I would like to say one thing before I proceed with my intended posts. The things in which I am stating as reasons for the American Church’s lack of relevance are merely my opinions which are based upon my experiences. I only offer areas where I think the American Church can improve and more effectively fulfill the Great Commission which we are called to.
The next reason, I would like to propose for the declining relevance of the American Church is the loss of sense of a community within a community. This partly is the result of the divided message which I discussed in my last post. The Church is supposed to be a community that was an example community of the Kingdom. A community that interacts with the outside community by challenging injustices. This community is political. It is social. It is personal. It challenges the status quo, not by overthrowing but through love. This is what Jesus meant when He said, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. (Jn 17:15-19).
Additionally, Luke records the following:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47, emphasis mine).
Did you notice that God added daily; not weekly; not monthly; not once in a while, but daily! Unless we believe that God is not able to do things like that any more we must look at what God responded to that the church was doing. They were living in a sense of community. What affected one person, deeply and personally affected the other. They lived life together. They didn’t do their own thing throughout the week meeting only a couple of times a week at prearranged times. The early church lived life daily together. They got together daily. They prayed together daily. They ate meals together. They lived together. Unfortunately, the democratic and personal mindset of the American culture has all but destroyed this concept. Sure people pray for others in their church, but as James points out that is not community (Jm 2:16). In many cases the person next to you has no idea what you are going through. They might if they are on the local prayer team and you put in a prayer request, but the average church member doesn’t. There is no sense of collective empathy.
The result of this is that the rest of world sees the Church as just another good works non-profit group. Sure people care, but they don’t see much difference between us and any other charitable organization. We have no relevance because we aren’t being the light to the world we need to be. We aren’t even truly being a light to ourselves because we aren’t unified in to a Kingdom Community.