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The Burger King Church

I think one can sum up one of the root problems of the modern Evangelical concept of the church with a single trip to Burger King. I’m envisioning the one off the turnpike on the way to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It’s a big one. It is made of big stones and has a nice, high, cathedral-like ceiling. If it’s your misfortune to eat there, after you pay your small fortune and sit down with your family at one of those little tables, take a minute and look around. It kind of reminds me of a modern American church.

Burger KingThink about it … There you all are, table after table, all fellowshipping and doing the same thing. There is a sense of unity. You seem all together—but are you? The truth is, of course, that the unity is an illusion. What we are seeing is an accidental association.

That’s right; the gathering is an accident. Everyone there is heading in different directions. That nicely-dressed man in the middle is heading to Pittsburgh on a business deal. That family sitting over there all plugged into their own personal iPods is heading to Chambersburg to see their grandmother. And that pitiable lady there in the corner, looking through old bags, is heading to Philly in a vain search of a new life.

There we all are together … but our meeting is an accident. There is no possibility that tomorrow all of us would be there again. We are all—individually—doing something there completely separate from each other. Our “fellowship” is merely an accident.

That is the modern American view of the church. Pentecost gave us more than that: a community of brothers, unified by the Spirit, inspired with a common purpose and persuasion. This was the church that turned the world upside down. And that’s no accident!

Be on purpose. Share your lives with your brethren and allow the Holy Spirit to manifest the Kingdom of God with meaning. ~Dean Taylor

Consider, now, you and your congregation. Does it resemble the intense and intentional fellowship that the Dohnavur Fellowship experienced? Or is it more akin to a Burger King Fellowship, where each one “has it his way”? Are meetings “accidental gatherings” of individuals each ultimately going his own way, or is it a gathering of people with a clear direction and purpose?

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