Summary: Are the members in a church today just like the familiar faces we see on reality show Survivor?
CHURCH: Just another Episode of Survivor?
So the truth is, I’m one of the biggest Survivor fans in the history of the world. I know, it’s not something I’m proud of, but it is what it is and there’s not much more I can say about that.
For those of you who have somehow managed to escape the last 23 seasons of Survivor and don’t know what the show is all about: 18 contestants are split into 2 groups usually and live in a remote part of the world where they compete in challenges. Every 3 days someone gets voted out and the point is for the contestants to outwit, outplay and all the other contestants to walk away with the title of Sole Survivor and $1 million.
Because I’m a super-fan, and have watched every season of survivor except for the one that is currently airing in the states... I have picked up certain patterns that make Survivor what it is. I’m not going to get into the patterns of the challenges, the rewards and all that - but I do want to share what I’ve noticed about the contestants that take part in this [insert and appropriate adjective] reality show.
Almost without fail, every season of Survivor has:
A typical racial mix
Someone who is previously disadvantaged
Spoilt rich kid
Loudmouth person with a chip on his/her shoulder
Someone of questionable sexual orientation
Plain old weirdo.
Every season. Without fail. But more than that - there are certain strategies within the game that are always experienced, and every season as I watch the show I become so aware that very often, the Church of God, the Bride of Christ, The Ecclesia - whatever name you want to give to... US.... very often resembles just another episode of survivor in terms of the various strategies and mindsets that exist.
So tonight I’m going to look at just a few of these personalities with the encouragement that you go through this with me tonight and ask yourself: WHICH OF THESE PEOPLE IS ME?
Now let me say this at the outset. I am passionate about Survivor. I love the psychology of the game, more than anything else. But I am a thousand times more passionate about the church - I am passionate about God’s people working together to see His glory fill the earth. I am passionate about the Church of God being a voice to be taken seriously in our country, not laughed at. So if I say some harsh things tonight - and maybe I won’t - but if I do, it’s not because I want to attack you - it’s because I’m passionate about this topic.
THE “LET’S SEE WHAT HAPPENS” CONTESTANT
Every season of Survivor has a person who is just there to check it out. They admit to just being there because they wanted to see what Survivor is all about, they don’t expect to win and usually they go out of the game really early. Either because of their lack of commitment to the game and the team, they lose the first or second challenge or are voted out really early. They are usually the contestant who we see at the reunion show and say “Um, who is that again??. They have no impact on the game - but more than that, they get nothing out of the game, because for them it was just an experiment and... well.. whatever.
Church is full of “Let’s see what happens” people. People walk through the doors of churches all over the world every week because they just wanna check it out. Maybe because they want to know what the hype is about, or because someone dragged them, or because it seems like the socially acceptable thing to do - especially in a religiously conscious city like Pretoria. And, as the “hosts” we are excited to see these people.
However, too often, 2 or 3 months later, those people are still just “let’s see what happens” attendees. They only come when something exciting is happening, never get involved in the spirit of what is happening and will never serve anyone else. They are still just there to check it out.
And as much as the “let’s see what happens” contestant isn’t pleasing to other contestants in the game of Survivor, the “let’s see what happens” church goer isn’t pleasing to God.
In fact he says some really harsh words to them in Revelation 3:15-16 - a scripture you may know quite well:
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 1
You have probably heard the explanation of this verse. It had to do with where the people would drink the water that flowed in the stream. If they drank the water at the top of the stream where it was hot, they would be fine. If the went downstream to where it was cold, they would be refreshed. But if they drank the water mid-way where it was lukewarm, they would get sick and vommit.