In the last two years the Lord has been speaking to us about what he calls the “Citadel”. It is the word to describe the way the modern Church has become like a corporation, marketing the local body and seeking to grow the church in their own abilities while subjugating the work of the Holy Spirit. The Lord has been revealing to us how building the ‘Citadel’ is not under the headship of Jesus Christ and that He is calling the Church to recalibrate to His headship. One way He is asking us to do this is to resist the Mega Church growth models of ministry. One obvious method of church growth is marketing and He is calling us to repent of it and resist the perceived success of it.
One very disconcerting element of this new way of marketing the church is to scrub the verbiage of anything Christian from all interactions with the public. You may recall my article about WEMI addressing the same issue. So a church is now called a ‘campus’ and literature to logos have eliminated any cross, never mention Jesus or the Gospel, and offer a product that everyone would love to add to their lives instead of laying their lives down for.
This evening the Teacher of our Five Fold leadership group at Wellspring at the Cross brought a flier his wife received in the mail. When I read the text and looked at the logo I cringed. Yet another start up church from a larger church outside of the area, beginning a “campus” here in the Valley where the sermons are pumped in via some media outlet and watched on the big screen. Notice the text:
“Life Church is one church in multiple locations. In the heart of the Fox Valley. Life Church’s Appleton Campus meets every weekend at Marcus Appleton East. There you will enjoy live worship, a dynamic message and interactive programs designed for kids from infant through 5th grade. Come out this weekend and experience church at the movies!”
What they mean by multiple locations is that there is no Pastor on hand and the person preaching the sermon is in another city. They have multiple “campuses”. And what are they selling? “There you will enjoy…”; “Dynamic message..”; “Interactive programs designed for kids…” where is Jesus? Where is taking up your cross and following Christ? Where is repentance? Salvation? the Good news of being able to be set free from sin? Do you see the shift? In Acts 2 they preached, “People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. 23 But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. 24 But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.” and 3000 were added to the church. You see Jesus, His work, His cross. This is how church growth is done in a biblical way.
We must trust God in building His Kingdom and trust His ways. Not our own ways; not the ways of the world marketing with well thought out terms and non offensive language. God is calling us back to His headship and marketing the church is simply not a part of His ways.
At Wellspring at the Cross we are seeking the headship of the Lord for His design and trying to resist this: