“For the shepherds have become stupid, they do not seek Yahweh. Therefore they do not have insight, and all of their flock are scattered.” Jeremiah 10:21
Antonio R. Jackson writes, “The focus of the modern day church has become corrupted and God’s power diminished by idolized personalities and an innate desire for celebrity.” Jackson continues, “Pastors have been widely revered as superstars rather than being identified and recognized as the servants they are. While this is not new, in the case of the televangelist, with the uprising of social media it has become a cultural norm. We live in a world that has, for centuries, played the game of monkey-see-monkey-do.” Jackson warns that God is going to get tired of the cute, and will call out the Church if it doesn’t walk away from the arrogant, and reaffirm its servanthood.
Jackson, in his article, “Entertaining Does Not Mean Effective: A Lesson For The Millennial Church” is concerned that while there are a few churches growing by the cult of personality, the whole of Christendom is in decline because so many are turned off by such “antics” that they have left the Christian faith all together. Jackson’s warning is so harsh, he ends the article with a quote from Jeremiah 10:21, “For the shepherds have become stupid, they do not seek Yahweh. Therefore they do not have insight, and all of their flock are scattered.”
If we are to honor God and not be part of the divine problem, our congregations must continue to humbly focus our actions on Scripture. Scripture continually calls us to focus on God and not on ourselves. The more selfless our worship, the more selfless our mission, the more selfless our relationships, the more in tune with the Divine call we become. That is hard to believe in this secular society where bigger means better, and where richer means more successful. God’s idea of success is very different from the world’s understanding of success.
Easy faith can be popular because many people want to feel like they are being faithful while not letting God become too demanding. Hey, if it takes one hour a week to appease God, then the least the church can do is make that hour entertaining. Instead, our lives should center on our faith, and worship should take us deeper into Divine communion, where we empty ourselves, so there is room for God to fill us with compassion, meaning, and wholeness. Pray for God to empty you and me, but also all the faithful throughout the world, and for all generations.