More than one writer has written about the reality that the God we claim to serve today is too small in our minds compared to the God of the Bible. That limited understanding of God becomes evident in our churches, too. Here are some markers of congregations for whom God has become too small:
- If the church is honest, they’re really not expecting lives to be changed through their ministry. The speak a message of life transformation, but they haven’t seen life change in so long that they’ve lost any such expectation.
- If God does anything miraculous in their midst, they’d be shocked. Again, they talk about the God of miracles, but they wouldn’t know what to do if God healed someone supernaturally or dramatically answered a prayer.
- They turn to prayer as a last resort. They fix first and pray second . . . or third or fourth. Prayer is not the expression of a relationship with the God of eternity; it’s a tool to use only when we can’t figure out solutions on our own. God is then reduced to a snack dispenser who automatically responds when we insert a quarter.
- They are not broken over sin. Sin is a disruption in our relationship with the holy God who adores us. When we view God as something less than holy — smaller than He is — we treat sin as if it doesn’t matter much.
- Members have given up hope over their non-believing loved ones. They don’t want to quit hoping, but they’ve prayed a long time with no results. It’s as if God simply isn’t listening to them. Now they’ve given up, almost convinced that even God can’t change their loved ones.
- They continually find something wrong with other churches that are growing. “They’re too big.” “They’re compromising.” “They reach only the rich people.” When church members constantly beat up other congregations that are seemingly doing better than theirs, here’s what they’re saying: “It’s easier to just judge others than it is to believe God can grow our church.”
- Whether they admit it or not, they're prejudiced. They may express their disdain for others only in back rooms, but some believers remain sinfully bigoted toward others. When they do that, they’re reducing God to a God who seemingly loves only people most like them. That’s making God WAY too small.
- They have no fear of God. Even believers will answer to God for the way we live (2 Cor. 5:10, Rom. 14:10-12). Church members who live like the world with no fear of standing before God diminish Him to only some false understanding of a beneficent being who cares little about sin.
How big is your church’s God? How big is your God?