What we see happening most often is that a Christian bored or unsatisfied with the goods and services at his church goes to the more attractive church...but five to six years later they become dissatisfied with that experience and are ready to go find another.
The ends don't justify the means.
What drives the way we do church. Often they are built on these functional ideologies: pragmatism and consumerism...Pragmatism is anti-gospel...Pragmatism is legalistic...it functions in law mode.
We must have a stronger faith, to trust that a sermon mainly about Jesus will "help people grow" more than our set of tips will...The gospel isn't "don't", but it also isn't "do"; both are merely religion...The "dos" can never be detached from the "done" of the finished work of Christ in the gospel, or else we run the risk of preaching the law. Maybe we need to see that the gospel does more than the law could ever do...
But the gospel's power for salvation extends beyond justification, as it grounds our sanctification and glorification as well. We must stop treating the gospel as though it were power enough for a conversion experience but falls short of empowering all the practical matters of faith that come after.
But we are in very real danger of worshiping worship. We are in very real danger of divorcing our styles and preferences from our object...worship does not begin with the worshiper. It begins with God. It is a response to God's calling upon us...Worship is a response to the proclamation of who God is and what he has done...When we gather, are we gathering as watchers or as beholders?...That should be the chief service of our worship services: beholding.
The attractional church is a lot busier doing, but a simple church may be a lot busier living...The simple church may operate much more organically...The simple church is missionally much more nimble than the attractional church.
discipleship is not a system. Discipleship is following Jesus...We must remember that pastoral ministry, like Christianity itself, is not a matter of formulas but of faith...Only the gospel goes deep enough to effect real heart change. Everything else is just behavior modification...Only the gospel gets down into the heart. So in our counseling, in our visits, in our staff devotionals and instructional time, we must administer Christ not simply advice.
our goal is not to grow churches, but to make disciples...You cannot program salvation...God is at work in the gospel. It comes from him, it is empowered by him, and it works through him...The Holy Spirit working through the good news is the only power we've got!
The prodigal church might see that, for all its talk of grace, most of its messages were centered on "things to do", which is law, not "things Christ has done," which is gospel...you demonstrate how valuable grace is by emphasizing grace over the spiritual "to do"list...So when we preach steps and tips but only assume grace, we are withholding from people the actual power they need to experience God's love and obey him...We don't begin by the Spirit and continue by the flesh.
There is an infection of idolatry in the core of my being where will-power is impotent and the only thing in the entire universe powerful enough to cure me is the blood of Christ...People are inwardly (and some outwardly) crying out for help, for rescue, for redemption, for salvation. Don't throw them the anchor of the law. Only the gospel works.