Every church, every Christian, is subject to subtle, destructive drift. If you let it happen, you and your church become significantly and subtly impotent, a roadblock for Jesus, who wants to save the entire human race.
The church is not an organization. Yet, so often, we make it so. Most churches are patterned after corporations. We do stuff like votes, ask for volunteers, organize around boards, and become suffocated with death by meetings.
The church is a living organism, not an organization—and the two are polar opposites!
In 1 Peter 2:4-10, the apostle addresses the building blocks used for every church. He addresses the stones that make for a powerful, healthy church. They are not simply building material. They are living rocks. How? Why? Because Jesus is the living Rock of ages—and eternally alive.
Peter writes, in verses 4-8, “The workmen took one look and threw it out.” These misled builders are the Pharisees—the people of God who were stuck on religion. Dead orthodoxy produces dead building stones, which produce dead churches: organizations—not organisms. Bureaucratic denominations are not lively, vibrant movements.
Peter gets personal: It’s about you and me—real people. He says, “Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life.”
In verse 8, the apostle corrects drift. It’s about a faith issue—a willingness to be church like an organism, rather than an organization. He says, “For the untrusting…”—yes, doing church God’s way takes faith, trusting that God knows what He’s doing when it comes to church. Building corporate empires castrates the body of Christ—produces impotency; destroying the Lord’s plan to be fruitful and multiply the Kingdom by the power of the living Holy Spirit. Peter continues by saying that it becomes “a stone to trip over, a boulder blocking the way.”
Sadly, this describes so many churches! They are so humanly organized, their mission becomes no earthly good—not productive, little growth, aging, and declining.
So many churches—whole denominations—desperately need reconstruction! The way they do church is not the way God grows His Kingdom.
We see churches—the people of God—in a love affair with volunteerism. Jesus never said, “Can I get a volunteer?” Peter clarifies, in verse 9: “You are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling….” You don’t have a job at church—nobody does, including staff. You have a calling at life—including church. It is a calling for “priestly work.” It is the priesthood of all believers, not the consumers led by staff. You and I, all believers, are “instruments to do His work … to tell others of the night-and-day difference He made for you….” When we stop acting like dead rocks and begin operating as living stones, Jesus will take that breath of life and start a revival. Sometimes, our greatest need is to simply get out of the way and let Jesus operate through us.