Friends in Christ,
Did you know that KFC no longer stands for anything? Recently, they decided to move away from the apparently cumbersome 'Kentucky Fried Chicken' and have the official name be 'KFC'. In a similar manner, the YMCA officially changed its name to just be the 'Y'. Companies across the country are selecting this option as a way of streamlining their brand name in hopes of attracting new customers. They're getting rid of what is difficult or inconvenient to make their brand more mainstream.
When we think about the church and its 'brand', what comes to mind? How does the world view us? Is it cumbersome and complicated? Or streamlined and sleek?
I think its tempting to water-down Christianity in the hopes of appealing to the masses. But what that produces is a church that may be wide but is rather shallow in its discipleship. Since the aim of the church is to help disciples grow, a process that takes hard work and deep commitment, we do seekers a disservice if we try to make the church more appealing by de-emphasizing the difficult call of Christ.
I believe the more faithful call is for each of us to ensure that we are daily dying to Christ, daily emptying ourselves, daily being filled with Christ. When we walk as disciples, humble about our shortcomings but committed to growth in Christ, we live a life that preaches the Gospel. We offer an example to the world of what discipleship looks like, and we're enabled to invite others into a walk with Christ that is honest and deep.
So may we each be committed to a life of discipleship, and in so doing may we look for opportunities to invite others into that walk. Maybe it looks like inviting someone to pray with you, or to church, or to a dinner at your house to talk about things of faith. May we keep our eyes open for windows the Spirit opens, and may we be growing in faith while we wait.