Do you see these great buildings? They will all be thrown down. (Mark 13:2)
It’s amazing to see how much we idolize things in church. We idolize the building, we idolize the worship music, we can even idolize the new program that was a huge success across the state. If it looks great or deemed sacred look out when someone suggest to remove it.
Can you imagine Jesus walking through our city, or our church, would he ask the same insinuating question?
“How little Jesus valued the external pomp, when there is no real purity.” Matthew Henry
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe we should tear down all the church buildings, or axe any of the discipleship programs. I believe if Jesus walked through the events, the ministry and the fellowship groups would He hear the disciples pointing out how great those temporal things are, or how great He is?
I went to an event a few years ago. It had it all; a great location, a loving and helpful crew, incredible entertaining speakers that presented very well, even the topic or theme was right on. It was very well attended. It was only missing one thing, the most important thing, the Holy Spirit.
As I sat there I heard the Holy Spirit ask “Do you see this great event? Is it for man or for Me?” I knew as soon as He asked it was for man. Yes, the event coordinators wanted to minister to people, but there was no mention of Jesus, there was no acknowledging the work of the Holy Spirit.
The same buildings the disciples were pointing out to Jesus were the same buildings Jesus was kicked out of. Were those buildings for man or were they for Jesus?
As I sat there I repented. I didn’t want to be a part of any more events that weren’t going to glorify God from it’s very core. I didn’t want to be a part of an event that only promoted man, and not His Kingdom. I didn’t want to be a part of an event that didn’t have eternal longevity to it. You see, Jesus said that all those wonderful buildings, were going to fall. The buildings were temporal. Worshipping the Lord is not!
I love Francis Chan’s take on this in his book “Forgotten God”
“If you combine a charismatic speaker, a talented worship band, and some hip, creative events, people will attend your church. Yet this does not mean that the Holy Spirit of God is actively working and moving in the lives of the people who are coming. It simply means that you have created a space that is appealing enough to draw people in for an hour or two on Sunday.
It certainly doesn not mean that people will walk out the doors moved to worship and in awe of God. People are more likely to describe the quality of music or the appeal of the sermon than the One who is the reason people gathered in the first place.”
Just because the ministry event is well attended doesn’t make it a success. Lady Gaga can put 50,000 people in a room, doesn’t mean God is going to be glorified.
Attendance, decorations, the right program, flyers or even having a ton of people there doesn’t make an event successful. None of that matters. What matters are the lives impacted for God’s glory. What matters is the display of God’s character to the world. What matters is the honor and respect we have for His Holy Name. What matters is we co-labor with God in bringing Heaven to Earth, because God is not willing that any man should perish. What matters is we address the needs of our community, being God’s hand extended.
What so often happens in the church bubble is we entertain ourselves. Without the presence of the Holy Spirit – it is only club church. Without the presence of God all our events are just another form of a community center get together.
Let this question stir the desire for a ministry that has eternal consequences, eternal effects, eternal longevity.