I have written, or observed being written, over a dozen mission statements for evangelical churches and organizations. These efforts involve thought, prayer, debates, research, committees, drafts, and word-smithing. However, I’ve never heard or read of any evangelical Christian church or organization whose primary purpose was to produce men and women to be like God – men and women we’d call saints.
So, here’s the most important question you’ve never asked: “Does my church produce saints?”[featured-image single_newwindow=”false”]
I’m talking about real-life, battle-tested men and women who, you might say, are Jesus Christ in the flesh. Of course, Jesus is the Way. But, these folks show us the Way.
How it used to be
The ancient church designated certain people as saints whose lives exuded holiness, intimacy with God, perseverance, and Christ-likeness. They possessed a rare combination of traits which others saw but they themselves, for the most part, were unaware. They never for a moment thought of themselves as “saintly.” They simply, tenaciously, and intentionally lived in union with Christ, doing His will in all things.
Above all, this meant a deep humility indicative of the mind of Christ Who let go of the heavenly and became a servant in human form leading to death on a cross (Philippians 2.3-8). BTW…does that sound saintly?
How it is now
A great disservice has been done to the church by the Reformers and protestant-evangelicals since who reject even the idea of “saint.” Gone is a theology that includes the potential for “sainthood.” Missing is a Church that practically maps out a way for people to become holy, be like Jesus Christ, and live in union with the Trinity. Examples of truly God-like men and women have vanished from the so-called Christian landscape. If we saw one, we’d probably “pass by on the other side” or think him/her odd, uninformed, or mistaken.
They have been replaced by “experts,” professional authorities called scholars, exegetes, writers, theologians, and musicians who inform us with fresh insights and culturally-relevant information.
We settle for thinking someone is saintly or feeling saintly or looking saint-like. The real saint doesn’t exist in our tiny Christian world.
How it is needed
I need saints in my life. I’m tired of people telling me how to live as a Christian who don’t live as a Christian. I need men and women who are saints but don’t know they are. I need people to guide me who are empty of themselves and filled with the life of God. How about you?
I need a church that has as a primary purpose, to make a saint out of me. Stop coddling banal mediocracy and demand something of me that will challenge my spiritual being to be like God. The church has gone soft. Help me become a spiritual athlete, like a saint, fit for battling myself and the world.
How about you? Share your thoughts below.