The following post is from the now-defunct Church O Rama blog. This post is an open essay to many “Seeker Sensitive” churches which looks at one overlooked component, based on the author’s experience as a member in such churches, and subsequent “church shopping” experiences. Having said that, the author believes that being sensitive to seekers is a trait ALL churches should have.
Broken-ness: the missing ingredient
When was the last time you went to a church that wasn’t trying to impress you with their:
Perhaps the one thing that goads me slightly about more ambitious churches (megachurches and wanna-be megachurches) is that brokenness is not usually in the equation. Think about it… brokenness is probably the most offensive thing about the Kingdom since it is the thing that makes us most uncomfortable about ourselves and we avoid it at all costs. Why would you bring something like this in public! Are you kidding? Are you crazy!
Hence the westernized church situation. No brokenness. A whole bunch of southern hospitality, mixed in with a healthy patriotic ritual, benevolence funds, even a few hospital visits. Brokenness is a forced intrusion, but we can usually limit its appearance to bad health diagnoses, natural disasters, an accident, divorce, or something equally unpleasant – intrusions we cannot control.
Brokenness is water to the Kingdom. Want to get power? Get broken. Want to stay in power? Stay broken, even as your life picks up and starts to look better, way better, on the outside. How broken were you to begin with? The test is that you stay broken even when you prosper, regain your health, begin to succeed at things, etc…
Voluntary brokenness is a weapon to allow us to stay in that state. Fasting. Praying all night. Being sensitive. Touching the poor. Giving money, time, and energy in radical ways.
There has got to be a better balance between an outward, Americanized “look” of success (and despite my initial rant there is nothing inherently wrong with this), good administration and leadership, meeting the needs of the community, and some appropriate degree of vulnerability/brokenness. I have seen it in a few churches, and it is refreshing!
If brokenness is left out of any ministry, formula, or strategy, any “success” is deceptive and suspect. I don’t want to follow a flawed model.
If it’s broke, don’t “fix” it.