In one of the conversations I enjoyed with my church family yesterday, someone asked me: “Pastor, where do you see the American church in 10 years?”
My answer came fairly quickly because I think about the American church a lot. I am excited about Westside Baptist Church and believe that God is growing us and providing opportunities to serve Him in ways that are going to be exciting.
Yet, when I think of the American church, I am gravely concerned. Why? Because I believe that the American church is in desperate trouble. I believe that it is much like two of the churches mentioned in Revelation 2-3.
Of the church at Ephesus it was said:
“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!” (Revelation 2:4)
This was a church that was busy doing a lot of commendable, incredible stuff. But they weren’t motivated by love. So, it didn’t matter.
Of the church at Laodicea it was said:
“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” (Revelation 3:15-16)
This was a church that enjoyed prosperity. So, they didn’t sense a deep-seated need for Jesus. Thus, they just went through the motions of ‘religion.’ They weren’t hot (on fire for the Lord) or cold (in obvious sin). If they were on fire for Jesus, He could fan the flame. If they were in sin, He could discipline them and bring them back. Yet, they were apathetic about the things of God thinking that things were ok and satisfied with it.
But, there’s hope! There’s always hope. The word “repent” is used 8 times in Revelation 2-3 as the Lord is addressing His congregations. When God’s people repent (turn from sin and turn to Him), they are renewed.
I am encouraged that there is a rising tide of local and national leaders who are calling God’s people to repentance and praying for God to move in revival again. Just two of the many who are doing so are Anne Graham Lotz and Ronnie Floyd. Ministries like OneCry are doing the same. God is also rising up a new generation of young men and women who are ready to charge Hell with a water gun. They are tired of apathetic Christianity and want something worth living and dying for.
Yes, as I think of the American church, I am gravely concerned. But, there is also reason for unfettered excitement. The determining factor is whether or not God’s people will respond favorably. Jesus is waiting on us…
Revelation 3:19-20 (New Living Translation)
Jesus said: “I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”