Requests for million dollar private jets, unloving attacks toward Supreme Court rulings and television shows that glorify the “prosperity gospel,” create a drastic contrast from the lifestyle biblically depicted by Jesus Christ who prioritized His relationship with God above all. This generation of Christianese speakers, however, are embedded in a ‘selfie-driven’ entertainment centric society that has unfortunately seeped into the pulpit of the Church. Pastors are sought by a congregation to be a type of celebrity figure that performs a weekly spiritual concert. Church services often leave little to no room for the Holy Spirit to interrupt the operational rundown. The ramifications of this…Christians who refuse to mature because instead of cultivating an individual spiritual life they depend on the spiritual life of the pastor.
It is for this reason that former pastor of Cornerstone Church, Francis Chan, stepped down from his 4,000 member congregation stating, “…even in my own church, I heard the words ‘Francis Chan’ more than the Holy Spirit.” Let’s face it, the Church in the book of Acts looks radically different than what we see today. To draw hearts back to the Christ-model Chan developed, Basics, a seven-part series of short films covering the foundational principles of the Christian life: Fear of God, Following Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Fellowship, Teaching, Prayer and Communion. “Trends come and go in our culture and the church seems to follow,” says Chan. “This series speaks to those who have questions about the church and to those who may have lost interest in the church.”
The video series covers the basics that Jesus introduced to His followers. Out of His spirit-led lifestyle, Jesus maintained constant connection with God and was able to change environments and advance the Kingdom of God. On the other hand, in many inner-cities there’s a church on almost every corner but they fail to be a resource center for the broken lives in the communities immediately surrounding them.
The Church is wrestling with its identity in the 21st century. In a high-tech world with a sensational culture there’s very little room to follow Christ if believers are insistent on fashioning the Church after the world’s way of operating. The Bible affirms that Jesus was endowed with the Holy Spirit and went about doing good healing all who were oppressed by the devil because God was with Him. In order for Christ to be at the center of Christianity this formula must be integral to the Church’s future.
Christians must actively examine their life and the doctrine they believe making sure the two are not at odds. Instead of being vocal about dead issues we must take a stand against the injustice in our immediate sphere of influence. We travel thousands of miles to do missions in other countries, but pass by the third-worlds in our own backyards. Christians must return to the ancient disciplines that sustained the first apostles and leaders of the early church. There has to be a concerted push-back on the glamorization of Christianity as a get rich quick program. To put Christ back in Christianity we must begin by reestablishing the most vital component in the heart of the individual…a genuine, intimate relationship with God.