The final appendices to the historical account in the book of Judges are meant to vividly portray the abhorrent practices of a people who no longer live by a moral compass. Both accounts, have one character in common. The immoral and aberrant decisions of the Israelites hinges upon the central figure—the Levite. The sons of Levi were the chosen representatives of God. Instead of representing a holy God and directing the affections of the people toward Him, they represented their own carnal lifestyles and left the people to flounder in their own imaginations. From the first story told in Judges 17-18, the downfall of the spiritual leadership was leading a man-devised worship instead of a God-desired worship.
In western culture, much clutters effective ministry. People debate worship style, ministry models, and marketing. Leaders wait for the latest poll or socio-economic study to help them pinpoint their target audience. Since when did God challenge His preachers to target an audience? These pursuits are not essential to a healthy ministry and a healthy ministry that begins to accumulate these practices will soon be effectively benign in the culture. A healthy ministry focuses all its energy on preaching God’s word and living by it.
I would challenge any church to consider shedding the gimmicks to attract a crowd of carnally-minded, pleasure-seeking, Christ-professing people. Drop the egg hunts, concerts, raffles, and blessing of the bikes which are only marketing ploys. Instead, follow Christ’s suggestion, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32). The church is sending a mixed message to the world. Because of our self-centered strategies we are saying, “Christ is not attractive alone. We will tantalize you with incentives and entertain you until your guard is down then we will spring Jesus on you.
I would challenge any church to put a stop to the worship style debate and replace the pursuit for the most awe-inspiring, emotionally-charged song service with a meaningful, heart-rending prayer service.
I would challenge any church to lay aside the marketing methods and rely on the meaningful methods of a sincerely compassionate life. Society’s broken moral compass is not their problem. Yes, they will stand accountable for their own individual actions. Yet, the way of the culture is permitted by the way of the church. It is our problem. It is the church’s problem. It is time to be the representatives we are called to be. Otherwise, stop complaining about the depravity of the culture you fail to influence.