It’s “festival” and conference season in the body. There are myriad conferences and music fests that have proliferated on the Christian scene and everyone is getting into the act. Yeah, kinda like a circus circuit. When we’re done with one town, we move on to the next one and on and on it goes. We get more flyers at our church for summits and other venues than I can ever remember getting or even caring about. But I just cannot read them mindlessly – I take them seriously because someone took the time to organize, compose, publish and send, and so I will have a complete thought on them. Isn’t that what they are expecting of the receiver? But I admit that in reality, these flyers are a great thermometer – I get to take the temperature of the church and measure the depth of the apostasy. It’s not good. It’s getting, well, “deep” out there, if you get my drift.
First, a disclaimer: these events that proliferate like rabbits are not to be confused with genuine, godly, bible-based conferences that bring in solid teachers and exhort and refresh those who are on the front lines in bringing the gospel to those who need it, to minister to those God has put into our sphere of influence. No, not the excellent leadership and prophecy conferences put on by legitimate ministries, such as the Calvary Chapels and other light-bearers. What I am addressing is the “relevant” change agents that want you to believe that the body of Christ is just some random club that is entitled to do it’s own thing with no regard whatsoever for sound doctrine, contending for the faith, or having a right fear of God. And never the tween shall meet if I read my prophecy passages correctly.
Just today, I received yet another obnoxious invitation to some “relevant” conference. I was completely offended by this one, as opposed to simply mildly annoyed. This Minnesota area event says in its flyer, “Let’s face it: there’s an elephant in the church. Actually, the elephant IS the church, and you need it to move. Working together, you can harness the energy of your church to accomplish big things. Relevance is not a leadership conference; it’s a practical, how-do-you-do-it conference.” And just how do-you-do-what? Lead reverent worship, teach verse by verse through the bible, hold the hand of someone who is dying, answer a mulititude of questions on dating, cohabitating, marriage, child-rearing, tongues, warfare, emergent garbage…what’s the question? How to get saved? Live the spirit filled life? I have no doubt that most churches today can’t answer even those questions, let alone make sure things are done decently and in order by actually letting the Holy Spirit add, purify, direct, exhort, reprove, etc. As bad as this is, the real offense to me hidden in this marketing ploy is this part:
“Let’s face it: there’s an elephant in the church. Actually, the elephant IS the church, and you need it to move.”
Let me say this just once: the church is not an elephant. It is the precious body of Christ, His bride, for whom He shed His blood and gave His life. Jesus is the head of the Church. If the body is not functioning as it should, perhaps it has ceased to allow Him to be the head, ceased to obey His word, and instead is looking to be its own entity with its own will, winking at carnality and flaunting baseness. And no amount of relevance or emergent foolishness will right it. Only by knowing Him, being led by Him, and being daily filled with His Spirit can the church EVER expect to function as it should. In these last days, instead of warning of His soon coming, the church is one big sideshow. And don’t even think about telling me I am too old to understand the new stuff. I understand plenty, and all too well.
The other flyer I received is for a music fest. We have one of those in our backyard, in Oshkosh, each year. This one is in Minnesota. In marketing this shindig, the first selling point/promise to the attendee is: “Experience Deeper Worship”. Well, what soul who loves God wouldn’t want that? But let’s deconstruct this in context: first of all, they make it a selling point. If you pay the admission and attend, we will give you this in return. I didn’t know they could offer that unconditionally! If I don’t experience this, do I get my money back, like at JC Penney? Secondly, they are taking responsibility for me having that experience, as if it were all up to them and their manipulations to make sure I have that experience. I did not know that “deeper worship” could be sold at a festival. I thought it was interaction between the believer and the Spirit of God. Now that I know where to find it, how could I not seek it out at this event? But once the event is over, where o where will I find it then? Hint: your local body of believers, your prayer closet, or maybe in the middle of an open field. And it’s free.
The church needs desperately to stop running to and fro looking for the latest and greatest speaker they can elevate to prophet; the biggest best-seller they can elevate to inerrancy; and stop whining about what the church is not doing for the most narcissistic generation that ever lived.
If you want to seek out solid biblical events, we have 3 coming up this year, and there are other good ones around the nation as well: our 22nd annual Great Lakes Pastors and Leadership Conference (April 23-25), our 1st annual Great Lakes Worship Conference (June 18, 19) and our 11th Annual Great Lakes Prophecy Conference (Sept 10-12). All are welcome to come for edifying, Scripturally sound teaching and exhortation. Watch our website! www.ccappleton.org.