Christians in the church today are witnessing what may be described as “truth decay.” Instead of being faithful to God’s Word, many Christian leaders take a pragmatic “whatever works and will get people to come” approach. Pragmatism has its merits, but today it is undermining authentic Christianity and our call to biblical faithfulness.
• In the quest for more nickels and noses, many church leaders lean more toward political correctness, cultural relevance, image promotion and the notion that size equals success in the eyes of God.
Charismatic sideshows parade preachers of imbalanced material prosperity, self-promotion and embarrassing flashy lifestyles, which both the world and the younger generation see through as hype.
“McChurch” meetings are increasingly offered to lure more congregants with “in and out “express services featuring three upbeat songs, offering and a 20 minute sermonette. I read of one church that advertises: “Express worship, 45 minutes, guaranteed!” Some now meet on Friday so as not to interfere with people’s weekend leisure pursuits.
Pretentious and unnecessary labeling with prestigious titles is also present.. Some churches hire public relations firms to gain greater visibility. I saw a recent full-page ad portraying the “new face of ministry” with such superlatives as “powerful…seen in hundreds of millions of households… modern ministry giant… a ministry conglomerate like no other in the world.”
When we add to the above the plethora of divorces, scandals, unbiblical, interfaith emphases, ordination of homosexuals, fear of man and hesitancy to speak on cultural issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, strange mannerisms, gaudy surroundings and rote liturgical services devoid of the power and presence of God, the time has come for multitudes to step back in a noncritical but objective manner to do a legitimate comparison of a traditional versus biblical model of the church. Here’s the deal: it’s time to align with what God has ordained no matter what the cost.
A COMPARISON OF TRADITIONAL AND BIBLICAL MODELS OF A LOCAL CHURCH
1. CONCEPT OF CHURCH An organization much like a club or an organism,the living Body of Christ.
2. HEADSHIP The people or the ascended Christ.
3. AUTHORITY A Constitution or the whole Word of God
4. MEMBERS Attenders at a weekly service or brothers and sisters who are part of a real spiritual family
5. INVOLVEMENT Mere spectators or true participants
6. GOVERNMENT Democracy or theocracy(God directly leading through the Word and the Holy Spirit).
7. SELECTION OF LEADERSHIP Recruit a professional for a job or recognize God-given, called ministers.
8. BASIC MINISTRY Preach sermons and conduct services or glorify God by equipping people to fulfill their ministry.
9. PLACE OF MINISTRY Church building at stated times or church facility, homes, in the marketplace – all the time.
10. PRIMARY CONCERNS. Attract people with whatever works or glorify God by fully obeying His Word
11. OBJECTIVES Buildings, bucks, bodies and breaking attendance records or follow the biblical pattern to build up the body and reach the world with the Gospel
12. DETERMINING FACTOR What the people want or what God declares and the people need
13. GREAT COMMISSION Get converts(addition) or make disciples (multiplication)
14. PURPOSE OF ASSEMBLING Conduct services and programs or be a dwelling place for God’s presence through prayer, worship, breaking bread, applying his Word, ministering his gifts and stirring each other to love and good works
15. ATTITUDE WHILE ASSEMBLED. “Will I get out on time?”
or “God I’ve gathered with You and your people so speak to my heart and change me to be more like You”
16. SERMON CONTENT Whatever makes people feel good and keep coming back or hearing and applying the current Word from God
17. LEADERSHIP Highlighting one-man ministry or team approach drawing upon apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers
18. LEADERSHIP MODEL Minister “hired” to do a job or a team of leaders (with one senior) who seek God and lead the flock as Scripture directs
19. CHURCH DISCIPLINE Nonexistent or an expression of God’s love to safeguard His flock
20. DEACON MINISTRY Subtly control the church and keep leaders in line or handle the practical needs of the church so ministers can “give themselves to the ministry of the Word and prayer”
21 RESOURCES Human ingenuity, marketing techniques and available funds obtained through pleading, pressure and projection of guilt or teaching stewardship principles and trusting God to provide for legitimate needs
22. LEADERSHIP GIVEN TO… Anyone willing or called,
anointed, godly, faithful and proven servants
23. PREVAILING ATTITUDE Conditional acceptance or unconditional acceptance
24. ULTIMATE CONCERN The senior leader’s reputation or insuring in all things Jesus Christ is exalted and obeyed
25. ULTIMATE RESULT A church that has a reputation for being alive but is really dead (Rev 3:1) or God is glorified; people function as He intends; the lost are saved; and, society is transformed by the power of the Gospel incarnate in the lives of a community of people truly demonstrating that Jesus Christ is Lord!
As Jesus assessed the seven churches in the book of Revelation, how would He assess your local church? What is your assessment? What is God currently saying to you as He endeavors to awaken his church and restore it as a Bride adorned for her soon-coming King?
The ways of God are becoming so clear and so simple, only the obedient will follow. Here’s the deal: Will you?
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.