in the church if we keep abandoning it.

      Thanks so much for your thoughts! 🙂

  5. The buzz from going to a concert is very real for many people but it makes poor substitute for connecting with God. You are so right, we have lost the concept of what “church” is and created a substitute instead.

    1. A substitute for sure–we should stand different from the world–so that people’s natural curiosity can be sparked by the Holy Spirit, bringing people into the church. Thanks so much for your thoughts!

  6. Unfortunately, our history is cyclical in this manner. The temptatious desire to receive more and more is hard to resist. The Bible records it is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Paul was given a thorn for his pride, because of the revelations he was given. The letters within scripture also mandate the qualifications of church leaders to be men without preexisting issues of greed for money. Many imposters within the church who were never saved in the first place, use the church and lead foolish people astray by appealing to our lusts. I am sure given the option of receiving, a five-bedroom home, a trophy wife, and a 7 series BMW or choosing rather to live modestly and marry someone based upon Proverbs 31, which says a woman’s beauty is vain, requires a constant dose of meditation on Christ both day and night. The good news is that Christians in the end still win. No matter what the cycle does, time is linear and will culminate. Hopefully, we find Jesus enough, because he is the only name by which a man or woman may be saved.

  7. I’m totally with you on the mega-church thing and was actively involved in one for years. It had the bells and whistles, professional music, and satellite churches around the world. At first, honestly, I needed a safe environment to let go and let God break through the wall of self-sufficiency I projected to the world. Being lost in the crowd allowed me to surrender emotionally while blending in perfectly. Bible verses were peppered throughout the sermon, but what touched people were the stories of the pastor as he learned to be more like Jesus in his daily life. For me, it brought in the human aspect of all the Bible verses and stories I’d heard and read, but rarely seen in action, since I was a child. For many others, it helped them understand that Jesus really wants them to walk with him, just like they are–no matter what happened in their past–and to have the courage to take his outstretched hand. Only then could their hearts begin to open, like children, to hear the Word and the solid truths God gives us in the Bible. That’s where personal and relevant Christian community, not Sunday service, becomes the most powerful way to bring the Word and the Truth to those people. And many of us have done that for years, but still feel like there’s something more out there for us. Bring in new believers is the #1 way Christ renews his church, but where do we go when we reach that point where we want more? Where do we go when we feel drained and in need of going to the well ourselves? When we want a community that worships with us and also challenges us right where we are? We’re secure in God’s love, so we can take a LOT of challenge. I know I hunger for that and pray that, one day, I’ll have that kind of community to walk with me on the rest of the journey. Even through the internet, walking with you through these challenges is such a help and such a blessing. Thank you.

  8. First of all, thanks for liking my post Tiffany. I appreciate you stopping by my neck of the woods!

    Secondly, I can appreciate where you’re coming from on this one. The thing is there is nothing wrong with tech. It’s not of the devil because he didn’t create, he only seeks to pervert it as usual. I think the reason people don’t preach Jesus is because they think Jesus is legalistic. Not only is that NOT Jesus, it’s not attractive (hurting people always found Jesus attractive) so to counteract that people stay clear of Jesus, use “smoke and mirrors” and preach psychology and life experience instead.

    Jesus is more than enough and in places where HE is unveiled in the Scriptures, people find Him to be so. My desire is to know HIM (not man’s doctrine and dogma) and the power of HIS resurrection. That is what’s life-changing 🙂

    1. I agree, Jesus IS enough and it’s how we use technology and every other thing afforded to us to bring people TO CHRIST not stand in the way of people seeing who He really is! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  9. Jesus not being enough seems to be what’s driving the movement toward apostasy. The church I attend has been divided because of theology (secondary issues have now been moved into the primary position). A split has already happened because of this and our hearts have been breaking. To top it off, the leadership recently informed us that we’re to merge with another church. My family will not be making the merge-move with the church; too much Christian “bling” and divisive theology has us hungering for the word of God. The leadership doesn’t know how to stem the exodus of high school and college-aged students — they don’t understand that what they need is the word. “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the LORD.'” (Amos 8:11).

    Thanks for your post, Tiffany. Thank you, also, for checking out today’s blog at The Cracker-Barrel.

    BTW, I teach American history through American art to a group of homeschool students; today’s lesson was on Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Autumn Landscape — The River of Life. Lord bless you.

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