The Church (A Message for its Members)

churchAs I began thinking about writing about the Church and its purpose, my mind automatically went to the great commission:

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing    them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things  that I have commanded you; and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:18-20

As I thought about that verse, I decided to go in a different direction. For those of us who have been in Church we readily understand our purpose of winning lost souls and making disciples. However in this post I have decided to take a look at the church today.

Before I begin, I want to say that I am not against Churches that are large in size; I have however in recent months begun to develop a bad taste for what many “mega-churches” have become. I don’t believe we need to go back to the 1800’s, however I do thing we should still be reverent in church and I don’t believe we should be using worldly things to attract the world, HELLO! They already have the world they need Jesus!

The inside of many churches are beginning to look like night clubs instead of houses of worship. Preachers are giving “talks” that are about 25-30 minutes in length instead of truly teaching the truth of the Word for 25-30 minutes.

Now this is not all big churches but quite a few. We put the verses up on the screen which can cause the people to look there instead of the Scripture on their lap, this causes some (dare I say many people) not to even bring a Bible to church, or if they do it remains unopened.

I am all for innovative ways to bring people in but let’s think things all the way through before we decide to do them. Pastor think about what it looks like for you to preach off your Ipad and not have your Bible, yes I know the verses are on your Ipad, but your people need to see you with a Bible, they need to see you turn to the scriptures.

I am all for Bible apps and websites. I have an app on my phone, but when you solely use your app or a website you aren’t getting to know your Bible, you don’t get familiar with book order; you can’t turn to your favorite passage. And while searching things can be helpful, I believe it causes us to know less of our Bible, and discourage memorization because all we have to do is pull up our app and type in a key word.

I am not trying to be mean or critical; there are just some things I don’t think need an update or modernization. We should stick with our leather bound Bibles and turn our pages and really get to know the person of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit from cover to cover, not keystroke by keystroke.

Why do I mention the Church looking like a night club, what’s the problem? It’s not a night club. Our lights shouldn’t be turned off with a few spot lights on the platform that’s covered in smoke.

I don’t mind coffee and donuts before church, but do we really need to bring them in the service?

For those of us who have been in church for a while, what’s the deal with this come as you are stuff? Wearing shorts, t-shirt, and flip flops on Sunday morning? I’m not talking about visitors I am talking about Church members, we are coming to worship God, and surely we can present ourselves better and eat the donut and drink the coffee before coming into the sanctuary.

What happened to the days of reverence?

The next thing that’s been on my mind is the mindset of celebrity pastor, (I’ll admit I have been guilty of this way of thinking when I have thought about my future church). On this subject I am primarily talking about your average size churches and not your mega churches. It seems today that many pastors are concerned with preaching and not shepherding. Yes the pastor preaches and should spend time studying, but the role of pastor is caretaker, counselor, encourager, and pray-er.

I have noticed in some recent conversations I have had with people in ministry (and those like me, aspiring to one day be a senior pastor) that the prevailing thought is pastors should only preach and they need to hire other staff to handle counseling and pastoral care, you know, all the day-to-day stuff.

I understand a church of 200 or more needs to delegate, but even small churches of 75-100 have pastors who want to only preach and not take care of the people God has entrusted them with.

Pastors who show up on time, not early, or early but don’t mingle with the people. The pastor who bolts after the altar call or the hand shaking. Pastors need to be for their people and not wannabe celebrities, for this I am guilty and have repented and asked the Lord to change my heart in this area and He has and is doing that.

A problem I see with those of us who are called to pastor is we see these guys on TV and the well known podcasters and start to imitate them and want what they have….God has called me to be me not someone else. I don’t need to have a huge church unless that is God’s plan and even then I don’t need to be a “celebrity pastor” pretending those in my congregation are the awful press, they are my people, my family and they should be treated as such.

Going back to the reverence issue of the church, I know some may say, God is my daddy and the church should be treated like his house. My answer is yes and no, not like you think. Yes, God is our Father and we should come to Him as such, but as far as church, worship, and Word go there must be a reverence.

In Nehemiah the people built a platform and pulpit solely for the purpose of preaching, as soon as the scroll (Bible) was opened the people stood in reverence. I believe this kind of thing is missing from many churches today.

While I love modern praise and worship, I still think hymns should be sung, they contain great truth.

The Church needs to strike a balance and not be so modern that we disregard our heritage, holiness, and the hope that we offer.

The Church should look like a church, we should use the language of the Bible and not try to update it but explain its richness…

I know I didn’t write a teaching on the purpose of the church like many (even I) thought I would but this is what was on my heart and I hope these things haven’t driven away any readers.

I am all for new methods but I don’t believe that means changing everything the Church has always been. It’s ok for a church to look like a church, it should. Have a steeple, have a cross in the sanctuary, have altars, even if they are at the side, have pew racks, not for hymnals but for Bibles, so that those who don’t have one or forgot theirs can still pick one up and read it.

One last thought, if the church building is completely overhauled along with the message that becomes a “talk” on God’s love, grace and mercy (but no mention of Jesus), all the happy verses, but not the holy ones, all the saving ones, but not the sin condemning ones, or all the prosperity verses without the profitable “hard to swallow” verses then can we really say we are the Church.

Again, I am not speaking against mega churches, or positive messages, the Gospel is a positive message. I am just concerned in some ways our modernization of our methods and message can is some ways be damaging if we aren’t careful. How can it be damaging? If we loosen up the methods and the message too much permissiveness of sin can slip in under the guise of freedom or love or grace, IF things are not kept in the right balance of method and message.     

Thanks for reading this post, a little out of the ordinary for this series…but this has been rolling around in me for a little while now….

See you next week, God Bless!

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