America’s Next Top Christian

If you grew up in America, as I did, you probably understand what I mean when I say that we live in a “competitive society.”  We are the culture that brought you reality TV, multi-million dollar televised poker tournaments, competitive eating, and fantasy sports.  From Michael Jordan to Donald Trump to the next American Idol to (before Thanksgiving ’09) Tiger Woods, our cultural icons are those who have the talent and the discipline to WIN.  We don’t celebrate losers, we celebrate winners.  And no matter who you really are, what you’ve done or do, or what the true content of your character may actually be, winning makes it all OK (see Kobe Bryant or Tiger Woods after Thanksgiving ’11).

But what about the church?  Has our competitive society done anything to the church?  How has it affected those who follow Christ and make up what Scripture calls “His bride?” 

I think those of us who have been connected to the church for any number of hours would agree that what James wrote 1900+ years ago is still true of the church today:   

James 4:1-2
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?  2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.                 

What’s the problem with this?  Is there are a problem?  So what if churches compete for the same recycled group of hop-scotch Christians?  Is it an issue that pastors slip into rivalries?  Is competition and comparison in the body of Christ really wrong?  Why does it matter that in many large churches pastors on the same staff undercut each other while they compete for resources?  Does it matter that church members look down on each other and seek advantages over one another?  Is wanting the solo such a big deal?  Is seeking the limelight really that destructive?  Is wanting the best seat, the most prestige, the applause, or recognition and admiration within the Christian community really a distraction from the mission of God?  Why not break into the reality TV market with “America’s Next Top Christian?”  Would that really be a problem for the church?    

Yes and Yes.

Why? 

Because God didn’t save us to compete with each other, he saved us to complement each other.   

Romans 12:3-6  
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.  4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function,  5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.  6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…        

Advertisements

About Pastor Andrew

Follower of Jesus, Husband to Carissa, Daddy to four daughters, Lead Pastor at LifePoint Church in Vancouver, WA.
This entry was posted in 2theSource, For Pastors, Preaching and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to America’s Next Top Christian

  1. Dave Dingman says:

    Amen, Andrew. It seems that as we navigate through life and the culture we live in, we pick up the behaviors that persist in our society. Not that every little thing is bad. Compassion for our fellow man as an example. But our behavior as the body of Christ sometimes can’t be distinquished from that of the world. What sets us apart from the rest of the world? I believe that as we pursue God and draw closer to Him, our behavior will change significantly and those who don’t have a relationship with Him will begin to notice that there is something uniquely different about us.

    • Gordon Padget says:

      Dave,

      Sadly you are so right about behavior not standing out from the world’s. The other day I was having breakfast with several men of the church and was saddened by a partially overheard conversation between another patron and a waitress. The patron asked to change seats because of how loud we were and some of the things that were being said. The waitress responded, “Believe it or not they’re Christians”. It seemed to me to be a heartbreaking commentary and what we often have become.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I can’t agree with you more! We just had 2 families who were on the worship team and in leadership leave the church I am attending. They gossiped and complained about the church and the pastors for at least a year. If they didn’t get to sing they didn’t come and when they did get to sing when they were done they would sit out in the hall and tell people that there was no depth to the word and that they couldn’t stand to sit in the service.

    They spread dissension and disunity in the body and caused new believers to fall away. They said they don’t want the church to grow, and they didn’t want all the new people God was bringing in and saving.

    They thought they knew better what God wanted for the church then the pastors. Since they left the worship has been amazing and there is a sweet presence of the Holy Spirit.

    • Kelly Jones says:

      Galatians 6:3 and 4 speak to your point as well, Pastor Andrew. There is, of course, much more to the context of the letter having to do with bringing brothers out of sin and building one another up in love, but this is a good place to begin. “For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Let each one examine his own work. Then he can take pride in himself and not compare himself with someone else.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s