"Crisis Christians" is a term I occasionally use in my writing and speaking. What does it mean?
"Crisis Christians" are people for whom a daily vibrant growing relationship with Christ is a hindrance to the lives they prefer to live. They like knowing that Christ is "there" when needed, but the only time they want to need Him is when life throws a serious curve ball their way, and there seems to be no other solution but to turn to Him.
So, Crisis Christians find Jesus to be an option or another add-on to the bundle we call life. He's a rider on their insurance policy, usually added after the diagnosis or disaster strikes.
Not only do Crisis Christians not have a life-changing walk with Christ, they also have a take-it-or- leave it attitude toward His body, the church. Mostly leave it. Take it would require commitment interpersonal relationships, including deep friendships with people who might actually take their Christianity seriously. Christmas and Easter for sure. After that it's kind church attendance is occasional at best. (And then they wonder why no one seems to recognize them?)
And Crisis Christians don't want to hang with those kinds because deep down they know it would require picking up a cross. And that's just too much for their busy lives. Life's complicated enough without getting overboard-serious about following Jesus.
A number of paradoxes come from practicing Crisis Christianity.
1. Because they typically haven't learned the grace of generosity they don't give, whether it be time or finances. They're too busy or can't afford it. Yet they always seem to be one step ahead of bankruptcy. And when the bottom falls out they hope the church has some funds available to bail them out.
2. It works...for them. Or so they think. They meet with the preacher or the deacons, and with tears and true feelings of hopelessness, not knowing where else to turn, plead their case. The church comes through, praying for their crisis and maybe even offering to bail them out with counseling or a monetary stop-gap. Once again their heads are above water and they can breathe. And with that sense of dodging whatever bullet it was, they go back to neglecting the relationships with Christ and His servants.
3. Although they are consumers and not contributors, (and typically they are going to find themselves in a new crisis sooner than later) and once again the Lord and His family will make an attempt to pull them from the ditch, eventually they will find some reason to be critical of the hand that feeds them. That includes God - "I'm angry at God for letting this happen to me". And it includes the church- the small group that bent over backwards to serve them - the counselors who gave them sound advice, including corrective steps - the givers who took money from their own wallets. Sometime down the road they'll accuse the church of being uncaring; of not being there for them.
And that's really what Crisis Christianity is all about. It views Jesus and His body as being there "for them". Never is it seen the other way around. So really, Crisis Christians are not practicing legitimate Christianity but a shallow imitation. And after 30+ years in ministry I've almost come to the place where I can see it coming - the signs are easy to spot.
But there is another way. And I've also seen it lived out in the lives of normal men, women, and even children, who when crisis comes are not only prepared, but willing to share what their crisis taught them with the rest of us.
My next post will go there. In fact, I think there will be two more parts to this thing. So before you jump on my case, let me finish!