WHEN CHURCHES FOCUS ON THE WRONG THING

AP News Headlines read: CHURCH MAKES LAYOFFS AND TRIES NEW DIRECTION

The Crystal Cathedral church in California has put millions of dollars into their church building. It has over 10,000 windows, 52 bells in the bell tower, massive 90 foot tall doors that electronically open behind the pulpit, a 17 foot 18-karat-gold cross, and an outdoor movie screen for “drive-in” worshippers. This only scratches the surface of what this building has. But now, due to finances, they’re in big trouble. They’ve begun to sell land, buildings, retreat centers and make layoffs among the staff.

The church’s plan, according to the article in the paper this week, is to regroup and start going in a new direction as a church. What’s the new direction this church is going to go? They said, besides fundraising, their new plan of action is, “We’re going to seek out those who are lost or have lost connection with their faith.”

What? A church deciding that they’re going to change directions and start trying to reach lost people? No, way. What an amazing new concept. Reaching lost people? Who would have ever thought of doing something crazy like that? That’s insane!

I never want to kick people when their down, but I wonder, “What in the world have they been doing all these years?” Shouldn’t “reaching out to the lost” be what they should have been doing from the beginning? I’ve said it once and I’ll SHOUT it a million more times, “The church is ALL ABOUT reaching lost people!” It was Jesus’ goal and it should be ours. When we cease trying to reach lost people … we cease being a church!

Jesus said this about his mission, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save those who are lost.” Then he told us, “…Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.” I think if a church has any other goal than that, then they’ve already failed the assignment Jesus gave them to do.

I wonder if God shakes His head in disgust when we take His money and use those billions of dollars on buildings instead of reaching the lost, feeding the hungry and making a difference in the world. I don’t know about you, but I DO NOT want to be a part of a church that is defined by its location, building or budget, but by its love for reaching lost people.

(COMMENT OF THE DAY: WisemanB said… “But think of the economic impact of this church fails! What about the window washers who clean 10,000 windows each week? What about the grounds-keepers, the IT people who keep the multi-media going, the accountants, the….Okay, it is almost incomprehensible that they weren’t already seeking the lost, but isn’t that what happens in many large cities? The easiest way to pull in more numbers is to pull Christ-followers from the congregations they’re already attending, “seeking the saved.” I have yet to fail to find a culture of competition between congregations in large cities. It’s usually masked as “doctrinal issues,” but if you dig down below the surface there’s some competition brewing there.”

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
12 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Stoogelover says:

    I didn’t read the article yet, but I wonder if it mentions the life sized statues of their pastor at almost every entrance? It’s a beautiful structure for sure, but mostly a monument to themselves.

  2. Gallagher says:

    Excellent post. Don’t people just drive you nuts!

    Maybe this will the the door of opportunity people need to see the true nature of the Word.

  3. Peter P says:

    The whole situation there makes me both sad and kinda sick.

    It’s so sad that people are pulling their tithes out of the church just because the Pastor has ‘retired’.

    What’s all that about?

  4. Grannie Annie says:

    Amen brother! My husband Bill is preaching this next week when we visit Alani (oh, and Mike and Timbra too 😉 ) in UT. I’m going to pass on this blog post for him to read.

  5. Grannie Annie says:

    I meant to say, that the topic for him, is very much along the lines of your post.

  6. WisemanB says:

    But think of the economic impact of this church fails! What about the window washers who clean 10,000 windows each week? What about the grounds-keepers, the IT people who keep the multi-media going, the accountants, the….

    Okay, it is almost incomprehensible that they weren’t already seeking the lost, but isn’t that what happens in many large cities? The easiest way to pull in more numbers is to pull Christ-followers from the congregations they’re already attending, “seeking the saved.” I have yet to fail to find a culture of competition between congregations in large cities. It’s usually masked as “doctrinal issues,” but if you dig down below the surface there’s some competition brewing there.

  7. cwinwc says:

    On one of my first visits to SoCal, we visited the Crystal Cathedral. This would have been in the early 90’s. I remember there were “Tour Guides” and all of them were elderly. Even then my impression was that this was a church past it’s prime and who had perhaps lost its way.

    Perhaps they had lost their way because they had forgotten about the lost? One thing for sure – it could happen to any of our churches.

  8. Rick Morgan says:

    The economic impact is definitely something to be considered, just maybe if they can get to Washington there is hope that they could get a bail out.

  9. john dobbs says:

    I have a different view. Until this recent dustup with his son, Robert Schuller has led a ministry with little controversy. And I would view their statement as a renewal, rather than a dawning realization. For many years they have produced and given away much much material in the form of books and such. Their program is the longest running teleministry still on the air. I don’t poo-poo their property – they decided to build something beautiful for God instead of a cowbarn with pews. How many church of Christ buildings are us ugly as they are useless except for one hour a week? So… I applaud them for decades of outreach, they have a large membership, have attempted to meet everyone where they are (indoors, drive up). And have led a positive campaign to teach Christ. A reading of Dr. Schuller’s autobiography is extremely inspirational. Ok, I’ll step down off of my soap box now! lol

  10. TREY MORGAN says:

    My point in my post wasn’t to beat up on the CC church as much as it was just to point out how we sometimes miss the point. The church is about reaching lost people.

    Who knows, maybe more churches need to start over and refocus their priorities on lost people. :)

  11. Anonymous says:

    Seeking the lost is something EVERY church should be doing.

  12. roadrunner says:

    Christians in general are missing the point. People are going to church but are clearly not “saved”
    “You will know them by their fruits”

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Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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