‘”We’re looking for a church that meets our needs.” It seems like I’ve heard this one a thousand times. The phenomenon of church shoppers has profoundly shaped the contemporary church. The entire conversation is not about relevance but convenience. The focus is not in serving the world; the church itself became the focal point. Our motto degenerated from “We are the church, here to serve a lost and broken world” to “What does the church have to offer me?” This move has made the pastor the only minister, while making the members the only recipients of ministry. What is lost in the process is an army of healers touching the planet.’

an unSTOPPABLE force: daring to become the church God had in mind – by Erwin Raphael McManus

my tag team buddy Sean Du Toit gave me this during my year of not reading and so i’ve been waiting almost a year to start reading and i am only on chapter none (yes ‘Atrophy’ is actually called chapter NONE) but i am loving it – have been to Erwin’s church which meets in a popular club in L.A. called Mosaic and i have never felt so welcomed in a church before (really believing the people were genuinely interested and not just on meeting duty – my younger cool sister Dawn and i went about two years ago and three different sets of couples totally stopped us and chatted to us and helped us out and stuff) and they combine art and music and present culture media with relevance and Bible teaching…

but yes, you do want to read this:

‘The servng that we are called to requires contact. You cannot wash the feet of a dirty world if you refuse to touch it. There is a sense of mystery to this, but it is in serving that the church finds her strength. When she ceases to serve the world around her, she begins to atrophy.’

‘the church has become a fortress from the world rather than the hope of the world’

and this bit is hectic:

‘From athlete to actor, musician to politician, both those who advocate the heart of God and those who seem to war against Him have many times been the product of the Western church. The problem has not been that these individuals of significant influence were outside of the sphere of the church’s influence, but that, in fact, they sat in the centre of the church and remained unchanged at the core.

America’s best atheists are children of the church. It is rare to find a person who is a passionate enemy of the church who has never had contact with her.’

and as you look around the big churches in Cape Town and Stellenbosch you see and hear the same things – not saying that the churches are not involved in good things and in a lot of service (would be interesting to see what percentage of each church are involved in outreach/serving and how many are just there for the show) but it’s things like “good worship vibe”, “great preaching” and “good organised cell structures” or “cool people my age group” that are the reasons why people are being attracted to those churches for the most part – still have to hear “they have an amazing feeding scheme” or “kick-ass township outreach” as reasons why people join churches…

anyways, get this, read it, pass it on, do it.