The End of Four-Wall Christianity

It will be great when we can gather together again in our church buildings, freely and without restriction, to worship and pray and hear the teaching of God’s Word. But it’s also great that we are being forced to think outside the box. In other words, thinking outside of the four walls of the church.

Four wall mentality lends itself to a form of spectator Christianity, where we show up once a week to enjoy a great performance. What worship! What preaching! What a service! And that’s it. The “laity” sits back while the “clergy” performs, then we go out for a nice family meal and go on with our normal lives. That is not what Jesus died for.

That is not the faith or practice of the New Testament. That is not the gospel lived out. That is not being the church rather than going to church. That is not what Jesus died for.

We are called to be a Body, and every member of the Body plays an essential role. All are called to participate in the Great Commission, either by prayer or by sharing our faith or by giving financially or by all of the above.

With the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, we have a great opportunity to do a major reset, to ask some deeper questions, and to say, “Here I am Lord! Send me and use me.”

Before pastor Brown came to the faith in late 1971, he was a heavy drug user, playing drums in a rock band, totally emerged in the lifestyle. Then, by God’s great mercy and quite without his initiative, he was drawn to the Lord, and everything changed – no more drugs, no more decadence. In a moment, everything changed.

It is against this backdrop that he wrote in his journal, “How I hate white collar religion! How I hate commercialism! How I hate Christianity within four walls! How I hate faith without fire, profession without passion, belief without burden. Why weren’t we going into the world and sharing our faith?

Let us invade our communities with the good news of forgiveness and transformation through the cross. Let us shine our lights in our neighborhoods, offering hope and a new way of life. And let us use the four-walls of our buildings as a base of operations, not a museum or monument. If not now, then when?

I’m all for inviting people to visit our church services and be touched and transformed. But how much better is it for us to carry the message wherever we go.

Michael Brown

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