Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Grounded F-16 Churches

Ron McKenzie of Blessed Economist has written an insightful post about the Church and the Economy. He paints a pretty bleak picture of what much of the American Church will look like when the economic disaster hits.

Many Christians assume that the economic crisis will turn people back to God, but this is not inevitable. The escapades of the Christian Right have turned many Americans off the church, so they will be more like to turn to alternative religions in time of need. Many people are now so secularised, that God does not even cross their minds when troubles come. Church is not even on the radar. Troubled times might benefit the religions more.

Modern people look to the state when things go wrong. If Obama can kick start the economy, that faith will be further boosted. A worse crisis will just turn people to the state. People in Africa and South America know that government leaders are crooks, who will look after their mates, so their only hope is in something supernatural. Americans have gone the other way. They see the church as crooks, looking after their mates. They will look to the state when troubles come.

To experience a harvest in times of trouble, the church will have to demonstrate a life that is viable, while all others are failing. In an economic collapse, pastor-centric, building-centric churches will be too busy worrying about their overdrafts and mortgages to be able to reap the harvest. Their members will be to busy struggling with their own hire purchase payments and credit card debt to reap a harvest. Non Christians who are struggling with debt will not take seriously churches and Christians who are stuck in the same sinking boat.

To reap a harvest during economic troubles, you will need a model of church that can bring life and hope to where people live. The point of the Commando Vision is that an economic crisis cannot produce a harvest, unless radical Christians get ready to function through tumult. The reason is that most modern churches will be wiped out by the crisis and will not be in a position to help others. I expect that the American church has too many F16 Christians and not enough commando Christians to bring in a harvest in troubled times. Therefore, I doubt that the Lord will put his church through a real economic crisis, because the risk of disaster is just too great.

I will be speaking to the body at Faith Center on this topic in a few weeks in the evening service. It's a hard word. I met with the Pastors and we discussed if what was about to be shared was too difficult for the people. It is difficult and we certainly don't want to be fear mongers. But, these are mature people ready to hear the truth. I'm not certain I would bring this to every church. We will see. Things are changing and only the churches that are ready will survive this. I don't agree with Ron that the Father will hold back the disaster to protect the church, I believe he will allow it to refine and reveal. There are enough commando Christians on the ground to make a worthy assault. The F-16 Christians and Churches will run out of fuel, be grounded or destroyed. Some of those high fliers will become commandos as they realize that it's their only hope.

I hope. If we can offer enough insight we can help them enter into this without surprise. That's part of my job.

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