why yes... i am...(unless it gets more people in my church!)

there are countless discussions, methods, books, etc. on things to do or start doing to make one’s church be bigger, better, or more relevant. while we shouldn’t be stagnant or fail to constantly evaluate what we do as churches, we must remember that we are not just free to add or remove anything we want in order to make things “better”. there are certain non-negotiables that if removed or compromised make us something other than a biblical church. here are two examples that while humorous, express the frustration of many with the way churches often market themselves, often to the point of sacrificing their biblical standing as a church.

We want to go to a place with ample parking that hands us a latte for free as we enter the doors. We want to sit in a comfortable chair that vibrates. We want a poppin’ band. We want to see fog. And a laser light that draws the shape of a cross in the fog. We want a good singer to sing comforting things to us as we listen admiringly. Then we want an energetic speaker to alleviate our fear of the bad economy and inspire us in no more than 20 to 22 minutes. Then we want to leave without being bothered, have our retinas scanned to pick up our kids, and watch them slide down the slide out of the Kidz Playz having heard a lesson from no less than Sponge Bob Square Pants himself on obeying parents and not lying. And if we feel like it, we want all that all over again in a week. That’s evangelicalism.

pastor matt chandler, on the frustrating reality that many christians have reduced “church life” to being all about us, our wants, and desires.

here are some observations from pastor jared wilson on how often we ignore and even leave out basic biblical requirements for being an actual church.

Borrowing from Jeff Foxworthy, then, here’s some signs your church may not actually be a church.

You May Not Be a Church If . . .

Your pastor rarely talks about Jesus. (That’s an easy one.)

Your pastor talks about Jesus, but only in the “follow his example” sort of way. (You could be Mormon or even Muslim and preach about Jesus in that way.)

The “worship” songs are mostly about how you feel and what you can do, as opposed to who God is and what He has done.

The extent of nearly everyone’s involvement in the church is limited to the weekly service.

Your pastors don’t actually pastor anyone face to face but manage “systems” from their office 40 hours a week.

Some of these systems are designed so that the pastor interacts with as few people as possible.

You can’t remember the last time you ate the Lord’s Supper.

Most of the planning and focus in the organization revolves around designing a killer weekend service.

You never hear the word “sin” there.

You hear the word “sin,” but only briefly or redefined as “mistakes.”

You can’t remember when you last heard the name of Jesus in a message.

The Easter message isn’t about the resurrection but “new opportunities” in your life or turning over a new leaf.

On patriotic holiday weekends, the message is about how great America is.

On the other weekends, the message is about how great you are.

There are more videos than prayers.

People don’t sing during “worship,” but watch.

The pastors’ chief responsibilities are things foreign to Scripture.

There is more money budgeted for advertising than for mission.

The majority of the small groups are oriented around sports or leisure, not study or service.

You always feel comfortable there.

Church membership just appears to be a recruiting system for volunteers.

You only see other church people on Sunday mornings at church.

…If your church meets one or more of these, it might be a spiritual pep rally, a religious performance center, a Christian social club, or something else entirely, but it is probably not, biblically speaking, a gathering of the biblical church.