I remember my wedding day so clearly. Standing at the front of a small church in Greenwood, Miss., legs shaking, I watched as the doors finally opened. There was my wife. I really couldn’t believe she was marrying me.
When I think about the church being the bride of Christ, I picture Jesus presenting the church to himself and God as his bride. The feelings of excitement. The years of waiting. The excruciating death that was essential for the marriage to become official. What a moment.
In the years since, the church has changed a lot. That’s not surprising (or bad). Things change. But the bride Jesus died for isn’t the same one that exists in many churches today.
You see, when Jesus died for the church, he died for men and women who would function as his hands and feet. He died for sacrificial followers who would be driven by love, motivated by joy, equipped with a message and led by the Spirit.
In 2015, the church desperately needs to rediscover the true bride of Christ. Here are seven churches Jesus did not die for.
1.) The cool church
The cool church discussion starts with this. There’s a difference between a cool church and a relevant church. Cool churches filter Jesus through the lens of culture. Relevant churches filter culture through the lens of Jesus.
Cool churches only hire worship leaders who look like models, avoid any message dealing with self-denial, and build facilities that can be seen from space with the naked eye.
These churches don’t understand that the message of Christianity is offensive. Always has been. Always will be. Any church that believes you must be cool to keep insiders or attract outsiders misses the whole point of the gospel.
Jesus didn’t die for cool churches. It’s time to let go of this idea that Jesus is pleased with any attempt to attract large crowds on the basis of anything other than the offensive message of the gospel.
2.) The 1970s church
A few weeks before Tiffani and I moved to Jackson, we drove up to look at a few houses. We wanted to live in a culturally diverse area, so we targeted older homes in the mid-town area. Most of the ones in this area sell not long after being on the market.
But a few had been on sale for months, if not years. The reason?
When you walked in the front door, you stepped back in time 20 or 30 years.
The same is true of 1970s churches.
These churches were probably booming … in the 1970s. But if you walk into these churches today, you won’t notice anything booming. You will, however, notice bell bottoms and some kind of wood paneling.