Summary: Church Membership, The Body, Selfishness
I WILL – “I Will” Avoid the Traps of “Churchianity”
1 Corinthians 12:12, 27-28 (pg. 799-800) November 22, 2015
I need to openly tell you I stole this title from Thom Rainer’s book “I Will.”
There is no such word as “churchianity” but it fit too well and it conveys the idea of what I’m trying to impress too well not to use it.
I grew up in church...I never remember a time in my life where it wasn’t a part of my family...when I was a child we went to a denominational Church here in Lexington...The Church that was a part of my dad’s heritage...when I was 6 or 7 my dad came into a Sunday School class I was in to get me. He asked the teacher what he was teaching...the teacher responded, “The Myth of Jonah.” How it was just an allegory...or story that represented mankind’s struggle with sin...and pointed to Jesus’ 3 days in the grave...my dad’s response: and you’ll have to forgive me a little...was “I don’t believe that story is a myth...I believe a big “darn” fish swallowed Jonah (dad didn’t say “darn”)
My father shared his struggle with His boss Bill Bachanan at Kentucky Utilities and Bill invited my dad and our family to Southland Christian...the rest of the story is history...we went...mom & dad were baptized by Wayne...and I grew up with an amazing minister, children’s ministry and youth group...who loved us...even when I rebelled...I am indeed a B.U.I.C.K. (A brought up in Church kid.)
I’ve spent almost 37 years ministering in the Church...intern, children & student minister, senior, preaching minister at small, medium and large churches...Kari’s been at my side for 35 of those 37 years...I’ve “done” church for awhile.
Thom Rainer defines “churchianity” this way: “Practicing our church and religious beliefs according to human standards rather than biblical guidelines.”
There’s a horrible trend in many people’s lives when we’ve spent decades “going to church” or being “church members.” Slowly we forget about Jesus...and the vibrant Christianity we had when we first met Him and we slide into “churchianity”...which is something very different than the sacrificial and unifying teachings in 1 Corinthians Chapter 12. Look at 1 Corinthians 12:27-28
“Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it. And God has placed these in the Church.”
When scripture talks about “church membership” (and it does) it describes each of us as part of a body...each of us essential to the whole. Some are ears, others are eyes, some are feet or hands...that’s why he says:
“For as the body is one and has many parts and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body – so also is Christ.” (1 Cor. 12:12)
God’s biblical and self-giving plan is for His body, the Church, to function like a healthy body...with His Son, Jesus, being the head and each member doing what He designed it to do...for His glory...and for His purposes.
But churchianity separates us from the head...and from God’s design and we become much more like “cut flowers.”
There are 5 symptoms of “churchianity” that cause this disease that we should avoid at all costs...first:
SYMPTOM #1 - CHURCH IS A SPECTATOR SPORT
I love sports...I always have...basketball, football, golf, swimming...I spent much of my life playing them or preparing to play them.
I loved being on a team...I loved getting ready for the game...and I loved the competition of trying to win.
But at 55 with 2 artificial hips, both knees done, 2 spinal surgeries and a heart attack under my belt I am now much more an athletic supporter than an athlete...but Man! I love to watch sports...from the stands and in front of my TV. I like to call the plays...yell at the coaches and point out their mistakes...I like to tell my buddies how I’d have done it...I participate as a “spectator.”
Churchianity is like that...members attend but they don’t actively participate. They expect others to do ministry...for some the only time they get passionate about Church is when they don’t like something...where they express their displeasure and anger about how things are being done.
Why do people choose to be spectators instead of committed church members...because I have the appearance of being in Church, but want to live my life like the world...because I can stay unattached instead of making myself transparent and vulnerable, and because I want ownership over my preferences instead of servanthood to others.
The next time someone starts to complain ask one simple question...Have you shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with anyone this month? When there’s silence...walk away.
The 2nd symptom of “churchianity” is “Church is about me”
SYMPTOM #2 – CHURCH IS ABOUT ME
When we have this attitude about church we find more fault than compassion and gentleness...we do not serve instead we seek to be served. We have paid our country club dues so we expect our wants to be met.