Five Signs You Are Becoming A Spiritual Wimp And Six Reasons The Church Is Producing Spiritual Wimps
Joseph Mattera has been in full-time ministry since 1980 and is currently the overseeing Bishop of Resurrection Church in New York.
Known as “a leader’s leader,” Joseph is also a virtuoso on the guitar. He has received formal education in Kingsborough Community College, Elohim Bible Institute, received ministerial training from The International Christian Center, and has received an honorary diploma from Zion Bible Institute. Joseph earned a Doctor of Divinity from the Christian Leadership Seminary, participated in BILD (Biblical Institute for Leadership Development), successfully completed a one-year certificate program with the Wilberforce Forum, and has earned a Doctor of Ministry from Bakke Graduate University, with a concentration in Biblical Worldview and Urban Ministry.Joseph and his wife Joyce founded Resurrection Church in 1984. A multi ethnic congregation of 40 nationalities, Resurrection Church has developed and sent out high-impact leadership and numerous non-profit corporations that have greatly impacted nations and the New York region, such as Children of the City (COC regularly ministers to more than 2,000 at-risk children with counseling, after school programs, tutoring, mentoring, and other holistic ministries) and The Ekklesia Leadership Institute (which held intensive monthly seminars and week-long summits with a focus of raising up the next generation of leadership with a Christian world and life view).Joseph also has hosted his own radio show “Light Your City” and a weekly cable television programs “The Ekklesia.” He is a regular contributor to Christian newspapers, and through the years has given numerous radio and television interviews and press conferences, including guest appearances on TBN. His first published book Ruling in the Gates was released in April 2003 and has already had international acclaim.
In recognition of his years of faithful service and significant influence, numerous local and national bishops and apostolic leaders consecrated Joseph to the Office of Bishop on April 29, 2006.
Joseph, his wife, Joyce and their five children live in Brooklyn, New York.
While church attendance is at an all-time high the moral standards of our culture are progressively getting worse. The following are signs an individual Christian or local church are spiritual wimps.
(A “wimp” is a person who lacks the commitment, integrity, or fortitude to live a life in line with biblical standards.)
I. You give up in the day of trouble (Proverbs 24:10)
There are many Christians who think that God excuses their sporadic commitment to Him because of personal pressure, problems, or stress. Scripture is very clear that if we shrink back in the day of adversity that God will have no pleasure with us (Hebrews 10:38). God puts a high value on people who draw closer to Him when they are in a time of testing. Like Jesus, when we are suffering we should pray even more fervently instead of moving away from Him (Luke 22:44; Hebrews 5:7). It is easy to move away from serving God when times get tough. It is only those who are serious about their faith and desire to get strong in the Lord that will continue to dear near to Him when times get tough.
II. You stay home from church because of bad weather
In 1978 when I first came to church it didn’t matter whether it rained or snowed; church attendance was usually always the same. Nowadays, I have noticed that when it rains church attendance goes down between 10% to 25%! Those who allow the weather to affect their commitment to hear the word of the Lord have trained themselves to live in response to the elements around them instead of carving out a life in which they proactively determine to live for God no matter what! (The “elements” can be the weather or any other circumstance that impinges upon convenience in our lives.)
Basically this means some are trying to live a life in which they obtain the ultimate pleasure of heaven without the pain of putting to death the flesh of their selfish desires. In summary, some make excuses for not being diligent in their faith (Proverbs 22:13) which amounts to them functioning as spiritual wimps.
III. You attempt to live a Christian life without a local church
Depending on what statistics you adhere to, some say there are between 25-40 million unchurched Christians in the United States! That is a huge number, even if it is off by a few million. Basically, those attempting to live out their Christian lives without being committed to a local church will soon become spiritual wimps since it is impossible to interpret the word, feed your soul, pray, and fulfill your purpose to the maximum degree without being committed to the corporate purpose of a local faith community. We need a community to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church. Also, we need to function in the context of a local church so our gifts can flow and we can have accountability integrated in our lives.
We strip ourselves of much spiritual ability and power when we disconnect from the church. Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church (Matthew 16:18-19)--but they will certainly prevail against an isolated, disconnected Christian.
IV. Your moral standards and political posture reflect the majority opinion of society rather than the Bible and historic Christianity
There are Christians I have met who approve of same-sex marriage, abortion, and even vote for political leaders with harmful unbiblical national policies--all because these are the majority opinion of those they live and work with! This they do without attempting to have an informed opinion based on an in-depth study on what the word of God says on these issues, or in spite of what the word of God says because they are spiritual wimps.
Any fool can go with the majority opinion of culture. Even during Hitler’s reign of terror only 5,000 confessing churches out of the 16,000 evangelical churches opposed his socialist, tyrannical political policies since it was much easier to go with the flow of society than fight and stand for biblical principles!
V. Financially, they give to God “the crumbs that fall off the table” from the monetary priorities in their lives
I have read statistics that show a majority of the body of Christ spends more on videos, entertainment, and sports than they give to missions and to the work of God in tithes and offerings. The Bible teaches that we will reap what we sow financially. This makes non-tithing Christians spiritual wimps when it comes to the financial harvest God wants to bestow upon them!
FOR LOCAL CHURCHES
I. The church is so politically connected it does not take a stand on moral issues like same-sex marriage or abortion
I am aware of some large churches that will never take a public stand on moral issues such as the legalization of same-sex marriage. This is in spite of traditional marriage (one man and one woman) being as fundamental to the health of a society as anything else outlined in Scripture! (For example, before there was a church or human government there was marriage between a man and a woman; read Genesis 2:24.)
While I can understand that we need to be very careful in regards to espousing a particular political candidate from the pulpit, this should not preclude us from taking a strong moral stand on salient issues fundamental to a healthy society such as marriage, abortion, and racism. I have found that pastors of small to mid-size churches are usually the ones who take the lead on socially controversial moral positions because they do not have as much to lose in regards to their church attendance. While there are some exceptions to this nationally (Rod Parsley and some others) this is the general rule in liberal cities and states.
I do not believe we should rant against social sins every week so we can win the unchurched sinners who are first-time visitors. But on occasion (like when there is a legislative crisis) leaders need to rally their congregations and model a prophetic voice to our nation. God requires this from all His servants at certain times in their lives.
II. The congregation is only fed “Bible-light” messages; there are no sermons that refer to holiness, hell, repentance, or bible doctrine
In order to appeal to the highest number of visitors, 20 minute “Bible-light” motivational messages are preached that never contain any reference to hell, eternal judgment, or sound doctrine necessary for a balanced Christian life. Some pastors who practice this approach make up for it by having a strong discipleship program or a mid-week service that preaches the full gospel to regular attendees THAT IS NOT MADE PUBLIC, while the Sunday gathering is meant more as an evangelistic event not meant to bring in-depth teaching.
There is a problem with this: when these Sunday messages are televised or are featured via web streaming, younger pastors who don’t know the full routine of that church will replicate their churches and ministries after these Sunday vignettes and never make up for it with deeper teachings or discipleship programs during the week. In essence, they may have a large growing church but it will be a church of spiritual babes that are never fed anything but the milk of the word, thus making them become spiritual wimps who can only handle positive self-help messages (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).
III. There are no regular prayer meetings
When I first came to Christ there was a common saying that only the true members of a church show up for the weekly prayer meetings. There is much truth to this. But in most evangelical churches this criteria cannot even be used because they don’t even have a single service devoted to prayer!
Another saying I have heard is: “The Sunday morning service shows how popular the preacher is; the Sunday night service how popular the guest minister is; the prayer meeting shows how popular God is!” A church in which God isn’t popular is going to be a church full of spiritual wimps who cannot hold their own and will forsake God the moment things don’t go their way in life!
IV. The youth ministry is basically a social club that does not develop committed Christians and leaders
In an effort to attract the young people of the church and community many youth groups are comprised merely of a “cool” young adult facilitating fellowships, games, and socializing. Unfortunately, when you get a room full of teenagers together in a church without strong biblical teaching and mentoring it will eventually collapse down to becoming a haven for sex, drugs, and worldly dating! I have even heard of a number of churches that have had to close down their youth groups because they actually perpetuated the very values the church was against!
If youth groups do not have a goal of producing leaders and disciples then they will only accommodate to the values of the world and produce carnal, wimpy Christians.
V. Their leaders and members function with the world’s standards regarding human sexuality, marriage, and divorce
When the evangelical church began to have an outbreak of divorce and sex scandals in the late 1980’s it was a sign that the cultural decline in our nation had already seeped into our churches. (Or is it really the other way around; the spiritual decline of our churches caused the cultural decline of our nation!) Church leadership then had a choice: either put their foot down and raise the standard of holiness in our churches or just cave in and accommodate. Unfortunately, many more leaders began to divorce their spouses for unbiblical reasons, while many have continued in ministry even though they have been involved in numerous adulterous relationships, never stepping down from ministry until fully repenting and being restored.
Churches that function like this are in danger of producing congregations of spiritual wimps that do not produce people of character with the internal fortitude and integrity necessary to responsibly raise a Christian family.
VI. The worship service is about entertaining the people instead of worshipping the Lord
While there are many incredible worship teams that have developed in the body of Christ over the past thirty years (which has brought great renewal and even revival in many denominational churches) there is probably a large percentage of Christian worship that has a goal of entertaining crowds and making money.
I spoke to one person recently in the gospel industry who told me that among the gospel industry there were those that solicited for sex and was told by one entertainer that he didn’t have to cruise in the world anymore (for sex)--he could just keep it within the Christian music industry! This person also told me that sometimes he didn’t even know if he really believed in God anymore after his experiences touring with a gospel group!
Whenever a church or worship team has as its primary goal to entertain people instead of worship they begin to minister to ego, pride, and the lust of the flesh in which a gospel singer becomes an idol with a following that can easily degenerate into hype and the works of the flesh as elucidated here. Gospel music entertainment produces spiritual wimps; gospel worship produces spiritual champions!
Dr. Joseph Mattera