Imagine a wannabe basketball player standing 5’1″. He weighs in at a flabby 220 pounds. He can’t jump high enough to quickly slip a thin sheet of cardboard under his feet–which he trips over every two or three steps. Nine out of every ten shots are air balls. He can’t dribble more than three times without slapping the basketball out of bounds.
But wait a minute! Let’s dress him up in a new LeBron James jersey. Let’s get him a $200 pair of Nike basketball shoes. We’ll get him some of the coolest wrist bands, shave his head, have him get some mean tattoos and supply him with plenty of Gatorade. Then we’ll put him in the next NBA All-Star Game.
Now, he is sure to be the MVP! Right? After all, now is really stylin’ with some of the latest gear. Just look at him! Wow! There’s only one problem. He’s got no game.
In America, the professing Church has an abundance of fine buildings, state of the art computerized audio and video systems, in-house coffee shops, Christian book stores, a growing number of Bible translations and mistranslations, Christian radio and TV networks, plenty of conferences and seminars, highly talented worship teams, big high tech concerts, universities and seminaries, seeker friendly church plants, full schedules of programs that often wear out the participants, super-cool websites and crowd pleasing preachers.
There’s only one problem. For the most part, they’ve
got no game.
In the book, Radically Unchurched, author Alvin L. Reid writes:
“Imagine a group of believers so few in number they fit inside a small theater. They begin only with intent, passionately advancing into the world to preach Jesus to anyone who will listen. Their focus is not on their smallness but on God’s greatness. Amazingly, many respond to the group. But not all respond positively. Thousands are saved, but community leaders determine that this Christian influence causes more harm than good. So they attempt to shut down the movement before too much momentum is gained. But these believers are different. They are fearless in the face of threats. Despite threats, imprisonment and even the deaths of some of their leaders, the Christians continue to share the gospel, as if nothing mattered more to them than others hearing the Good News. At one point they are charged with “turning the world upside down.”
“…These believers had no New Testaments or gospels of John to hand out. They had no gospel tracts. They had no denominational organization or a missions sending agency of which to speak. They had no training institutions, no Christian radio, and no (thank God, perhaps) Christian television. They had no ornate buildings. They had no freedom to vote. In fact, many were slaves. These believers had none of the modern accoutrements of evangelizing. They had something far better. That something was a Someone—the Holy Spirit of God.”
In other words, they had game! They willingly, dynamically and sacrificially penetrated the darkness around them with the light of the gospel through the passion and power of the Holy Spirit.
Back in 1998 George Barna wrote the following in his book, The Second Coming of the Church:
“What we need is a true spiritual renewal—a transformation that goes well beyond mere evangelistic outreach. We desperately need a holistic revolution of mind, heart and spirit. Lacking such a turnabout, we may rightfully anticipate the virtual disappearance of the Christian Church in this nation….we must rekindle our passion for God, recapture a sense of urgency about ministry, and respond strategically to the challenges before us. If the Church does not quickly realign its heart, mind, and soul, and consequently redirect its efforts, we will lose our waning platform of influence in American society and people will consistently pursue the path of least moral resistance. Moral anarchy will reign: There will be no rules, laws, traditions, customs, or other parameters that will shape our culture consistently and favorably. It will be every man for himself, with no second thoughts or regrets about the personal or societal implications of this incredibly selfish, nihilistic, narcissistic way of life.
Fortunately, there is hope. If we take strong measures immediately, the people may still, by God’s grace, emerge to become the mighty church of Christ. In order for this to happen, however, we must respond strategically—and pray like we’ve never prayed before.”
Your church got game? If not, better find one or start one that does.
You got game? If not, better get on your face, repent, and become a true Holy Spirit-filled follower of Jesus Christ. Get out on the court and go hard for the win, before your part in this life. Then the game on earth is over.