Avoiding Event Christianity

Whether we admit it or not, American Christianity is motivated by an event mentality.  It’s part of our culture every single day.  Concerts.  Monday Night Football.  Musicals.  Festivals.  As with a lot of our practices, the Church once again emulates common marketing schemes and mentality.

Missions Trips
I’ve had some amazing experiences on missions trips.  Lives changed, serving missionaries, building facilities, or repairing existing ones.  At the end of every trip, the team members vow that it can’t end there.  They’ve got to do something radical in their hometown.  The people in our church are so apathetic.  We need to talk to our pastor and tell him what God is saying to us.  But, enter reality, the fire wears off after a couple weeks and it’s life as normal.

Sunday Morning Worship
What powerful times of worship with our congregations.  Everyone together.  Full band.  Talented choir.  Enthusiastic.  We’re moved.  Followed by a challenging message and an extended response time, we’re set.  Add our favorite anointed song, we’re home.  Time to make decisions for change.  I’m serious this time…for the next week.

Going witnessing
Every church does it, especially the youth ministries.  Go door to door, pass out tracts at the fairground, hang out by the bars, go on campus and do surveys.  We gear up for that once a month opportunity to go witnessing.  We love Jesus and we’re going to tell the world about Him.  And they WILL LISTEN if they know what’s good for them.  Who cares if they don’t understand archaic Christianese, God will speak it to their hearts.  They’ll understand through our patronizing statements and our pre-prepared comebacks.  Yeaaaaa!  Onward Christian Soldiers.

Yes, these are all great practices and we need to keep doing them.  But here’s the danger with EVENT CHRISTIANITY.  That’s just it.  A planned moment.  A date on the calendar.  A day to get ready for.  We categorize our spirituality into nice neat boxes.  But in reality, people can’t wait for that event.  Everyday people need to hear about Christ.  And as individual Christ followers, we can’t wait for the weekly dose of worship, prayer, and a spoon fed word from our pastors.

True disciples live this out everyday and are ready for the moment.  At all times, we must be ready to… 

Pray Regularly
God told the Israelites to collect manna daily, only what they needed for that day.  They were not to store it or it would go bad. “Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people need more than bread for their life; real life comes by feeding on every word of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:4).   Translation:  we need to spend time with God every day; praying, reading our Bibles, and worshipping Him.  I love 1 Thessalonians 5:17.  Careful.  Don’t miss it.  “Pray always.”  That is how we feed ourselves spiritually and maintain a healthy walk with God.

Give Regularly
We get ready for the annual Christmas outreach, the Thanksgiving Offering, Missions Sunday, and the Building Project.  Stewardship needs to be a consistent practice.  Statistics say that less than 20% of Christians tithe on a regular basis.  People have been arguing about this for centuries.  I will discuss it more in a future blog but I believe it’s pretty clear that Jesus asks us to surrender 100% of our income for His purposes.  So, 10% is a good starter.  I am under the belief that if we ever reach 100% in our tithes, we should never have to receive another special offering.  I believe God makes available all that we need to do His work.  Getting access to it is another story, and an individual choice.  All I know is I choose to obey and He takes care of me. “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;  then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine” (Proverbs 3:9-10).

Share Our Faith Regularly
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).  Everyday we need to be vigilant.  Be on the lookout for people seeking, exploring, and pursuing the spiritual.  There are people in our lives because God entrusts them to us.  It is our responsibility to BE A WITNESS.  Not just the 4 Spiritual Laws or the Romans’ Road, but daily through our words, actions, countenance, we can let Christ’s light shine through us.  My first mentor, Dean Niforatos told me that if we’re in a room longer than 5 minutes with a stranger, it’s a divine appointment.  Students come up to me all the time informing me that their non-Christian friends are coming with them so I need to address salvation.  They’re shocked when I refuse.  I tell them “You lead them to Christ.  That’s why you’re in each other’s lives.”

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