A saying among management experts today is, “Your system is perfectly designed to yield the result you are getting.” This is a profound though painful truth that must be respected by all who have an interest in Christian formation, whether for themselves as individuals or for groups or institutions. —Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy pg. 58
This quote arrested my attention for I began to wonder what kind of believers is my church producing. (And all the churches I have had a leadership hand in) Not what are we saying or teaching; but what kind of believer is actually being produced because of my church’s organizational system. If it isn’t producing people who behave like Jesus, then there is something flawed in the system no matter where we got the system or how much we like the system. The bottom line is when people move through my church, do they act like Jesus?
Knowledge about Jesus and feelings for Jesus are not the same as behavior as Jesus.
I wonder about the church that produces virtually the same amount of adulterers, broken homes, alcoholics, substance abusers, child abusers, gossipers, business scandals and a plethora of other issues. You may read this and say that we are still dealing with sinful people—-even in the church. And of course I would agree with you. But why are the statistics inside the church the same as those outside the church?
Am I expecting perfection? Hardly. I am not the brightest guy in the world, but I am not that naive. What is wrong with the way we are producing Christ-followers that would allow for this? To throw up our hands and say sinners will be sinners even after they are “saved” is a cop out as far as I am concerned.
A song by The Killers just came on the radio as I write this that has a line or two in their song When You Were Young that gets to this point:
You sit there in your heartache
Waiting on some beautiful boy to
save you from your old ways
You play forgiveness
Watch it now … here he comes!
He doesn’t look a thing like Jesus
But he talks like a gentleman
Like you imagined when you were young
Today I go to visit a Christ-follower who is in jail. This is not a dumb man. This is a man who knows more about the Bible than I do. This one of the best men I have ever known. But he is having to spend time in jail. He is a deeply flawed man. I love him, but he is in trouble. How can this be? Where is the efficacy of the Gospel for my friend? Did it fail him or did he fail the Gospel?
I am solely responsible for my sin. But I wonder about a system that is suppose to be making me more like Jesus but instead made me more like Jimmy Swaggert. (Thank the Lord that is no longer true of me.)
There is either something flawed with the Gospel or there is something wrong with the way modern church is applying the Gospel.
Sometimes when I look at the kind of Christians that are walking around to day I want to say to the church the words of the great modern day theologian Michael Scott: “I hate so much about the things that you choose to be. Okay.”
Truth is I often whisper the same thing my mirror in the morning when I shave. But more than anything I wish I looked more like Jesus.
It is time for me to closely examine the Gospel I have been living and see if it is actually the Gospel of the Bible. Something inside me remembers that this is not the way we were designed to live. Paul says that when we committ to follow the Jesus of the Bible that we are …children of God, and if children, then heirs—- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. (Romans 8:16,17) We are royalty. Destined for a throne. But far too many of us are comfortable with and settled for a different kind of throne.