I Am A Little Fired Up!!!

Jan 8, 2007

I have found it quite interesting the debate that this post has created on the web. Bloggers have both loved it and hated it…and even today I see that people are linking to it. Some would say, “Let it die.” But not me…so here we go!

We live in a culture DOMINATED by entertainment. Like it or not THAT is THE way it is. If a movie is good then people will go…and if it isn’t then people will stay away. If a television show is good then people will watch…and if it isn’t then it will be canceled. And…IF church is good then people will go…and if not then people will stay away!!!

Now…I am a firm believer that numbers do not lie…and the numbers say that over 90% of the churches in America are either stagnant OR declining. (I actually read in one report that an average of six churches per day in America are closing their doors!!!)

Combine this with the FACT that the population in America is EXPLODING. There are currently over 300 million people living in the US…and stats show that we will reach over 400 million people by the year 2040.

Question—does ANYONE see a problem here? Church attendance is DECREASING. The population is INCREASING. In my opinion it is time to wake up and smell the flippin’ coffee.

So here is another question to add to that…WHY IS CHURCH ATTENDANCE DECREASING? Is it because God just isn’t that big anymore? Nope! Or maybe it has to do with the Bible—does the Bible lack the power to bring practical teaching and transformation? I would say a big fat NO to this question as well!

Then what is it? Why are churches shutting down when there are more people in this country than EVER before?

MAYBE it is because people find absolutely NO value in going to church! MAYBE there is nothing in the church that seems to hold their attention! MAYBE church just ISN’T GOOD anymore. And people—you can SCREAM at people for embracing this mindset—but the people who are embracing it ARE LOST!!! AND…if we are not willing to do what it takes to reach them then they are going to go to HELL!!! This means that WHEN they walk in the doors of our church that there SHOULD be something there that catches their attention…there had better be…or they are not coming back.

Once again (I said this in my first post) THIS TAKES EFFORT!!! It takes prayer, planning and preparation…and either you will do it or you won’t. It really is that simple.

Now some would call me a heretic for holding this view. They say, “you are just giving people what they want…and I would never some to a church like yours because I don’t like it!” (I have heard that so many times that it isn’t funny—BUT—just for “entertainment” purposes, let’s look at that statement!)

“I would not come to your church because I don’t like it.” Translation, “I AM going to go to a church where I do like it…where I like the music…where I like the pastor…where I like the way things are done!” I ask you—isn’t this “entertainment?” Isn’t this going to a place where you like what is going on? If this is YOUR mentality when it comes to your church…then why judge others for adapting the same mindset when a church in town does something different than you? HYPOCRITE!!!

The church is called to grow—to reach people—to change…NOT to compromise the Gospel. We teach about Jesus here at NewSpring…I teach FROM Scripture…heck, I even talk about SIN and REPENTANCE…but when we do it—we do so in a way that people can understand...that they can apply, and MAYBE…just MAYBE that is A reason people ARE being reached…and lives ARE being changed.

The church is called to grow!!! We are not called to form “holy huddles” that criticize the churches that are growing. (And for what it is worth…we get that…AND we ignore it. Why? Simple—I would not ask a fat person for advice on how to take care of my body. I would not ask a person who has declared bankruptcy three times for advice on personal finances. And I would NOT ask someone who has had the same 50 people in their church for the past 20 years HOW to do church…it really is that simple. And that is NOT being cocky…it’s being smart.)

One of the chief critics of churches like NewSpring is the whole “emergent” church movement. I just love that—here you have 15-20 people…usually guys, who sit in rooms smoking cigars and drinking beer, debating theology while the world around them goes to hell…and somehow they think they’ve “got it!” In my opinion the only thing that needs to “emerge” from the emerging church is their head out of their rear ends so that they can better listen to God and fulfill the Great Commission.

NewSpring was planted for ONE main reason…to reach the people in the upstate for Jesus Christ…and we are doing. You may not like the way we are doing it…and…if that is you…get over it. We are here to stay. We are not going anywhere!!! We ARE going to GROW. We are going to be creative. We are going to see lifechange. We are going to see teens and children IMPACTED for Christ. We are going to see marriages restored. IT IS HAPPENING…and it will continue to do so!!!

Are we the perfect church? HECK NO…we are not and never will be. BUT…to the critics—here is my word of advice to you. WHEN you develop the perfect church then PLEASE come tell us how to runs ours! However, until that time you will be ignored…there are WAY more important things to do than argue with you…and we are going to focus on WHAT needs to happen.

Whew—that was fun!!!

UPDATE: One more thing…as I said in the title…I am FIRED up…in a good way!!! God is at work…I believe we are on the right path here at NewSpring Church…we are passionately seeking the Lord and will continue to do exactly WHAT He says…when he says to do it.

Some may have never seen this type of passion from a pastor…and you may be put off by it. If this is you then let me explain why this is so—you probably come from a background where the pastor was a pathetic wuss to had no backbone, nor did he have a vision for anything larger than repainting a restroom.

As I said earlier—we ARE not perfect—but we have vision…and as your pastor (if that is the case) I will FIGHT for our vision…ALWAYS! I will never run—EVER! God didn’t call me to be a wimp that runs…and I will NEVER run from those outside of NewSpring who are CLUELESS as to what is going on here. I love Jesus…I love you…and I love this church—and I will DIE before anyone EVER alters the vision that God has given us!!! YEAH!