I believe the church should be like a battery charger. Why do you buy rechargeable batteries? The purpose of the batteries is to do some work you have for them, to power something. Now for those batteries to work, they need regular recharging. For batteries, the charger is a wonderful place. It’s where they get everything they need to fulfill their purpose. Unfortunately, the charger can be such a comfortable place that some batteries don’t want to leave it and do the work they were bought for. “You are not your own; you were bought at a price” (1 Cor. 6:19b-20a, see also 1 Cor. 7:23).
Have you ever noticed the instructions regarding nickel-cadmium (NiCd) rechargeable batteries? They should be discharged completely before recharging. Oddly enough, if they are rarely used outside the charger they quickly lose their ability to hold a charge and become worthless! The only way to get the best value from them is to regularly use them until they’re wrung out between charges.
Our churches should be wonderful places where people get love, encouragement, teaching, refreshment, encouragement—everything they need to be fully charged disciples of Christ. But that only accomplishes God’s purpose if we kick people out of the charger and get them using that power to do what God created them to do.
The analogy holds for pre-believers as well. They’re wandering through lives searching for a source of power beyond themselves. The battery charger of the church is the place where they discover the source they were created to draw from. And what draws them to the charger? Not signs pointing to “a really great power source here” or ads in the religion section of the newspaper. They will be drawn to the charger by people around them who are radiating the power they need.
So, on a practical level how do I envision the church?
- I believe the church’s style (including music) should reflect the tastes of the people God has called that church to reach, not the comfort zone of the insiders. “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some” (see all of 1 Cor. 9:19-23).
- I believe Jesus used the most modern, relevant Bible translation of his time—many of his Scripture quotes are clearly from the then-contemporary Septuagint translation of the Old Testament rather than the Hebrew.
- I believe the church should be known for what we’re for, rather than what we’re against.
- I believe that the church is supposed to be salt and light to the world—which is impossible unless we’re touching the world.
- I believe that Jesus called us to go and make disciples, not sit and make happy music.