This entry is part 8 of 11 in the series: ‘If the church were Christian’ (Gulley)
- ‘If the church were Christian’ – intro
- ‘If the church were Christian’ – 1
- ‘If the church were Christian’ – 2
- ‘If the church were Christian’ – 3
- ‘If the church were Christian’ – 4
- ‘If the church were Christian’ – 5
- ‘If the church were Christian’ – 6
- ‘If the church were Christian’ – 7
- ‘If the church were Christian’ – 8
- ‘If the church were Christian’ – 9
- ‘If the church were Christian’ – 10
If the church were Christian, says Phillip Gulley, ‘meeting needs would be more important that maintaining institutions.’
Phillip Gulley has come across people within the church who, while ostensibly meetings the needs of others (for example, by running a food bank), are really putting their own needs first (the need for control, for appreciation, or whatever). We’ve probably come across such people ourselves.
We must wonder if many Christian organisations and entire denominations are primarily interested in self-preservation. One effect is that they become blind to their own failures and shortcomings.
If meeting real human needs become more important than self-service, churches would look very different. Their members would become more generous if they saw that their giving was doing good. People will be inspired once more if they feel that their church can make a real difference to their own lives and the lives of others.
Are we courageous enough to embrace the necessary change?
Are we willing to bring into leadership roles those with compassionate, serving hearts, who can work alongside those with business and management expertise?
Remember, Jesus appeared to give little thought to the institutional church. Time and again, meeting people’s need took centre stage in his ministry.
I’ve been following, roughly, Michael’s Kruger‘s thoughts in offering my responses to Phillip Gulley’s book. Michael Kruger doesn’t offer any comments on the present chapter, because he is fundamentally in agreement with its contents.
So am I. Indeed, this chapter is not simply inoffensive: it is a good reminder to us all about where our hearts should be and where our priorities should lay.
Still, I have to say that this chapter – like the entire book – contains nothing more than good advice. It contains no reflection on the teaching of the Christian scriptures (apart from one general reference to the Sermon on the Mount). It is shaped, not by the gospel, but by moralism. And that’s a tragedy, even when one agrees – is moved, even – by the advice given.
Gulley, Philip. If the Church Were Christian. HarperOne. Kindle Edition. Chapter 7.