“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25 NIV
A recent op-ed in USA Today noted the fact that many of the rich and powerful who profess to be Christians do not attend church. A five year study of 100 politicians, wealthy businessmen, entertainers and athletes all known for their great faith found that 60% are not active in their church. They all have good excuses that are not too different from your friends and neighbors who rarely show up at church but are full of religious opinions.
These athletes and superstars will come to your church for between $10,000 and $40,000 plus expenses. They will give their testimonies and inspire you with their larger than life faith. I wonder if Jesus would have been impressed by such celebrity?
I find it curious that Reagan and G.W. Bush would profess deep faith yet not be part of a worshipping community. Clinton and Carter made time for church. Putting politics aside for a moment, wouldn’t we expect a person who professes faith to go to church somewhere?
I have known several people who profess deep faith but refuse to become part of a church family. They drift along some of the megachurches or just stay home and criticize the church. For many of them the issue is pride. They want to be Christians on their own terms and will not be held accountable.
If some of these lone ranger believers were to commit to a local church family both the celebrity and the local congregation would be blessed. The biblical model for Christianity is the local congregation as idealized in Acts 2 and in the less exemplary Corinthian church. The church is not perfect but it is blessed by God.
Ministries who chase after celebrities and CEOs for membership on boards and as speakers at fundraising events ought to heed the warning in James 2 about paying undue attention to the wealthy.