I just started a book someone gave me called “Not a Fan,” and I’m finding a lot of the things in the early part of this book to be true. One of the best things I like is his difficult question in the first chapter, “Are you a Fan or a Follower of Jesus?” He believes that many people in the churches are just fans. The most basic definition of a fan is “an enthusiastic admirer.” Here’s what the author, Kyle Idleman says,
“Jesus was never interested in having fans. When he defines what kind of relationship he wants ‘Enthusiastic Admirer’ isn’t an option. My concern is that many of our churches in America have gone from being sanctuaries to becoming stadiums. And every week all the fans come to the stadium where they cheer for Jesus but have no interest in truly following him. The biggest threat to the church today is fans who call themselves Christians but aren’t actually interested in following Christ. They want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits, but not so close that it requires anything from them.”
Wow! Are those words true or not? What do you think?
Beyond just creating fans, I think the local church has also created another person in the pew that is just as deadly for the church: the consumer. This is the person who just comes and expects the church to do everything for them. The person who says, “I didn’t get anything out of church today.” The person who doesn’t open their Bible except for that hour on Sunday morning. The person who complains about the music or the sermon. That same person who says the church needs to do this or have this particular program but not want to help at all. The person who says “Feed Me” but doesn’t drop anything in the offering plate.
Can you see any of those things in your life? I hope not. At theCross I’m excited to say that people are excited about the mission and vision of bringing Jesus to East Lake County. I’m excited to work with a bunch of people who I don’t consider to be fans or consumers, but followers. This is what Jesus wants of us. To have a relationship with Him and follow Him in all things. Fans and Consumers will stick around when things are good but the second they go south, they’ll bolt. Followers of Jesus will stick around, through the good and the bad. Thank you church for following Jesus. Let’s continue to do it together.
And if any of those words struck a nerve in you, or perhaps convicted you of something that you are experiencing, may you feel at peace knowing that God is happy to welcome you back to become one of his followers. His grace is for you! I love being your pastor!