The Greatest Threat to Western Christianity

by Patrick Johnson  |  March 1, 2019

>>>Be sure and watch this month's video clip below from Patrick Johnson on this blog topic.<<<

I’ve been reading a book by Australian pastor Mark Sayers, and this question is asked: What's the greatest threat to Christianity in the West today? Mark’s answer to the question is surprising. Instead of “institutionalization,” which is a common lament in church growth circles, he says the greatest threat is “individualism.” And I think he’s spot on. 

I believe that we are actually living in a post-institutional culture.

"People are running away from church institutions, because they no longer believe institutions can 'save' them. Instead, they're looking to themselves." [Tweet This

If we look at the official definition of self-actualization, it says, “the realization or fulfillment of one's talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone.”

Life has become self-actualized in the United States and in the West.

A Problem with Self-Actualization

Here’s the problem, though. We simply cannot save ourselves. As Christians, we believe that Jesus is the only source of life—and his church is to be a faithful steward of that truth.

But our cultural affluence feeds this self-actualized mindset, promising that we can become the people that we want to be—apart from God. And we've got a marketing industry that promotes our “need to be true to ourselves” with trillions of dollars.

A “Jesus Kind” of Generosity

One of the ways we can counter this individualism is through sacrificial, biblical whole-life generosity.

"The God-led, whole-life generosity that Jesus modeled is able to break the hold that individualism has within us." [Tweet This] 

The other day and I was thinking about the givers in my life who are the most like Jesus. And the common denominator these business people, pastors, housewives and prayer warriors had was that they decided to cap their lifestyle at a certain level and give away everything else above that. So, as God prospers them, they just keep giving and giving and giving. As a result, the hold of individualism in them was broken, and they became dedicated servants for Jesus and his kingdom. That’s a root decision that generous givers make.

Breaking the Generosity Barrier

Recently I was meeting with a leader from Heartland Community Church here in Kansas City, and it was so cool to see how they are beginning to understand this idea. They’re starting to realize that it’s not a tactic or some tool that will break through this generosity barrier. It really comes down to asking the right questions:

  • How do we create a culture?
  • How do we add prayer to this goal?
  • How do we add relationships?
  • How do we add messaging?
  • How do we add resources?  
  • How do we add catalysts in the lives of individuals to help them follow Jesus into a deeper level of sacrifice—apart from self-actualization?

That's the kind of work we need to do to create cultures of generosity in our churches today.

So where do you start? Let me encourage you to download Generosity Reset, our free e-book. It tells stories of churches who are really trying to break through this self-actualized culture to grow generous disciples of Jesus. It’s on our website, so download it today, read it and start your journey into true biblical generosity.

[Tweet This Article]

Watch This Month's Clip 

In this clip, Patrick Johnson talks his recent reading and study on the greatest threat to western Christianity and the solution for it.

Please watch and share in your network! 

Recommended Resource

From an act of living to a way of living, there are 9 resets to grow a generous church. Do you know what they are?

Download your free copy of the eBook, Generosity Reset 

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