Church Groupies

“Come, follow me, Jesus said, and I will make you fishers of men. At once they left their nets and followed him” (Matthew 4:19, NIV).

It’s always amazed me that within a short period of time many of the same group of people who exclaimed, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” were soon shouting, “Crucify Him!” Aligning oneself publicly with Jesus seems like a good idea while it is politically and religiously correct to do so (and when there is no personal expectations placed on us). Today, as it was then, when it’s time to act, or the political and religious winds begin to blow in a different direction, or the pressure and persecution of being an unashamed follower of Jesus begins to manifest, too many seem to change the tune of their song.

Believers, just like Peter and Andrew in Matthew 4, are called to be disciples (self-disciplined learners and followers of Jesus Christ). Being a disciple of Jesus Christ means that we are to be like the master in values, character, priorities, ministry, devotion, and dedication (but obviously not the master). There is a world of difference between a curious observer of Jesus during his ministry or one of the throng excited about this new message and direction in the land and the true disciple. There is a world of difference between the nominal American church member and attendee and the true disciple (and many today can’t even find their way to church once a month). True disciples understand they are now dead and that their lives are now hidden in Christ. Many of us start out living as though we were dead (so that Jesus can live through us to do God’s will) but then we quickly resurrect the flesh when we don’t want to do something.

Without a true and working Bible concept of discipleship in our land, we have begun to produce more fickle followers than disciples. The word “fickle” means likely to change due to a lack of resolution, commitment, and instability. The fickle person is not constant or loyal in commitment or affection. The origins of this word indicate that it refers to treachery or deception. Perhaps the greatest treachery of all is the self-deception that many fickle followers of Jesus have today – the deception that they are really disciples.

Many Christians today are more like religious or church groupies that hang around the church and watch others perform until there is something more interesting to do. Groupies (like at a rock concert) gather, party, have fun, and get high. They like the excitement of something happening. They watch the show. They may even cheer, but at the end of the day the groupie really adds no value to the production. They don’t set things up (or tear them down).  They don’t advertise the concert. They don’t rehearse. They don’t usher rock fans into their seats. They don’t serve at the product tables. They don’t play in the band or run the lights and sound. Groupies just hang out to watch the show and try to score a back stage pass and an audience with the performers.

I guess I thought serving Jesus meant leaving that groupie lifestyle behind forever. Is it possible that something is greatly lacking in the spiritual formation of many believers in this country? Given the sacrifice of Jesus and the standard for true discipleship, let’s ask the Lord to show us if any of that old groupie mentality remains in our hearts and minds. There has never been a time in the history of the Church that we need believers to stop acting like church groupies and start acting like roadies for Jesus. Besides, have you ever noticed that when the tour bus pulls out the roadies are on board but the groupies are left behind?