Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Who do you imitate?

These days it seems like everyone is trying to be like someone else. Everyone is looking for a role model, a leader. When I was a kid my oldest brother got me into 'The Fresh Prince of Bel Air'. He had already watched it for a while before I first started watching it and I remember thinking, "Will Smith really reminds me of Chris." Of course it wasn't that Will Smith decided to model his character after my brother, but my brother, after watching the show a lot, started picking up some of the things that Will did and said in the show. We see this kind of thing often; people watch a show, listen to a singer, or hang around a particular person a lot and eventually they begin to act and talk similar to that person. In a previous post, Are You Afraid?, I discussed how some singers (Eminem specifically) have embraced this role of leader, and what our response, individually, needs to be.

As individuals it is a natural response to start acting and talking like the people we spend the most time with. This is why it is important for us to be careful who we are spending the most time with, or what music we are listening to. But this isn't the topic I want to address today. A lot of preachers talk about the problem with the church today, so let me take my turn at it. The problem with the church today is that rather than setting an example and allowing the world to model after us, the church is trying to model after the world. My cousin gives a nice discussion about this, directed towards artists, in her post Creative God = Creative People. But this is a truth for all Christians. All members of the church.

I was with a ministry team, traveling to different churches, when one couple invited us to lunch. This couple was attempting to start an inner city youth ministry and they asked our team for advice. To be honest, I was a bit shocked by the answers. Everything was based around; start with something attractive, a dance team, a place for games, etc. Then, after they start coming regularly, begin to ease in a little bit of the Bible. This idea is very popular amongst churches today. The thought behind it is that we need to be relevant, and to be relevant we need to offer what the world offers. In the end we find ourselves attempting to copy the world and most of the time we present a lower quality product, that appeals to only Christians, or we compromise our values and defeat ourselves.

Now I see nothing wrong with dance teams and games. I don't think it's wrong to do things in order to attract people. In fact we need to do those things. We need to be relevant. But we need to do it in such a way that we are modeling after Christ, not after the world. Paul said:

Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

Jesus said:

If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world. (John 15:19)

We are not of this world! But we often act as if we are. We act as if we are simply a 'cleaner' version of the world, but that is not what Jesus called us to be. He chose us out of the world so that we could imitate Him, and show the world who He is. If you have a desire to dance, draw, sing, write, etc. then I believe that God put that desire in you, and wants you to use it for His kingdom. But as the church we should be innovators and leaders, not followers or copiers. We should be stepping out, being led by the Spirit of God, to bring the best that anyone has to offer. And we need to do it with the uncompromised Truth of God's Word.


  1. Matthew,
    Great post. We will become like the people we spend time with. Which is why like you said we need to be careful who we spend our time with. You have some powerful statements!! Great job.

    Dan Black