By MINISTER KEITH EVANS
The Church today is growing rapidly throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Nowadays, we have churches on every corner of society. This is good! I'm all for growth, once God is the reason and not greed - greed for power and money, that is.
The principal of the Church should be the doctrinal teachings of Jesus, and not our subjective and biased denominational dogmas. I believe that we have lost our prominence as the Body of Christ and as ambassadors of Jesus to the world. Boy, they laughing at us. Church, I hear you, but can't see you!
We are good on preaching about the necessity of paying tithes, but fall short when it comes to caring for the destitute and homeless. James 2:15-16 says: "If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food. And one of you say to them, depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what do it profit?"
People are literally sitting in their homes, broken, hurting, and with no food in the cupboards, and we begging for more money for a building project. We know how to have church, but fail to put on display the Church. Please, don't get me wrong, as a disclaimer, I believe in giving to the Lord more than just the 10 percent of our earnings.
So many churches are up and running, and all I see are broken people walking around with nothing. Where are the halfway homes to house the homeless? Where are the food pantries to feed little Johnny? Where are the recreational centres to take these kids off the streets after school? Where are the prison ministries to reach former inmates, leading them to becoming productive citizens?
We have the gumption to preach on monetary exchanges, but don't use the money to uplift the needy. Yes, the tithes are to take care of God's house, but not for the pastors to live opulent lifestyles. What about the gentrification of ghetto areas near some of these churches? To suggest that we utilise God's money to do true ministry seems like a taboo to some. Listen closely and you'll hear the Church, but I need to see the Church. All of these young men going to jail and being killed! Our young women dropping out of schools because of pregnancy, and we playing Church.
So desensitised to what the Holy Spirit is saying to us are we that it is becoming the norm for the vast majority of churches. Everybody wants to grab a mic and preach, but don't want to be under spiritual authority in order to grow. We take ministry for a stardom platform, or to accomplish our dreams of making it big. We're comfortable passing the "jonsers" on the streets as we go to preach, sing, dance, scream and have church. Suicides, murders, rapes, and other social issues plaguing our nation, and all we can think about is what the Bishop is wearing, or who has the biggest church building.
There should be a sense of nostalgia in the Church for returning to the early form of the first century Church in Acts (4:32): "And the multitude of them that believes were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things in common."
Uniformity and unity was the essence of the Church back then, that was apparent for all to see. There must be a revival of love among the saints. We have been praying for revival after revival, but not for a return of love among the believers. I can hear Jesus shouting to the majority of us: "Verily I say to you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me."
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