3. Vision doesn’t expand beyond the physical location. To put it bluntly, building a huge physical kingdom in the form of large buildings and huge crowds is more important than expanding God’s kingdom. The largest percentage of the budget is spent on facilities.
4. Pastors are hired hands. The staff is paid to do whatever they’re told. They are the church’s property. When outsiders or visitors ask about church ministries, the response is, “We pay the pastor for that.”
5. There is no distinction between converts and transfers. A disgruntled family from the church across town deciding to place membership and someone hearing Jesus for the first time and deciding to be baptized are viewed the same way.
6. Words like “irresponsible” are used to justify playing it safe. Decisions that involve faith and risk are more rare than snow near the equator. Every decision is about protecting the bottom line and making sure the numbers add up.
A Spirit-led church can’t be business-driven. Budgets aren’t evil. Attendance records aren’t bad. But the church Jesus died for can’t be run like a Fortune 500 company. It must be unapologetically focused on people over numbers and the global commission over the physical location.
4) Who did Jesus die for? Not the social-club church.
Recently, while staying with a good friend, I noticed a cup in his pantry that said “Junior League.” On the opposite side of the cup was a list of requirements for membership. The list included things like volunteering in the community, attending monthly meetings, paying a small fee and registering to vote.
The list looked striking similar to the ones required for membership at many churches. Volunteer in the community during church-wide service night. Pay a small percentage of your income to the church. Attend weekly gatherings.
So the church is a social club? To some churches, yes. To churches led by the Spirit, absolutely not.
Every pastor and church leader needs to ask this question: If the Holy Spirit left your church, what would be different? Would you even know?
Some churches are so program-driven that their church could operate for months (maybe years) without the presence of God.
Here’s the scary part. It’s possible to see “results” in your church without the presence of God. Just appeal to the crowds. Be cool, and don’t talk about the cross.
But it’s impossible to be a church that values becoming more like Jesus unless the Spirit leads, prayer and fasting are integral, and a desire to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth is foundational.