I’m not asking that question with an arrogant ‘how the heck did he actually pull that off?’ I’m asking with a serious tone… ‘how did he do it?’

I’ve been asking that question to myself since last night. I’ve been thinking about Obama creating a tribe, or the fact that he masterfully created an unstoppable grassroots movement, or the incredible marketing campaign that swept the country. Or is he really just that amazing of a leader that he could carry not just our nation but the favor of other nations as well? Looking at it, though, I knew there was something or many things that we as Christians could take and run with to help us reach the world. 

I started to get some clues as we watched last night. NBC stated that the Obama campaign focused on reaching cities (I’ll be posting on this over the next few days) and urban centers. They had one of the largest volunteer forces that any president has ever had. He connected with a younger generation of voters (come on campus ministers!!!). All these things, valuable, but, still, how did he do those things???

The answer hit me in a heavy way as I was meeting with one of our students, William, earlier today. We were discussing this and talking about what Obama did and what kind of things we could do to take the gospel to a lost generation when William said it. William stated, “Obama talked about how everything was messed up. That’s what he did. That’s all he talked about. Our nation is messed up, it needs help. It’s all screwed up and needs to change.” I almost lost it right in the middle of the GT student center as the reality of what had just happened over the last few months hit me. Obama was preaching the gospel and an entire generation responded. He did our job.

The gospel states that we’re messed up and need help. We need a savior to come down out of heaven and rescue us from the hopeless mess that we’re in. I didn’t get it for months. How could people be falling for this stuff that Obama was saying??? Simple, he was preaching the gospel and when the gospel is preached, people listen.

For clarification: I know that Jesus is our savior and not Obama, but, the crux of the message is that we’re messed up and need a savior. Without that, we can’t truly repent.

So, how come Obama could say what he did, but, when the church says it, it falls on deaf ears? 

I’ve been guilty of talking about Obama’s arrogance over the past weeks and months, but what about the church? As the church we have lost our moral authority yet still preach about living a righteous life and the need to repent of our sins while we continue to live in sin and not set an example for the culture around us. Aren’t we just as arrogant if not more?!?!

We don’t have the moral clout as the church to talk about sin because we (the church) haven’t repented. Almost 40% of pastors have admitted to having an extramarital affair during some point in ministry. 1500 pastors A MONTH are leaving ministry due to moral failure, burnout, or conflict in their churches. Pastors have abused and molested children. Pastors fight with each other and slander their congregants. Pastors have been controlling and manipulative to serve their own best interests. Pastors don’t know the gospel and pastors haven’t sought God with all of their hearts. In short, PASTORS HAVEN’T REPENTED.

And if pastors haven’t repented then the congregants surely haven’t repented either. Pornography is running rampant in the church, people are getting divorced left and right. They’re letting their kids turn into thieves and rapers because they haven’t fathered and mothered their kids and have given their God given rights to the government and local schools.

Church, if we’re going to change the culture around us we have to get off our high horses and down on our faces before God and repent for the sins of past generations, but especially for our own! We have surrendered our moral authority to the culture for so long that we no longer have a voice left to give. 

Here’s my two cents:

1 – We have to repent to God. Sincerely and fervently and we have to be desperate. We HAVE to realize that we’re the problem and have been for a while. We must, we must, we must repent. There are no other options than this one. We’ll never reach the poor and destitute, we’ll never reach the widows and orphans, we’ll never reach druggies and prostitutes if we don’t repent and realize that we’re no different. We aren’t better, we aren’t more holy, we aren’t more righteous, and we don’t have an advantage. We need Jesus and we haven’t gone after him!

2 – Once we’ve accomplished #1 which will be evident by a completely ruined and broken people we can move onto #2. We must repent to the culture for being arrogant, rude, self-righteous, bigots, hypocrites, judgmental, and most of all, not following our God and the words he gave us. We need to openly and honestly confront our culture with humility and brokenness letting them know that we’ve failed them by living for years without truly believing who we are and living without a savior ourselves. 

3 – After 1 and 2 we come to 3, which, if we’ve done 1 and 2 with sincerity in our hearts shouldn’t be too hard. We have to live this thing. We have to be the glorious church that Jesus called us to be. We have to live free from sin under the power of the glorious cross of Jesus. We have hold high His banner of truth, righteousness and justice. We have to walk as Jesus walked that we may do greater things than He did. We must. There is no other option.

If we are to see our culture truly change we have no other option but to be the church and be it now. That’s it.

How did Obama do it? Whether he knows it or not, he identified a need in our culture that is paramount to humanity. Sin. Sin has come in and corrupted our society and that was the message that he preached. 

Christians, we missed it and we missed it big. We’ve been so concerned with our rights or ‘their’ sin that we forgot to look in the mirror in the mornings and see the sad and terrible thing that we’ve become. Are we the hope of the world? Are we the bride of Christ? Are we making a difference?

I want to be all of these things, but, if I’m going to be, I have to change and I suspect I’m not the only one.