Series: Mistakes Churches Make Message by Pastor CJ
Let me ask you a question. Has there ever been a time in your life when you stopped and wondered how you got to the point you were currently in? Have you ever allowed yourself to slowly drift off the course you had once planned for your life? My guess is you have at one time or another. And my other assumption is that you probably didn't realize it was even happening at the time. This can happen so easily and yet goes unnoticed for weeks, months, and even years at a time.
Unfortunately this same drift can often occur in the church, where alive churches are often lulled to sleep over time. They lose their energy, passion, focus, drive, etc. and soon come to a place that is neither exciting nor effective. There are distinct differences between dead churches and alive churches and yet they happen so gradually they go unnoticed and worse unchanged. And so the result is that alive churches replace a movement with a museum. They stop walking by faith and start walking by sight. There focus becomes keeping people instead of reaching people, and the list goes on.
As Southland City Church we must never lose sight of our purpose. Let's not allow ourselves to slip into a routine that accepts this sort of gradual shift into mediocrity, or worse complacency, which leads to obscurity.
One way that the church in general allows this short of shift to happen is that we fall into the trap of valuing our reputation over repentance. This can be detrimental to not only the church as a whole, but also especially the individual.
There are three things that happens when we embrace our reputation over repentance:
Reputation over repentance...
1. Distorts reality
We often think we're doing great when we're actually moving nowhere. We sort of see a version of ourselves that just isn't true anymore. This is a dangerous place to be and we need to be careful to not end up here.
2. Prohibits recognition
Not recognition of ourselves but of Christ. When our focus is turned to being more reputable, Christ becomes less recognizable. We need to make sure that our lives are not hindering, rather progressing the recognition of Christ.
3. Leads to regret
Dead churches are filled with unfulfilled people. It's sad but true. If you are unfulfilled, perhaps it's because you have allowed yourself to slip into living merely by sight and not by faith. You'll never be fulfilled until you embrace His Word seriously. Remember, the cost of following Christ is far less than the cost of not following him. Let's take His Word as truth and live it out in a way that not only is fulfilling and exciting to you and I, but attracts others as well.
Let's be a church that:
Takes risks instead of playing is safe.
Evangelizes instead of fossilizes.
Gives as much as we can, not as little as we can.
Contributes wherever there's an opportunity instead of consuming.
Wants to please God more than people.
Focuses on reaching people more than keeping people.