I listened to a sermon by Andy Stanley today while driving between patient visits. He shared a story about a church that he and his dad visited years ago that illustrated that most church leaders don’t get it. Before I write anymore, I want you to understand that the phrase “church leaders” refers to anyone in a church who has the authority or power to influence the decisions, direction, and policies of a local church.

In this message Stanley stated that most churches are more concerned for the membership than anything else. Many church leaders are more “us-focused” rather than being “them-focused.” That’s not only sad, it tragic! And it’s a direct insult to Jesus who instructed the Christ-followers to go into all the world leading people to become mature followers of Jesus (see Matthew 28:18-20).

I’ve been thinking about this for several years. That’s one reason I planted a church. I wanted to do more for Jesus than what I had been doing. I wanted to make the most of the time I had left. I wanted to lead as many people as I could to become mature followers of Jesus Christ. I was tired of the church games, politics, and roadblocks that hindered people from discovering hope, forgiveness, joy, peace, and love that included an admission ticket to heaven!

Since becoming a hospice chaplain I meet a lot of people who would never walk into to a church. It’s not that they are anti-Jesus; they’re just anti-church. I’ve listened to their stories. Shame on church people for failing to reach out to those who need Jesus. The gospel is for everyone … the church doors should be open to all … money, prestige, race, social standing, or anything else should not stand in the way of people needing Jesus.

Just as Peter, John, and the early disciples prayed for boldness and power, I am asking God for the same thing (see Acts 4:23-31). Time is running out for me, you, and those around us. I am longing and praying for an American spiritual awakening. Join me. Start where you are. Share your faith story. Let’s swim upstream. Bring people to Jesus. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t be afraid. It’s time for church to arise and do what Jesus commanded.