Is Britain Broken?
It’s a fair question when we consider the events in our country over recent weeks.
I was reminded, yesterday, of a verse in the Old Testament book of Judges which says;
In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.(Judges 21 vs. 25)
Because of this, the nation of Israel went through a continual cycle of “boom and bust”. Whenever they hit a “bust” period, God raised up a hero (called a Judge) to free the people. The problem with the Judges is, they were not always Godly people (just read the story of Samson and ask yourself “why, why, why Delilah?”)
Of course, the king that the nation needed would provide Godly leadership. Keep the nation on track with God and enable them to fulfill the role that God had given to the nation of Israel.
Now, as I have said previously, this is NOT a political blog nor am I presenting my opinions on the monarchy.
I do feel, however, that in recent events there are many people who are just crying out for something ‘different’ in our nation. I believe, this vacuum has been created because we have neglected God and are “doing whatever seems right in our own eyes”.
My reflections have led me to consider how the Church needs to be raised up like the Judges in the Old Testament to show the nation the way back to God.
The question is, how do we do this?
I think, firstly, we need to re-discover our missional heart. The Church is not a club for the good but, a rescue station for the troubled. It was Archbishop William Temple who was quoted as saying
“The Church is the only institution that exists primarily for the benefit of those who are not its members.”
I have always passionately believed this but, in the day to day management of church activities, it is often forgotten. In our battle to keep the buildings running, the program full we have concentrated our efforts on keeping people happy, rather than reaching those who do not yet know Jesus.
One thing I heard the other day, which shocked me, is that some Church Ministers now face performance management reviews and annual appraisals. I am all for professionalism and accountability but, surely, this is going too far.
Secondly, we forget the radical nature of Christian community. In some respects, the church has become part of society and therefore absorbed into it. The early Church were outsiders. Because they were outside the system, the Church had to cling together and work together despite their differences. That radical community was so attractive, it grew.
Thirdly, the consumer culture has entered the Church. Rather than influencing our society, we have been influenced by society. Church has become about a lifestyle choice and “what do I get out of this”. The danger with this consumer approach is that, in a desperate attempt to compete in the marketplace, we offer everything to everybody and burn ourselves out in the process.
Dear reader, this has to stop!
We have to get back to what is at the heart of the gospel.
It’s time to radically rethink the way that we “do Church” and to recapture what our faith is actually about.
I want to be excited by the gospel opportunities that are available in our country. I want to be engaging fully with God’s word. I want to share what I have found in Jesus with those who do not yet know Him.
There is a story told about the evangelist Gypsy Smith (I don’t know if it’s true but, I like it). Somebody once asked him “how can we see revival in the nation?”. Gypsy Smith responded that it was easy “take a piece of chalk and draw a circle on the floor. Stand in the circle and pray ‘Lord, send revival and start with everybody who is standing in this circle’”.
I don’t know about you but, I am off to find a piece of chalk.