If the number one focus of your church is to provide programs that keep the people in your church happy, I think you’re missing the concept of church.
I’m not saying it’s bad to do that, I’m saying it’s bad if that’s your focal point. There’s a scripture in Isaiah that says:
Hear the word of the LORD,
you rulers of Sodom;
listen to the law of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!
“The multitude of your sacrifices—
what are they to me?” says the LORD.
“I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
I have no pleasure
in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
When you come to appear before me,
who has asked this of you,
this trampling of my courts?
Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
I cannot bear your evil assemblies.
Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds
out of my sight!
Stop doing wrong,
learn to do right!
encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless,
plead the case of the widow.
Isaiah 1:10-13, 16-17
This is talking about the church. It basically says that the church is so concerned about its own programs that it forgets about the poverty and injustice around it. And so here God says, “You can pray to me, and I will not hear you. You care only about your programs. You don’t care about what really matters in this world.”
I’ve seen churches like this! They have these big building programs, and they advertise their yoga classes, and their karate classes, even the Starbucks in their lobbies! I’ve seen this, and I’ve literally burst out laughing. That is so, well, so not good!
I understand that we need to create community within the church, I really do. I’m not bashing that. I think fellowship matters. But is that what we’re pouring all of our money into? In the end, will it really matter if your church had a yoga class or a karate class?
What about having a program on justice issues? Why not educate a 10,000-member church on what’s going on in the world? I’d love to educate 10,000 people. I’d love to see weekly programs about world events: where we can help, how we can help, and the trustworthy organizations that we can give to.
What about bringing in people from those organizations to talk about their work, and then joining them? That’s what we need to spend our money on. That’s how we should be creating community.
The Global Orphan Project builds community orphanages. A project I’m trying to take on right now involves ten orphanages. These ten orphanages are actually ten houses with ten kids per house. And they’re not scattered all over, instead they are all built in the same area. They’re all neighbors. So it’s actually a little community. They’re all going to have moms, and the local churches will be the dads, and they’ll hang out with the kids and help them and love on them. And these kids can play together. That’s community. You’re creating community.
Get people like that in to talk to the people in the church! Do you know how much you’ll stir when your church’s yoga class gets together and puts in a well for a poor community, and gets food in for them? Imagine what would happen when they fly over as a group and enjoy the orphans who have no mom or dad, and love on them and play with them and encourage them!
During this off-season, I’d like to start encouraging my church to do that. We need to create awareness. This is what we need to do.