Neverland

Is it time for us to just grow up and  leave mediocrity behind. Read how this article helps us to do just that.

I have built a world so wonderful, A place where there is only one rule.

Picture piety, plenty and party, we enjoy a life of immortality. 

Carry your burdens away, you labourer! 

my business is that of leisure and pleasure, for-go your line upon line and measure

I am a child of eternal youth, I am one forged in a land call Never.

Scriptures: Malachi 1:8, Acts 17:11, Luke 2:49, Romans 8:19, Matthew 6:33

The Lord has been crying out for men and women who would just grow up and  leave mediocrity behind. We have seen over centuries and in our generation the need for maturity. The pew and pulpit are filled with minds who are disengaged, void of understanding and lack basic knowledge of the scripture. I’ve seen another idea replacing reality. People who desire autocracy rather than theocracy and religious ideals rather than impacting their locality. Over many generations we have lost the notion of taking responsibility, even the preaching we rely on has depreciated. What is the problem with us? Is it lack of soberness? i.e. entertainment overload. I think the problem lies with us perpetually living in an atmosphere cultivated for infants. 

I’ve heard someone say that at best our religious institutions are nurseries and I agree. Especially when we see the quality of the output of believer “...Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? It’s scary how we are so passive and disinterested when it comes to the King. The output of most of us is equivalent to an infant trying to break the 100 metres world record, it simply can't be done, as though the child has the potential they do not have the capacity at that age. The same can be said with many of us who have the full potential, but instead the system that is set up causes us to remain an infant for the majority of our lives. 

The atmosphere in our churches is a one-way traffic affair. It doesn’t cultivate a habit for taking responsibility for our own learning, instead it causes us to stay immature. I use to blame the pastors for the immaturity of their “flock” until I realised that this culture has been created by the learning system in place in many of our churches. Our pastors demand us to grow up and take responsibility, but subliminally we are told to read their commentaries, buy their books and devote ourselves to their teaching i.e. listen to “ME” because you can’t really understand it yourselves. 

The atmosphere of our churches and the culture it creates reminds me of a place called Neverland. Now, Neverland (also spelled Never Land or expanded as Never Never Land) featured in the works of J. M. Barrie. It is the dwelling place of Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys, and others. Although not all people in Neverland cease to age, its best known resident  Peter Pan famously refused to grow up, and it is often used as a metaphor for eternal childhood (and childishness), immortality, and escapism. 

The reason I say that the system of our churches reminds me of Neverland is because we are still able to grow up but it depends solely on our determination to do so, but sadly the majority don’t. Why is this? Simply put the atmosphere [system] by default is conducive to aiding immaturity. Majority of leaders themselves refuse to grow up and in turn create an atmosphere that encourages lack of growth by putting hardly any responsibility on their “flock”. 

Definition of Responsibility: 

1. The state or fact of having a duty to deal with something. 

2.The state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something

We are like the Lost Boys 'children who fall out of their prams when the nurse is not looking' the followers of Peter Pan. It’s amazing how the negligence of our leaders who don’t have a great scope of the scriptures, insist on leading us into a system call Neverland. A place where we can not really come to maturity because our idea of maturity is one of being “A patriot on the Jolly Roger” who hound Peter Pan and the Lost Boys at every turn. Many of us only have a vague idea of what maturity looks like, in the context of the kingdom. But we know what it looks like in the church context i.e. being a Pastor [preaching and selling CDs], Prophet [telling the future], worship leader [Entertaining people] etc. These all stems from having a Neverland mentality, which is a cross between reality and fantasy. Truth be told, many of us  embrace this system to get the same outcome as our predecessors, keeping people immature, keeps them under our control. A good system will demand of us greater accountability which will produce the desired result. But sad to say many of us have been in a system for years that only requires attendance, listening to the preacher and paying tithe. We sometimes hope the message preached will carry us through the week, meaning that our output would be minimal, little or no self-study is done to master the message or examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.[Acts 17:11].

I have been intrigued by Neverland for many years because of the characters, such as Peter pan and Captain James Hook who are mortal enemies. Peter and the Lost Boys have the ability to grow up but chooses to forgo the idea. Neverland is a place where maturity is questioned and immaturity is adored. This is very true in our churches and we have seen how this viewpoint has affected citizens in God’s Kingdom. Signs, wonders and miracles is what we chase after, which is not our business but it’s the responsibility and outworking of our King, instead our occupation is simply to obey to Him. 

One definition of maturity is: Maturity is a psychological term used to indicate how a person responds to the circumstances or environment in an appropriate manner. This response is generally learned rather than instinctive and is not determined by one's age. Maturity also encompasses being aware of the correct time and place to behave and knowing when to act appropriately, according to the situation and the culture of the society one lives in. 

I am reminded of this statement, “What would Jesus do?” this I think is a statement that causes one to be instinctive and vigues about knowing the King and His will. In keeping with the definition we see that maturity is “..learned rather than instinctive” we are to be about our Father’s business, learning His business is knowing His will [Laws] and governing in our locality accordingly.  “...Seek ye the kingdom” is the cry for the citizen and acting appropriately, in every situation is us having a good grasps of the five components knowing: Our King, His laws, His government, our citizenship and culture and our obedience to Him in light of these things, will indicate our maturity. 

Christianity, Church and Denominationalism etc. as taught to us to use it’s lamp [system] to find a solution to our immaturity but we just can’t see much with it. The fantasy of Neverland has kept us from the reality of the Kingdom. But the problem does not lay with Neverland itself but the idea of Neverland, which we have mistakenly propagated by holding onto our church presupposition. Derek Prince said “It is not possible to have true fellowship [koinonia] in the church [setting]” and Chuck Missler agrees with this viewpoint. True growth and fellowship [Koinonia - “shared lives”] happens in house fellowships, a place where we cannot hide from our ignorances and simplicity. 

The challenge at hand is that, the scripture denote something totally different from our Neverland. Our responsibility is to search the scriptures to see if what we have on the ground is in keeping with the Kingdom and if not change it. This statement was made by Keith Green “Keith read the bible, believed it, and acted on it” - Make my life a prayer. Growing up is not easy but it is what is required of us. It is time we embrace the Kingdom, not religion, citizenship and not membership. The King demands of us maturity, by taking up His yoke and burden [laws and statutes] and labour with Him in obedience.

Let Him that hath an ear... 

 

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