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October 17, 2008 / beidson

Pastorpreneurs and the Church Game

The fact that there is a market for a video game that allows you to build your own church means we might have a problem.  Not that there is such a video game; we should expect such a thing in our age of virtual realities.  The problem is that “building a church” has translated into business strategies and marketing tools in our time, to the point that a company would even think to create a video game in which you can build your own church, just the way you want it.

Far from being the stuff of video games, the Church is the property of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it is he who builds it.  He bought it with his own blood and he builds it by the power of his Spirit through the fellowship and suffering of the saints, who are transformed by the gospel.  There is no way to capture the Spirit’s transforming work in a micro chip, nor display the glory of God on a big screen television.  The Church is not a business; it is an organism made by the hand of God, with the blood of Christ coursing through its veins.

But when there is a such thing as a “pastorpreneur,” a pastor who builds a church like an entrepreneur would a business, we’ve got to ask the question, “Has church become a game?”  Not that big churches are always bad, anymore than little churches are necessarily always good.  But churches that grow with an entrepreneurial spirit, rather than by the Holy Spirit, are essentially turning a cosmic spiritual reality into a thing that can be domesticated and managed practically.  Rather than unveiling the mystery of the gospel found in the person of Christ, these churches display the pragmatism of contemporary wisdom, so much so that they are considered an excellent model for a video game.

What’s next?  Build your own believer?  Or build your own god?  Sounds to me as if we have already crossed this bridge.  After all, there are already those who pretend to build the Church, both in a video game, as well as behind the pulpit on Sunday mornings.


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