Customers, Members Or Converts?
A CAREFUL study of modern churches will reveal that members fall into the above categories. Most of today’s churches have one of these categories of people in the majority and they usually determine the health or otherwise of the church.
These are people who only come to church to collect blessing of healings, miracles, signs and wonders. They seek for prayers and ministrations for one affliction or the other. They frequently move from one church to another. They want prophetic directions, but are not interested in serving The Lord. They largely see God as Father Christmas, Who is obligated to readily give to them and meet their needs, whether they serve Him or not. Preachers also play along by only telling them what they want to hear and use their swagger to fleece rather than feed them. Such churches operate largely as hospitals, where people come for solutions but don’t stay. Constant movement of people in and out of the church is very rampant, where there are no stable members and back door losses are frequent.
These are regular and nominal church members. They are both cultural and nominal Christians, who have been in church for a long time, but are not in Christ. They are more faithful to the church and their leaders than to Christ. They believe more in what their leaders say than what the Bible says.
Most times, they become stakeholders, power brokers and form cliques in the church. Their lifestyle drives people away from the church because they constitute an eyesore to others. You can be members of a church and yet not really know the Lord. Ask Judas, Ananias, Saphira and Diotrephes in the Bible.
These are people that have truly repented of their sins. They have had personal encounter with Christ and have experienced true inner transformation through the renewal of the Holy Spirit. They have moved form the darkness to light and from serving Satan to serving the Lord in truth and in spirit. They are growing into true disciples of the Lord and daily showing the fruits of salvation in every area of their lives. They are FREE from lies, bribery, fornication, adultery and corruptions of this life. 1 Corinthians 6; 9-11.
So, now, the big question is: which one of these three categories of people is in the majority in your church?
A truly healthy church demands for more converts than customers and members. And this would have to start with pastors and our pulpits. What is being regularly dished out from the pulpit is what determines the kind of people that will fill our pews. Remember, if we don’t lead the people to God by preaching the undiluted gospel of Christ regularly, they will eventually lead us and our churches away from Christ.
If we fail to give altar call for genuine repentance from sin and ungodly living, our churches shall be filled with customers and cultural Christians and will never become a Rapturable church. My newest book, Discipleshift Today will help every sincere pastor to raise more converts and disciples than customers and routine members.
• Dr. Bola Akin-John, President, International Church Growth Ministries, Lagos.