If you’ve led in a church setting for any length of time you know that people will eventually leave your church. People leave churches for all kinds of reasons. Some get new jobs and move away, some disagree with a leadership decision and leave, some don’t like a change in worship music style, some go to another church because that’s where their friends go, some fall into sin and walk away while others leave because it’s not deep enough for them anymore.
In my work consulting with churches and coaching church leaders this, “it’s not deep enough” phrase is becoming more common. And honestly it concerns me. Not because the majority of churches aren’t deep enough, but rather that a majority of people who are trying to follow Jesus misunderstand what spiritual depth really looks like. In fact I’ve already written a couple of posts about this that you can check out:
- “What does Spiritual Depth Look like?”
- “Who is Responsible for the Spiritual Maturity of the Church?”
I’ve heard a lot of Pastors get frustrated with this, “it’s not deep enough” phrase being flippantly thrown around. Now I get that it’s easy to take that statement a bit personally if you’re a Pastor. Yes, some of these people are consumers and need to “grow up” but some of them are genuinely interested in learning more about the Bible and what it teaches and simply don’t know how to express that without saying they’re leaving because your church isn’t deep enough. But people need to be led to greater clarity on what spiritual maturity looks like.
It might be that our content-centric model of church has taught people that content equals spiritual maturity. In other words, the way we are doing church may be contributing to the problem.
It’s not the first time in history that people got upset in a church because it wasn’t deep enough. People have been spouting this complaint since the moment the church started. The Apostle Paul actually addressed this same issue in a letter he wrote to the church at Galatia (it’s called the Book of Galatians). A group of people called Gnostics were telling these young Galatian gentile converts that their version of Christianity wasn’t “deep enough” and they needed to, in addition to the Gospel, observe Jewish law, in particular, they needed to be circumcised. Personally, I could see how that could be a bit of a deterrent to the spread of the Gospel and more people, especially guys, following Jesus.
There is nothing “deeper” than the Gospel. As Christians we’re invited to start with the Gospel and stay with the Gospel. Nothing needs to be added to the Gospel, it is complete in and to itself. There is no deeper teaching in the entire Bible or for that matter in all of history than the Gospel. Trying to add to the Gospel is what got the early Church in trouble and it’s one of the ways that Satan continues to attack the Church today.
So the next time you hear someone say that their church isn’t deep enough it might be worth asking them what they mean by “deep.” They may be trying to add to the Gospel without realizing it.
Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation