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The Walking Dead Church

Do you ever feel like on Sunday morning everyone's attitude about being in church is more like being in a scene from a zombie movie or show than one of excitement?

We try to dismiss it away often times: "Oh it's the change of seasons."  "It's a holiday weekend."  "There was a big game last night."  "Oh its summer."  We excuse it all away, when we I believe we are missing how the Lord truly desires for us to live out our faith.

We need to ask the question first : What is the cause of this type of attitude in churches?

Now I am not a zombie expert and thankfully will never be nor will I ever claim to be.  The times that I have ever seen a representation of a zombie (and I have not seen many) on TV or a movie usually comes from a virus being spread either preceding or post death.  The virus causes the zombies to lose all mental and emotional faculties and focus just on their lust for blood or for others to be zombies (sorry if that was weird).

How does this play out in churches today?

I have noticed that with the hovering of parents, it is very easy to see in students today a zombification (made up word) of their walk with Christ.  This is because (1) they are not owning their faith and (2) they are seeing their parents fall prey to zombification as well.  It's a virus that is spread either pre-salvation or post salvation that truly does affect their engagement in their journey of faith.

If we are not careful then with a generation we will have in the church a congregation filled of zombies.

What are signs of a walking dead church?

1. There is no excitement for what God is doing.  They are not looking for life and they are very happy just moping around the church halls looking for another zombie they can infect.  There is no anticipation, no prayer, no expectation, and no invitation for others to come.

2. Their virus leads to death not life.  The virus they are hoping to spread is to look at the institution of the church and not the body of Christ.  Their desire is to not see God move in people's lives, but rather to stay focused on their traditions.  Any opportunity for transformation is not welcomed because it invades their perception of what the Christian walk is about.

3. Engagement in church is about convenience not sacrifice.  I heard our pastor say in a recent sermon that a "good" church member used to come three times a week.  Now we have redefined that to be three times a month.  This comes from people doing that which is convenient over that which is sacrificial and obedient.

So how do you overcome a walking dead church?

Well you don't do like they do in the movies and walk around with a shotgun killing everything that stands in the way.  Here are some great ways that you can start to see the walking dead to become the living.

1. Prayer.  God can do more to a heart through the work of His Holy Spirit than we ever can,.  But we must intercede for hearts to be changed, which includes our hearts as well.  Pray for transformation.  Pray for lives to experience the gospel and see its transforming power that can occur.

2. Remember you died to self, but you are alive in Christ.  Paul said in Galatians 2: 19-20, "For through the law I have died to the law, so that I might LIVE for God, I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The live I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
Before Christ you were invaded by the virus of sin and you truly were walking dead, but because of Jesus Christ, you died to that way of living and you have been made alive.   It's time for our churches to live like it.

3. Move beyond checklists and towards engagement.  One of the aspects of our churches vision measures is not for people to just attend weekly worship and groups, but to engage in them.  Engagement doesn't mean that I sit and sulk, it doesn't mean that I check a box showing I was there.  Engagement means that I am learning, serving, and applying what I hear to my life to grow more like Christ.  If you are the walking dead you aren't going to grow, but if you are alive in Christ, you are expected to grow more like Him.

I believe this trend of the zombification can be reversed in our culture, if we move beyond seeking to have a life in Christ that is based on my desires, but instead it truly begins to seek transformation and engagement in His Word and in prayer daily.


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