Is Your Church a Church of Cards?

According to the Front Porch, The election and presidency of Donald Trump has reminded me again that the one who hangs the best paper often wins political favor.  In other words, your propaganda machine is every bit as important (and sometimes more so) as is the substance of your platform. President Trump ran a successful campaign based in large part on loud, bombastic, and even unrealistic promises. Particularly, his campaign was based in the self-promoting and self-accomplishing propaganda of his promise to “make America great again.” Such shallow and even hollow promises win elections, but are woefully insufficient to build a lasting legacy.

Unfortunately, churches are often propped up by shallow and human-centered methods. Too often “so-called” successful churches are the result of well-crafted popularity campaigns and a manipulation of those elements believed to be key in garnering attention and attendance.

Yes, we do know what makes for popular churches. These elements are not, in and of themselves, wrong – and in the proper context are helpful and edifying. However, when they are used as the means and strategy for gaining popularity and attendance, then they are nothing more than paper-hanging and produce human favor but little true faith.  A simple (and admitted unscientific) survey of the current church landscape yields several elements that mark out many popular churches.

Charismatic Leadership.  When it comes to churches today, the way the leadership positions itself is huge. People do not look for humble servants in leadership as much as they look for idols, icons, and superstars. In many people’s thinking the pastor should be a boisterous, driven, outgoing visionary with clothes, shoes, cars, and personality to match. They expect their pastor to be known by half the world and the other half to wonder what it is missing. We can only speculate, but it seems the early apostles would not be called to most pastorates today – not flamboyant or “charismatic” enough.

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