Despite the holiday and the heat, nearly 80 people showed up for the Revolution kick off last night. The sermon cast the vision for the new community and was entitled “Why Revolution?”
Here is a recap:
First of all, as posted earlier, the church has a serious image problem especially among those 18-40. According to studies, such as those published in the book “Unchristian”, 84% of young adults have a negative view of the church. Why? The overwhelming number of them believe the church is “boring”, “too political”, “too old fashioned” and “full of hypocrites.” Oh, and a whopping 90% believe we are “anti-homosexual”, by which, they mean we are just too nasty to those engaging in homosexual behavior.
This is a stunning contrast to the view of the earliest church as portrayed in Acts 2. The church formed by the Spirit through the Apostles gained favor with “all people” even those who thought what they believed was goofy.
The church has simply lost its focus and overly accommodated to the culture around it or retreated so far from the culture that it is irrelevant. For example, there is the seeker sensitive church where its all about entertainment with lots of programs to meet every “felt need” and preaches a kind of “gospel light.” There is also the “health & wealth gospel” which preaches that Jesus suffered and died for you to have bling and a pimped out ride! There is the emergent church which looks to me (as a former insider) as metrosexual emo church and overly accommodates to postmodernism by attempting to smooth all the rough edges off the Gospel. Finally, there are the sectarian fundamentalists who live wholly within a Christian subculture and, as a result, do not have the ability to communicate the Gospel to non-Christians. When these distortions of the Gospel are the best known models of church it is no wonder that we all have such bad reputations.
Revolution seeks to adhere closely to the vision of the church as set forth by our King, Jesus, in Matthew 28:16-20, otherwise known as the Great Commission. We will do this with a model we stole from the book “Simple Church.” Revolution is all about making disciples and will not embark on ANYTHING that does not fit into clear, chronological steps for taking a person from knowing nothing to being willing to storm the gates of Hell for Jesus. We think in steps not programs.
The steps are: (1) corporate worship where we take the unchanging Gospel (Jude 3) and present it in a way that is sensible to a postmodern, postindustrial, post-Christendom age (1 Cor. 9). (2) We want to move folks from just attending corporate worship to discipleship groups where they can grow, have real community and find their niche within the Kingdom and (3) where they are led into the world to spread the Gospel both in word and deed by proclaiming the Good News succinctly and sacrificing their money and time to help the least among us all to the glory and honor of God.
Unfortunately, along the way, we will make mistakes and offend people but we will stick to our vision we believe the Spirit has given us. Finally, while we are angry with the modern church for distorting the Gospel, we will not just sit around and run them down but will pray for all of them.
Next week we start our four month walk through the story of Scripture with a discussion about who God is entitled “Before the Beginning”. Once again, all are welcome regardless of age. We meet again this Sunday at the old PHS gym on Waller Street in Portsmouth at 7pm.
Grace and peace to you all.