By: Mike Riley


The above article title was also the headline of an article from an online newspaper I recently read. A church in Houston is opening a full-service McDonald’s restaurant inside the building complete with a drive-through window. It’s expected to open in July along with the church’s NBA regulation-size basketball court, a volleyball court, a full locker room with showers, a computer center, a gift shop, a weight room, and several other features.

Human “Innovations” Versus the Gospel “Call”


 In the same section of the paper was another article about a church “management team” that had changed the name of their church from “Fellowship Church” to “”. Another article spoke of a church in Atlanta that has instituted “casual” Sundays, encouraging people to come in whatever attire they feel comfortable with. In each case, those responsible for such “innovations” state they’re trying to make people feel comfortable and relaxed, to do whatever it takes to encourage people to come to their services. Please don’t get me wrong. I certainly want to encourage people to worship God, learn of His will, obey the gospel, and live a Christian life. We need to meet people wherever they are in life with the gospel of Christ.

But, that gospel “calls” them to a different life (1 Peter 2:9-11). It doesn’t tell them to be comfortable or relaxed in their attitude or lifestyle, but rather to “exemplify” Christ and His will at work in them (Ephesians 2:10). This requires “change”. Paul exhorted the brethren in Philippi, “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27). To the church in Ephesus, he said, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Ephesians 5:1).


Distinctive Nature of The Lord’s Church

How much of this is an accommodation to society? As one writer pointed out in his article, this shift coincides with less formality in other parts of American life. “Come casual and you won’t be offended by anything,” seems to be the message some are communicating. In the name of “attracting the masses,” it seems an increasing number of churches are communicating the message that “anything goes”. However, we can’t “call” people out of the world if they don’t “see” a difference between the church and the world.

Why seek religion if religion is just a reflection of the society you’re already in? The apostle Paul reminded the Corinthians, that what God had said of Israel long ago, still applied when it came to sin and the attitudes of the world, “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate, says the Lord” (2 Corinthians 6:17). We may be “in the world”, but we must not be “of the world” (John 15:19; 1 John 2:15). Perhaps the reason the Lord’s church has been so unsuccessful in the evangelism of late is that we no longer have anything “distinctive” about us to attract people “out of the world.”

One person wrote of all this, “If a clown overtakes God as the center of the church, too many of us will have joined the circus.” Brethren let’s remember whose image we are to reflect (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18) and seek to live by that high and noble calling, rather than reflect the image of the world around us. It might make a difference in how others perceive our Lord, themselves, and us.