August 2003 – Back in my childhood I often heard the phrase "asleep at the wheel." I’m not sure where the phrase originated, but I would venture that it came from the railroads and engineers going to sleep while in charge of the train.
Regardless of the origin, the phrase is appropriate to use in regard to what is happening in our society and the response of many Christians in positions of leadership. Little by little over the past few decades, we have witnessed the disintegration of moral values in our society.
The most visible example of this decay can be seen in the recent decision by our U.S. Supreme Court to legalize sodomy. In fact, the court’s ruling is so broad that it may eventually be used to legalize incest, bestiality, and just about every other sexual perversion. It will – unless there is overwhelming response from the public – legalize homosexual marriage.
The homosexual community has been fighting for these changes for 30 years. Not only have Christians and their leaders been asleep at the wheel, many church leaders have been leading the charge for the change in favor of "gay rights." They have gone so far as to discard the Scriptures and usher in a new value system, ignoring centuries of Christian undergirding.
In Scripture we are taught that God is love. What the new breed of leaders in and out of the church are teaching is that love is God. There is a vast difference in those two equations. They are light years apart. And if we end up basing our society on the "love is God" equation, it will utterly destroy the "God is love" foundation.
For far too long, the major emphasis of our churches has been on "going to church." In other words, if we were reasonably faithful in our attendance, gave a little money and perhaps involved ourselves in some activity at the church building, that was evidence of our Christian faith.
What the church needs to do is to put the emphasis on "being the church." Turn our resources, our efforts, outside the four walls and take the Good News, with all its social implications, into the world outside the building. Reach the children whose parents are concerned enough to care about their spiritual growth. Bring them into the building and provide them with activities. But do it with church money, not state money.
Go to the elderly where they are in the retirement homes, share with them, make them feel wanted and appreciated. Find the poor who live down the block, adopt a family and stand beside them in their financial need. Sure, you will be burned from time to time. But often you will find individuals who deeply appreciate what you do and they will be drawn to this Jesus we proclaim because of the actions of those in the church.
Take the funds you are using to support the bureaucracy and hierarchy and spend them on programs to reach the children, the poor, the unemployed, the elderly. The bureaucracy and the hierarchy will appreciate your doing so because they are always telling you this is what you should be doing.
Wake up before the train crashes. Quit putting the emphasis on "going to church" and put it on "being the church."
You will be surprised at how much good your church can do and how many people will respond with amazement and joy. And many will come to follow Christ because of your actions.
I guess the question is, does your church have the courage to do it?