One of the things that I find most disturbing regarding Evangelical churches today is that they are consumed with what the world thinks about the church service and how they are perceived by the world. There is one thing that is omitted and replaced by a thousand lesser concerns.
The typical church service is about relevance and how it is presenting itself before the world. What is important in so many churches is what comes across to the world.
The consequence of this is the loss of the true church service. We simply cannot have both the true church service and also be concerned for what the world thinks. What has happened is simply a repeat of Satan’s age old strategy of attacking what should be protected for the people of God.
Psalm 74:2-10 Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old, which You have redeemed to be the tribe of Your inheritance; and this Mount Zion, where You have dwelt. Turn Your footsteps toward the perpetual ruins; the enemy has damaged everything within the sanctuary. Your adversaries have roared in the midst of Your meeting places; they have set up their own standards for signs. It seems as if one had lifted up his axe in a forest of trees. And now all its carved work they smash with hatchet and hammers. They have burned Your sanctuary to the ground; they have defiled the dwelling place of Your name. They said in their heart, “Let us completely subdue them.” They have burned all the meeting places of God in the land. We do not see our signs; there is no longer any prophet, nor is there any among us who knows how long. How long, O God, will the adversary revile, and the enemy spurn Your name forever?
Our churches are being burned down! Spiritually and physically. Spiritually, by the wicked coming in with all of their own ways of doing worship, in which what should be there is now removed, even as flames remove what is good. Physically, in that as traditional churches are closing down they are being destroyed and the land used for other purposes.
What I mean by the true church service is a simple service that is not cumbered with things that take away from worship that is according to the Spirit [John 4:23,24]. The world would have us worship God according to the flesh. This is demonstrated in churches with everything from idols to entertaining music.
The one thing that must never be omitted and must be the only thing that we are about is the true worship of God! The true church service is not about looking toward the congregation, but toward God. Indeed, we are all to be focused on the Lord and not focused on how those among us may be feeling or perceiving what we are about. Mary was right to be focused on Jesus, though her sister Martha perceived that there were more important things she should have been focused on [Luke 10:38-42].
The common objection is that the church will not be relevant and people will not attend.
If we are wanting to compete with sporting events and theatrical attractions then we will be as relevant as they are.
If we do have great numbers, but do not have the Lord, is that not the worse possible thing? It is better to have a few worshippers and yet that blessing that only He can bring. Truly, the problem is that we don’t know what it is like to know the presence of God and we are enslaved to an outward sense of the meeting. We are governed by a secular way of thinking and do not know that peaceful spiritual way of thinking that is just about meeting with Jesus.
Leaders who are influencing the church with this sort of thinking are tools in the hands of Satan who would love to reduce Christian worship to Baal worship.
Jeremiah 5:31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; and My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?
What the world needs is the Lord, not more of the world. What will truly impact the lost is something they cannot find anywhere else. To be at the feet of Jesus with a solemnity, a seriousness, a power, in which the Holy Spirit speaks the living Word of God to us, is what we are losing.