Monday, March 30, 2009

Will the TRUE Church please Stand UP!!.....

The continuing saga of this!! Did I tell you that I have been a part of churches that suffer from these crisis'? Each one suffered because of their incorrect focus. I believe that when we do not focus on the head of the church, Jesus Christ, and the blueprint for church found in the Word of God, we will not succeed.

"By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked." 1 John 2:3-6 (NASB95) We are told to keep His Word and walk as Jesus walked. If not, John calls us liars, living in falsehood, working against God's Will which is not the truth.

Identity Crisis #6: We have treated the church as a age old company/business instead of an active mission/ministry of Jesus Christ.

Point 1: We have business meetings to decide how to or how not to spend money. The focus there is on maintenance of physical things we have and how to take care of them. We have to choose what has the highest priority and spend money painstakingly (i created this word..ha) to keep it maintained. Once again, temple mentality, not a living church mentality. What about bringing up something new such as a new building or a church sign, it becomes an item of contention. We get on the wrong "focus"..........You have read my crisis #1 on this issue.

Point 2: We have committees for everything....decorating, funeral, baptism, audio, parking lots, van and trailer, color of the toilet paper in the bathroom, etc. We have created too many boards to govern the church instead of focusing on the mission and ministry of the church and implementing a plan. Most churches I have been involved with do not even have an evangelism comm./team that concentrates on spreading the gospel to the community and beyond. The first century church in Acts spread the gospel to other cities and they were in unity about the sending because they understood their purpose as a church. It is written there in God's Word to send a lesson to us (church) about spreading the Good News!! At all costs, MAKE DISCIPLES!!

Point 3: Since we have our minds on maintenance not ministry, we have huddled inside our buildings. We do not send out ministers and missionaries to our communities and beyond. We have the business mentality as "you must come to us" at the building to see what we are about.
We don't cooperate with other like minded churches anymore because of what we have going on inside our buildings. We are not in tune with the needs of our community because we spend so much time planning events that happen with the 4 walls of the buildings we have. We are content with where we are and what we have and as long as people are giving to maintain the "status quo" then what else is there.

Point 4: Jesus was a servant leader, not a CEO. He did not lead with power, He led by example. Luke 19:10 says: "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost." This purpose shares what Jesus was about. This purpose is not confined to an office or a building. This purpose does not come with a large salary and medical/dental with vacation benefits. This purpose did not come with a huge house with a white picket fence and two fancy cars. Look at the word "seek". Why do you think this is first? The lost must be sought that's a mission.

Let me ask you this question: Are you mission minded? Do you have a mission? I believe that the church Make Disciples and to take the gospel everywhere. (Matt. 28:17-20 and Acts 1:8) Does this cost money?....maybe the cost of a Bible.


Ergatees said...

Brother Brian,

I have been reading over this one for the last several days and I have been contemplating what you have said here. I think you are correct again. We do treat our churches like a company or business. Some might respond with, "We are in business, the business of converting souls!" or "We are in the business of seeing God glorified!" or “…the business of proclaiming the Gospel!” While these are wonderful platitudes, they are missing the point. Good ministry decisions are not always smart business decision. A church needs to be run like a church not a business.

If we needed to "see" some gain or souls “won” in order to be successful in China, China would be even more unreached than it is today. The areas of China that lean more towards Christianity are areas where missionaries spent years and years with few converts. The reality is that we have a twisted idea of success. REAL success is seeing God glorified through the successful and clear preaching of His Word and His Gospel. The results are really up to Him, not us. REAL success is not how big our churches are, it is how well are their souls being shepherded, because God is the one who grows a Church, not man’s programs.

Business meetings – These things have turned into dull church meetings attended by few to begin with, few of those are paying close attention and fewer still have prayed for God to guide them as they consider the work of the Church. It is really sad.

Committees – Once again, you have hit the head on the nail on the committees. While they can be useful tools; unfortunately, they are often pawns in someone’s kingdom building attempts or bureaucratic monster instead of ministries seeking to glorify God and reach people for His honor and glory.

CEO Comment – I think we have really missed the boat on the point of leadership in the Church. All too often Pastors are concerned more about themselves than the people that they shepherd. Being a Pastor is not a career, it is a calling. If a Pastor is worried about being ready for their next job, they are either in the wrong job all together or are in need of serious mentoring. God does not call men to the career of being a Pastor; God calls men to be His servants who serve His sheep, teach of the whole counsel of God, and preach the whole Gospel. Pastors should worry about the people that God has given them stewardship of, and let God worry about his "next job". Pastors often lack commitment to the people they are serving. If they were really committed to them, they would not be considering going somewhere else, or “working towards” the next big church. Hear me clearly; I am not saying that God cannot move a man from one Church to the next. What I am saying is what is happening today are manmade movements, not God led movements. If Pastors were really content with what God has given them, then they would not be comparing their assemblies to someone else's and coveting them.

Pastors need a wakeup call. They need to determine for themselves if God is the one leading them, or if they are lead by selfish ambitions, and desires of personal glory. Pastors need to make the decision to serve God by serving the people that He has given them stewardship of and to stop trying to serve themselves. Pastors need to teach the whole Word of God, proclaim the Gospel, love the flock, care for their needs, and exercise church discipline against the sheep that act like wolves and especially against the wolves that are dressed like sheep.

You see, in my tiny little mind, it is all very simple. The American and European churches are full of pride, arrogance, and self will. They need to humble themselves and seek the will of God that is clearly revealed in Scripture. They need to conform themselves to the will of God, and for those who are not willing to conform themselves to the will of God, they should have Church discipline executed against them. Hear me out, I am not saying kick them out! I am saying lovingly tell them that they are in error. Lovingly help them understand their sin, and then take things from there.

The Church needs to seek to be more pure again. It is full of wickedness and depravity. Gossip and slander should not be tolerated in the Church. Think about it. Really…people, if you see a “Christian” in sin, get uncomfortable and confront them. Don’t go back and tell Susie or Brother Joe about it, because when you do that you are doing nothing more than gossiping and slandering! God has given you an opportunity to glorify Him by providing you an opportunity to help some brother or sister out of sin. Confront them! It really is the most loving and caring thing you can do for them. When you ignore it you are just easing your selfish desire to “not cause trouble”. When you tell someone else, you are making the problem worse. Hear me out, I am NOT saying that you are not to seek Godly counsel on HOW you are to confront someone. What I am saying is that telling someone else to confront them is often not the proper course of action!

Our churches should be the best reflection of the bride of Christ that they can be. Unfortunately, too many of them look like the harlots of the world. I mean seriously, do our churches look ANY DIFFERENT THAN THE WORLD?

Our churches lack discipline! They lack accountability! They need men to stand up and proclaim the complete Word of God, and hold people accountable to it! The Word of God is preached in some places I have been to, but RARELY is anyone asked to be accountable to it. I have even been to places where people are asked to be accountable, but NO ONE is holding them accountable. Folks, we need to raise the bar up from off the floor where it is now and hold people to it. We need to act as if we really believe what we teach and preach. We need to act as if we really think Jesus is coming soon. And we need to do it all showered, covered, and soaked with the Love of God.

One last point, I have run into several people who see clearly the problems of the church. I praise God for their wisdom and insight into these problems, but I have to ask a question. What is any of us doing about it? In my mind, if God has allowed us to see a problem in the church, it might be because He wants us to do something!? Are you (dear reader) serving your church in such a way as to help make her more holy? Are you (dear reader) doing something to make a difference for the Kingdom of God by holding someone accountable? Are you (dear reader) even going to church? Maybe, God has lifted the veil from your eyes on the condition of the church so that you can contribute to making her more clean? Maybe, God has allowed you to see the reality of the situation, because He wants you to do something about it? Consider that, pray about that, meditate on it, seek God’s face and will for you on the matter. Because if you (dear reader) see the church in sin and you are doing nothing but telling others about it; then all you (dear reader) are really doing is nothing more than gossiping. Think about that.

I am stepping away from the soap box now…

In Him,

Sleepy Disciple said...

Is there an invitation after this, because I am surely in need of repentance, prayer, and reflection.

Thank you brother for pointing out severe points of distraction that we all face in churches. There are times when I am not the part of the solution because I tire of dealing with issues over and over and over. I lose some shepherding ability when I face these things alone and forsake Phil. 4:13 or Psalm 1 and stand on the promise of many other Scriptures.

But that is no excuse. Our calling comes from God and our devotion is towards He who calls us. Our strength and guidance come from the same source as well.

Very Good Words, my friend!!