God, the Church and Me
When it comes to our faith in Jesus, church is a major part of its expression. In fact, I believe this statement to be true, “you don’t have to go to church to go to heaven, but if you want heaven on earth, you have to go to church.”
This is why being a part of a local church is vital to our faith and it’s also why the enemy is seeking to disconnect us from church all the time. He’s afraid of us being who God called us to be and making a difference for eternity. Therefore, understanding these tactics, will empower us to dismantle them. So, I recently read an article written by Ron Edmonson and it uncovered five ideas that are common in church that can easily cause people to unplug from church. It was so good, I wanted to reference his points in this blog, so I could share it with you.
Here are the points by Ron Edmondson.
What the Church Can and Cannot Provide in meeting needs,
1) A CHURCH IS A PLACE TO GATHER WEEKLY FOR WORSHIP, BUT IT’S UP TO ME WHETHER I WILL EXPERIENCE THE PRESENCE OF GOD. (JOHN 4:24).
Preferences surrounding music is a frequent source of discontent for unhappy members. One of the biggest misconceptions people have is to mistake music for worship. Music is not worship. Organs, pianos, keyboards, drums, choirs, guitars, orchestras, lights, smoke, speakers, hymnals, screens, projectors, and soundboards are not instruments of worship. They are accessories for music. Worship is not singing. It is surrendering. If you attend a large group gathering of Christians committed to honoring Jesus and walk away without having worshiped, the fault is yours, not theirs. Don’t blame the music, blame the mirror.
2) A CHURCH IS A FAMILY I CAN BELONG TO, BUT IT’S UP TO ME TO DEVELOP FRIENDSHIPS. (PROVERBS 18:24).
So many people join our churches but never invest in relationships. They simply attend services. Church becomes like a fast-food restaurant – get my food and get out quickly and with as little interaction as possible. But sooner or later life happens, and when their world starts coming apart they have no relational safety net. They suddenly expect “the pastor” to “be there for them,” like he’s a spiritual Genie. Just rub the lamp and *poof*, there he is! But that’s not even the biblical calling of pastors. According to Ephesians 4:12, pastors are called to equip the members to be the hands and feet of Jesus. God designed the church to be a community of connected Christians, not a collection of customers waiting to be served. We tell our people, “If you join this church, but never develop any friendships here, we promise we will let you down. It’s just a matter of time.” Disconnected people eventually disconnect.
3) A CHURCH IS A PLACE WHERE GIFTED TEACHERS WILL EXPLAIN THE BIBLE AND HOW I CAN APPLY IT TO MY LIFE, BUT IT’S UP TO ME TO ALIGN MY LIFE WITH GOD’S TRUTH. (JAMES 1:22).
“I’m not being fed,” is the oft-repeated mantra of the self-centered saint. How many times have I heard this phrase brought up by disgruntled church members? Once, when someone told me they were leaving the church because they needed deeper Bible teaching, I thought about the last several series I had done. I asked the person, “I just finished up a relationship series, tell me, is your marriage hitting on all six cylinders? On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being perfect, how would your spouse rate you? How about your parenting skills? Any room for growth there?” They didn’t really respond.
“So let me get this straight. You say you’re not being fed and that you need some deeper preaching, but you don’t even do the stuff that my ‘shallow preaching’ addresses.
Hmm, I’m not sure it’s my preaching that needs changing.”
4) A CHURCH IS A PLACE WHERE I CAN USE MY GIFTS, PASSION, SKILLS, PERSONALITY, AND LIFE EXPERIENCES TO SERVE, BUT IT’S UP TO ME TO BECOME A SERVANT. (MATTHEW 20:28).
It’s been my experience that some of the most vocal critics in the church are often the least engaged. They have a lot of suggestions, but no skin in the game. It’s a lot easier to criticize from the bleachers than it is from the ball field. People who aren’t serving in the church are often one change away from becoming disgruntled.
There are two kinds of church members. I believe that the metric for maturity is ministry. It never impresses me that someone simply has Bible knowledge, but I am always impressed by unselfish service. Serving in a ministry that delivers hope and healing to hearts and homes immunizes us from apathy and keeps us trapped into the mission.
5) A CHURCH IS A PLACE WHERE I HAVE THE CHANCE TO CHANGE THE WORLD BY FULFILLING THE GREAT COMMISSION, BUT IT’S UP TO ME TO ACTUALLY BECOME A PERSON OF IMPACT. (ROMANS 10:14)
Finally, perhaps the greatest misconception of all is when we think that the church’s primary mission is to meet my needs. Churches exist primarily for their non-members. They exist to bring hope and healing to a broken and hurting world. They do not exist to serve the whims of whiners. There is no perfect church because there are no perfect people. There are only imperfect churches filled with imperfect people striving to make an impact on this broken world.
Whenever we forget the critical nature of that mission and begin to focus on pettiness and preferences, we grieve the heart of God and we fail the mission of the Master.
As a pastor, I’ve heard plenty of those who have let me know how the church has let them down, but I’ve rarely heard from those who have realized how they’ve let the church down.
The needs of a lost world are too critical for us to waste time. Let’s get busy being the hands and feet of Jesus.
I hope you enjoyed and were challenged by these five points. God has a purpose for our lives; therefore, let’s make sure, nothing stops it from happening!
Have a great weekend the best is yet to come,