I began reading the book UnLearning Church by Michael Slaughter this morning. Mike is the chief dreamer and lead pastor at Ginghamsburg church in Tipp City Ohio. I have only read the first chapter, but already I am ready to clear the calendar and finish the book. Slaughter puts words to many of the thoughts I have held. So over the next few days I am going to share the insights and challenges I am experiencing as I read the book.
The first challenge is one I was doing some writing about in another context. The megachurch model has run its course and is not longer a fitting model of church. I have known this for a while, yet was reluctant to embrace the thought. The megachurch model is one where the product of Jesus is displayed and people are processed through religion. As long as we buy the right merchandise, a person can be considered Christian, and a new person. The problem is, where is the transformation.
An unintentional consequence of the megachurch model is churches creating God in their image, or seeking to have Jesus fit their understanding of life. This is completely backwards to what we are taught in scriptures. Jesus is not the one who needs to be transformed to our way of living. We need to be transformed to Jesus was a living. Considering our current culture, this is not small or easy task. However, that is quite simply the task of the church, the transformation of lives for the transformation of the world for the sake of Jesus Christ.
I find the church, local and denominationally, spends all kinds of energy, effort and money on propping up the church, when in reality we are not functioning anything like what the church is. It might be time to throw out all the trappings of the modern church and return to the heart of the matter. This is not about worship style. This is not about bricks and mortar, this is about transformation.