Their signs were all along the road. The flags stood high in the air, letting me know I was in the right place. As I entered the parking lot, it was filled with cars with the church logo in their windows. Approaching the sanctuary, directly to the right of the door, was the merch table. I could buy a t-shirt with the church’s logo on it.
No mention of Jesus.
No mention of God.
No mention of the mission.
Just the logo.
Here’s the thing, minus the merch table, this could have described my church.
In the beginning, it was so important that people knew we were different from the other churches. I wanted the people in my community when they thought of church to have mine come to their mind first. After all, isn’t it about getting people in the door?
The point of the church is to proclaim that there is a better way. Jesus comes with love, hope, and liberty. Jesus’ Kingdom is being established in hearts and changing lives.Tweet
We want others to be a part of that.
Yet what I see, and what I have had to address in my own heart, is that we are creating organizational kingdoms and not Christ centred ones. Churches have become more concerned about branding their church and living out the mission of the church rather than proclaiming Christ and living out the life God is calling us too. Church’s do service projects in their community for the publicity rather than out of a heart of love. They love to broadcast all their good deeds, some are even God deeds, yet their self-praise ends up leaving them hollow.
I fear that we are treading too close to a Pharisaic mindset.
In the Scriptures, the book of Matthew takes the role of calling out the hypocrisy within the faith community. There were no “Christians” at the time. Thus, Jesus is speaking to the Jewish community, the one he was a part of. You see, the Jewish religious leaders of the time were more concerned about showing off the brand of their religion—holiness and piousness. In the book of Matthew, especially in chapter twenty-three, Jesus calls out the religious leaders tie to their religious brand, the promoting of themselves, and their lack of Integrity.
“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honour at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.”Matt 23:5-7
It is not about your brand. It is about the Kingdom of God. It’s about a God who loved us enough, that while we were still covered in the muck of our misdeeds, he comes to lifts us out.
I love what Neil Cole writes,
“There are many books, tapes, seminars, an CD’s made to help people build the church, but if you are building the church, it isn’t the church. Jesus did not say ‘And upon this rock you will build my church.’ Jesus, an only Jesus, builds the church. If we build a church that is based on a charismatic personality, an innovative methodology, or anything else, we have a church that is inferior to that which Jesus would build.”
Your church isn’t about you, your church name or logo, your pastor, system, style, or whatever else you can think of.
The Church of Christ is about one thing, Christ. He will build it. Not your savvy.Tweet
Sure, you can market people into the building. We can appeal and dazzle. Unfortunately, time and time again, what I see is that people are attracted by the brand and then commissioned to be spokespersons’ of the church rather than the cross.
The Church is called to more. Let’s set aside the idol of our brand and instead pursue hearts that align with what it means to be a Christ Kingdom builder.
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