Woefully short! As in lacking real stamina and relevance. That is the experience of scores of people who somehow experience the culturally abbreviated definition of Christianity via institutional church insanity. No wonder the church is in serious decline in the western world. Read Acts 2 and particularly Acts 2:42ff and it becomes clear that Christianity is a word that struggles to clearly depict the work of God in Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit that has always at its best been a sweeping and transforming movement.
News flash, people are rarely excited by institutional anything! However, movements excite people because they celebrate an engaging cause and provide a significant identity to those who are a part of something transformational. The longer I pastor the more I realize just how people yearn for the so much more part of Christianity. If we could only again empower and brand the local church as the place to help deliver the goods that combined with our own personal spiritual disciplines make life meaningful and our influence transformational.
Salvation by faith in Christ through grace (Ephesians 2:8) is indeed much, but the Bible indicates it is only the beginning of much. In fact, Jesus taught and the Bible confirms that there is so much more to the journey in Christ than just salvation. John Wesley masterfully taught the systematics of grace as prevenient (that which comes before salvation, justifying (that which moves us from life to death as we experience and embrace the atonement of Christ for us), and finally, sanctifying (the progressive work of God in our life that works a work of transformational holiness as we are constantly being shaped into the image of Christ.
It’s the so much more part. It’s what we are hungry for in the depth of our soul. It is the love of God reciprocated in and through us as Jesus lives out His life in and through us. It is a brand of Christianity that remains the most powerful force on earth; it is what we seek. Thanks be to God; God is always more willing to deliver than we are to seek! Let’s get passionate about the so much more part!