state of emergency for the entire state because of the continued cold temperatures. You see the average weather for Jackson, MS in December is 58 degrees for the high and 37 for the low. This weekend the high is suppose to only reach 31!! Now I know what some folks who live in places like Chicago, Detroit, or New York are saying...well their probably laughing at us :-) Being that the average temp in Chicago, IL in January is 32 degrees (with lots of snow)!! Hey give us a break, down here we're not use to the cold, that's why we live in the South :-)
But really this post is not about the weather in the South or the North but it is about the temperature in our churches. I'm sure we've all been to a church that's so cold that you would feel warmer being in Chicago on a snowy January! Along these same lines perhaps you've experienced being at a church where the people are 'nice' overall but for whatever reason you find it hard to truly connect with the people at the church. The church is 'friendly' but it's hard to make 'friendships.' In other words they seem cold.
Could it possibly be that part of the reason the majority of churches in North America are either dying or plateauing (meaning they have stayed the same for years) is because there truly isn't the love of Jesus that is penetrating deep in the hearts of our churches? I mean it seems that when we say church possibly consciously our unconsciously we immediately think of a building in a particular address. But we must be reminded that the building is you and I and the particular address is wherever we are!
Jesus clearly said that all people would know that we are His disciples if we love one another. (John 13:35). But lets be honest don't we sometimes wonder what that really would look like in the church today? The Bible also says that God is love (1 Jn 4:8), that God loved the world that He gave His Son (John 3:16) So if the God of the universe who invented love, who is love, showed it by giving His very best to save the very worse, then how do we make that kind of love prevalent in our churches?
You see maybe we the church are not giving the very best. When I say give, I don't mean money at all, I mean our time, heart, and mind. Perhaps we're so busy with our own agenda at church (along with our activities of daily living) that we have truly forgotten the true purpose of the church. The purpose of the church is not simply great music (hymns or contemporary music), great preaching, or great programs. These are all great to have but are simply a means to an end. So what is the end? Well...the same as God's, to give in order to save! To give Jesus to others, to seek and to save that which is lost!
Could it be then that the lack of 'hot' churches is a lack of truly having He who is a consuming fire that burns within our bones and causes us through His Spirit to give it (the love of Jesus) to others?
So what's the temperature of your church? Is it cold? Well maybe you should call a state of emergency because Jesus is coming soon for those that are hot...
[photo by gregorio parvus]