This coming Sunday is known as Palm Sunday throughout the world. It is the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem and began what is known as the week of passion throughout Christianity! I believe just like Palm Sunday we all need Jesus to enter our lives, our homes, our country, and our world. For that reason, this month at South Side we have been looking at what it means to be a “Christian” and how we can be what Christ has called us to be in our world. The challenge we face in America today is that we have a lot of “cultural Christianity” and not a great amount of “authentic Christianity.”
Cultural Christianity identifies itself as “Christianity” but does not live according to scripture. A “cultural Christian” is someone who wears the label “Christian,” but the label has more to do with their family background and upbringing than any personal relationship or lifestyle that Jesus taught. This is one main reason why Christianity has, is, and will remain in decline in America. In our current times the church is failing at its mission due to this spiritual issue.
For example, I found it interesting that one study found that unchurched Americans think Christians are weird, but it is not for the reason you might think. Fifty-seven percent of the unchurched wonder why Christian friends and neighbors never talk with them about spiritual matters. To the majority of those outside the church, believers are weird because they do not share their faith. Only 21% of active church-going Christians ever invited someone to church last year alone. The first century Christians shared Christ to the point of persecution and death. So how can we be “Christian” if we do not live like Christ, talk about Christ, and share our faith with those we live with? The answer is we cannot! Now is the time for those who call themselves “Christian” to let Jesus in, and return to “the mission” that He has given us as His followers.
So, what exactly is the mission? In our current culture Christians have all kinds of different answers. For example, just think about all the different kinds of things “Christians” prioritize today with choosing a church. For some it’s about the style of worship. For some it’s about the programs that are offered. For some it’s about entertainment. For others it’s about is it trendy. For others it’s about can I connect to people or can I come and go without being bothered by anyone. For some it’s about how did it make me feel? For some it’s about making sure no one is offended or making sure everyone’s toes get stepped on.
However, before Jesus ascended into heaven, Jesus gave us a clear mission as Christians in Matthew 28:18-20 when he said: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you and surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” That is the mission as Christ followers in this world. Once we know about Christ and accept Him as Lord we are to grow in Christ and then go into the world to share Christ with others! In the end that’s the difference between “cultural Christianity” and “authentic Christianity.” Cultural Christianity consumes, and authentic Christianity contributes!
This Sunday at South Side we will unpack our last week of our series entitled “Christian” where we will talk more about this and our mission. Our onsite worship begins at 10:15, and our Children’s Ministry offers an amazing ministry for all ages of children. If you are unable to attend our online services will be available at 3:00 on Facebook and on our website. If you would like to give generously just text the word “help” to: 84321 and follow the simple instructions. We would love to have you and your family worship with us! For more information visit us on our website at: www.southsidewch.com or on Facebook.
South Side Church of Christ