It is entirely possible for any aspect of Christianity to take on a life of its own with no connection with Jesus Christ: mission, evangelism, worship, giving, serving, prayer, contemplation, bible study, pastoring, leadership, discipleship, etc.
Let me extend that thought specifically to those who lead churches and therefore think about the development of its life and shape:
Someone sent me some follow on questions from the Zoom meeting with New Zealand leaders. One of them was a question as to what I was reading at the moment. Well, reading is a problem for me for two reasons. I had to get rid of my books, several hundred of them, because of my lung disease and cant really afford to replace them or buy new ones! That is not a veiled appeal for you to buy me a book, as the second reason I don’t read as much now as once I did, is that ever since I started on steroids 7 years ago, one of the weird effects is that my mind is not still enough to read! I want to rush on to the next sentence and page at great speed, the same way as steroids made me want to drive incredibly fast when I first went on them: the GP wisely took my keys away! However, I do manage to read a bit. Today I read this in H. Nouwen. If you are a leader, if church matters to you, then maybe you could do with thinking about his words:
“There was a time when I got so immersed in problems of church and society that my whole life had become a sort of drawn out wearisome discussion. Jesus had been pushed into the background or had himself become just another problem. Fortunately it hasn’t stayed that way. Jesus has stepped out in front again, so to speak, and asked me, ‘And who do you say I am?’It has become clearer to me than ever that my personal relationship with Jesus is the heart of my existence. It is about Jesus, above all, that I want to write to you, and I want to do so in a personal way.”
Your opening sentences are applicable to all of us, all the time.
I am noticing everyone posting lots of encouraging things online, which is lovely. But I also want to hear that still small voice rather than try to fill up my days rushing after the latest word from wherever.
I especially do not want to hear all the latest from ‘prophets’ whose input appears totally wrong; it is tickling ears rather than bringing rebuke, a call to repentance etc. The latter is the mark if true prophetic words now and throughout Bible history.
But on a cheerier note, here is a link to free to download Christian eBooks including some by Watchman Nee; even if you have all you need from those listed as available, others might find some that call to them: