God's Original Intent
In Genesis 12, God promised Abraham that he would father a nation that would bless and transform the world.
Two of the distinguishing characteristics of that nation were 1) functioning as a collaborative kingdom of priests under God’s direct leadership (Exodus 19), and 2) living in the awareness of his presence (Exodus 33).
Collaboration in God’s presence was key to this nation of Abraham’s descendents blessing other nations.
The Problem Is, We Have Gotten Distracted
The church-at-large has gotten off script. The Old Testament is filled with stories of Israel’s misadventures, the times they strayed from their identity as God’s set-apart people and their mission of being his ambassadors to surrounding nations.
Like Israel, Christians have tended toward imitating surrounding cultures instead of preserving our identity as a nation of priests.
We live in a consumer society, in a culture of big, loud, and fast brands where production and performance trump stillness and significance.
It is very tempting to make our faith fashionable and attempt to harness these elements of cultural influence to accomplish the work of God.
This way of thinking results in a “produced” Christianity where the few create events and resources for the many. More often than not, we multiply consumers rather than empower transformers.
This dynamic is most evident in communal worship, which, in most communities in the United States, has reached such a high production value that only a select few get to lead and contribute.
Worship should be the most accessible and transformative of all of the experiences we share as believers!
The world’s fastest growing religion is not Christianity or Islam but consumerism.
Yet, consumerism leads to a deep sense of dissatisfaction. Depression, anxiety, and stress are at an all-time high among Americans. No wonder an increasing number of believers and spiritual pathfinders feel disengaged from 'produced' Christianity!
Rock arenas may seat thousands of people, but they still can’t hold Christians who don’t fit cultural norms, believers who often feel like have been silenced or that the mainstream is pushing worship-as-transformation backstage.
Thank God That Changes Are Afoot
The good news is that more and more Christ followers want to move from entertainment toward encounter, from consumption toward engagement.
The idea of a collaborative—albeit, messy—priesthood where everyone has a chance to contribute is gaining traction, and this common priesthood is the key to the personal and societal transformation that we long for.