As a pastor I get a lot of junk mail, many pieces are conference fliers. I got to tell you, the theme of big box churches selling a panel of speakers seems endless. It appears inspiration, vision building, and revitalization are the factors I need to be a successful pastor.
Is the Church depleted of glory, lacking thought leaders? Marketing for these conferences leads me to wonder if what’s being sold is a modern church think tank. A place to pool interested parties together for the purpose of multiplying gain. What that gain is, is the million dollar question. Gain of money, souls, both?
I’ll tell you what I never see from these factory churches. I never see conference fliers promoting a panel of pastors who speak out against abortion, advocating Godly marriage, or even witnessing to an ever increasing anti-Christian culture. They’re out there. I know it because I’ve attended them from my own church body (LCMS).
The fantasy is that useless lie of being positive to accomplish the Church’s purpose. You know it well. “Why do we always have to fight as the Church?” “Why not be positive for a change.” “Let’s come together first, then we’ll figure out things as one.” Lies. All lies. I’d love for nothing else than we all collectively confess Christ in the unity and spirit that God himself delights in. But that’s not happening this side of eternity. This side of life has to deal with the 800 pound gorilla in the room. And he’s called “death.”
Glory idolers seek to find the good, and on the surface this appears admirable. In practice, however, it just doesn’t happen. The conferences and churches of glory are happy to let you die on the mountain tops. They seek a purpose, but it’s not Christ. They glory in their own cause and worse yet ordain it to their own ends. True glory seeks out the will of God. Only Jesus has sought the will of the Father and accomplished his purpose. Life for us who are perishing, even us who cling to the edge of glory, the facade of righteousness, is found where Christ is. He is found in glory, and we are found to be in awe.
Might the glory we seek be Christ’s glory. And, might the suffering we carry be turned to a blessing, as Jesus sees us through this life. That’s the cruciform life. A purpose worthy of any conference or church.