The church has become one of three things today:
1. Bunker: This condition results from an extreme defensive posture. The bunker church typically will see the world as being against them (Jesus said the world hates HIM! John 7:7). This is a self-serving mentality that puts the organization ahead of Jesus Christ.
2. Prison: This condition results from overbearing hierarchy. Ill conceived doctrine contributes greatly to this. The members in this group often feel coerced and trapped. Traditions set forth by time, man, and ambition characterize the prison church. (see Matthew 23:1-36)
3. Exclusive Club: This condition results from haughtiness and pride. The leadership will foster an attitude of elitism that stresses the importance of the membership rolls over what Jesus expects (see Matthew 25:31-46)
The result is that the church has become static on one end of the spectrum and elitist on the other end. Usually, an organization calling itself a church will fall somewhere in between.
The challenge for church leaders (so-called) is to move out of the bunker or prison or club. This is nearly impossible to do. Though most church organizations have thriving outreach and mission programs, they will still exhibit these traits.
Most people will identify a church with physical and financial holdings. A church is thought to be healthy and growing when a new building program needs to be undertaken or debt elimination campaigns are designed. Membership-roll growth is used as a measure occasionally, but more often only to justify new buildings, campaigns, or staff salaries.
The Church, that is, the Body of Christ, is not a man-made organization. It is built by Jesus Christ upon the foundation of Jesus Christ being the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:16-18). The Church has as its building material specially chosen living stones – the elect (1 Peter 2:4-6). He adds to it supernaturally, using those very stones, to preach His gospel (Acts 2:47; Romans 10:14-15).
“Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Ephesians 3:21