Though it gives me no joy to say it (in fact, I say it with grief rather than condemnation in my heart), the church is a business. A business has revenues, expenses, a product or service, and management. Most of all, it has customers and without customers there is no business. If a business does not have enough customers, it eventually goes out of business. All this is true of churches because they are businesses. Some people will say that churches do not seek to make a profit and in this way they are different from other businesses. In a technical sense, I agree with this distinction – but it is not much of a difference. The point is that the church operates in all its fundamental workings like any human business – which is completely inconsistent with its claim to be a divine institution.
If the church were governed by God, it would not be dependent on customers (or members, or parishioners, or whatever). Rather, it would be dependent only on God. When God brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, He provided them manna in the desert, water from a rock, and even meat from the sky when they had to have that. How would it have looked had they been forced to have bake sales or start businesses or sell CD’s of Moses sermons or Miriam’s worship songs? When God creates an institution, He provides for it.
Therefore, forsake the man-made imitation of the kingdom of God, which is the church, and pursue the real thing, which is the kingdom itself. The kingdom of God is the kingship of the resurrected Jesus in your heart. It works through your faith in His invisible omnipresence and His Holy Spirit in your conscience helping you always to know the right and loving thing to do – one day and one act at a time. It inspires husbands to wholeheartedly love their wives, workers to serve their employers, the rich to serve the poor, neighbors to love each other, and so on. It does not inspire separate assemblies of people who say they’re going to do these things. It simply inspires those people to do them wherever they are.
The kingdom of God is the pursuit of righteous living in God’s sight – and the peace and joy that come from Him as rewards for those who are living righteously. Stop acting like church is a legitimate substitute for serving the kingdom of God. Let us live now for the King Himself!