In the past I had been a big fan of Rick Warren & Erwin McManus. I don't agree with all their methodology, but I heartily agree with their take on what the church ought to be doing. It's not supposed to be a social club for Christians. It's not supposed to be a stronghold against the culture surrounding it. It's supposed to be a dynamic force impacting the culture for Christ, full of people striving to love with actions rather than alienate with words.
I'd dare say that any church spending its time blasting other churches is about as close to being modern day Pharisees as it gets... and I'm sure you remember Jesus' take on Pharisees, legalism, and so-called religious folk. I don't want to be caught in that camp.
I'd rather err on the side of, oh I don't know - doing what Jesus did. Loving people. The way he did. With actions. Not words. And frankly I don't really care as much about people who already know the Lord, as I do about people who don't yet know him. Christians have no excuse for not feeding themselves spiritually - there's little need for our churches to be serving themselves as much as they do, versus serving the community surrounding them. We Christians as a whole waste a LOT of time and resources on ourselves, rather than using them to bless others around us. I count myself guilty on that one - it's a struggle. But I'm tired of the shallow facade that the church has become, full of people who choose to live in the Christian bubble, have no non-Christian friends, and limit their exposure to the rest of the culture around them... missing every possible opportunity to be living relevant witnesses to the amazingness that is life with Christ at the center. The prerequisite of that life does not include running away from the world, but embracing it as Jesus did. Embracing the ones the society marginalizes, rejects, scorns, and demeans. The church has no business lumping itself in with the judgmentalism of the culture; it should instead be a beacon of welcome, a safe haven, a sanctuary where all are welcome.
The message of Jesus is simple. Hard Rock Cafe gets it- their slogan:
"Love All - Serve All"
If a totally irreligious rock n roll food chain can get it, why can't the church get it?
So I'm all for shaking up the church, waking it up with some cold water to the face, and sending it back on its way to accomplish the great commission and the greatest commandments:
*Go into the world and make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
*Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, and all your strength.
*Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
John Maxwell got it right, in observing the basic nature of our culture:
"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."
And though it's not in the Bible, the words of St. Francis of Assisi do sum it up nicely:
"Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words."
Less words, more action. Church: it's go time.