We live in a very interesting time in American Christianity. In some ways, so much incredible Kingdom stuff is happening. In other ways, I feel like we can’t hear THE name because all we hear is YOUR name.
Translation: many Christian leaders and Christian ministries are focused more on building their kingdoms than they are on building God’s Kingdom.
We live in a social media 2.0 world where we relentlessly communicate exciting news about our churches’ attendance, special events, and baptism numbers without ever sharing the people whose lives are still falling apart among us and make ministry so overwhelming. The way so many attract people to their churches is by sharing how other churches are failing. “If you would only join us,” which means neglect your church family that you have been connected to, “everything will be alright in life.” We all believe that the way we do church and ministry and is right and everyone else has it wrong.
Sometimes we proclaim the name of our pastors or churches or ministries so much that outsiders would think man is responsible for Kingdom success.
Does that mean that you shouldn’t share with a friend or post an update of how God moved in your church? Absolutely not! You should share those wonderful things. But we all need to start asking ourselves why we are sharing it.
A good test is this: when you hear of something amazing happening at another church, how do you feel? What’s your response inwardly? Are you excited? Jealous? Suspicious?
There are days when I long for the simplicity of West Africa where I’m not concerned with how many people retweet my tweets. I had no idea how many people liked my status updates. I never even checked how many views my blog had.
Nowadays, it almost feels like to keep up you have to get your name out there and use whatever means necessary to get the word out about your organization so it’s heard above other Christian organizations. You would think that we would try to get the name of Jesus heard above another name present in the world. You would think that as long as a person got connected with a Christian organization, we would all rejoice. But do we?
It’s almost like we are each shouting our own brand name of ministry that the name of Jesus gets lost in the process.
I’ve used a technique before to show how this works. The illustration is simple. Get a group of people together in one room. Count to 3 and let everyone scream their name. The result sounds chaotic. Then get everyone to shout the class they are in (or their favorite football team, etc.). It sounds chaotic but not as much. Then have everyone shout the name of Jesus all at once and what do you hear? Unity, clarity, and focus!
Sometimes I wonder how the world hears churches. Are we all shouting our name at the top of our lungs? Are we all trying to make sure our church is heard over the other churches’ names? Or are we known for unifying together and proclaiming the name above every name?
I’m resolving to proclaim Jesus more than Travis. I want to lift high His Kingdom over our church. I want to celebrate what God is doing all over the world. Anybody with me?
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
1 thought on “We Can’t Hear THE Name Because All We Hear is YOUR Name”
I’m with you, bo!!!
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