The Church

The Church

In Matthew 16:18-19 Jesus speaks to Peter about us; His Church:

“Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means rock), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.” (New Living Translation)

 

The word “church” here is “ekklesia” which means: A gathering of citizens called out ” from” their homes into some public place, an assembly. And the second part is they are called out “FOR” a purpose!

 

We, the Church, are the hope of the World.! We are called out “FROM” our Christless lives “FOR” eternal life in Christ! But we are not citizens of Heaven yet (though our names are written there!). So we need to understand not just what we are called out from but what we are called out for. They church is called to “Go” and “make disciples” it is the mission of every believer! Yet it seems we can easily get lost in the church thing and began to “attend church” instead of “being the church”. We can settle (with the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven  in our pockets) into comfort and church service can become church serve us! I ask the following questions to create some good dialogue.

What have have been saved for?

How are you walking out the call of God upon you life?

If you are a senior Pastor:

Is your church focused on reaching your region for Christ?

What strategic steps are being taking to reach out into your community?

What results are being experienced?

Is your church turned inward toward one another?

Are people coming to Christ in your church services?

Are they becoming disciples?

How do we turn an inward focused church back toward it’s mission?

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Bear,
    Is this something that you are trying to solve?
    What are your thoughts on solving it?

  2. I would say most problems come from lack of discipleship. That’s from the preaching to evangelizing. Seems we have separated Christianity and discipleship, and this is very sad cause we are very easily missing the very thing we need.

  3. Is your church focused on reaching your region for Christ? What results are being experienced? Is your church turned inward toward one another? Are people coming to Christ in your church services? How do we turn an inward focused church back toward it’s mission?

    These four questions stir me. It’s important to me that people do come to Christ in our services when we launch our new work. But I don’t want to just focus on our services. If I do, we will truly become inwardly focused.

    I am reminded of how the apostle paul did things. Whereever he went, he spent some time in the temple trying to reach the religious people, usually with results that were minimal at best. The rest of the time he was out ministering in the community, with grand results. That’s where he was able to establish his church. By going out in the community to spread the Good News and working the miraculous.

    “Jesus walks into a bar and the bartender says…” should not be the beginning of a corny joke. Where are the people we are trying to reach. At the store? At the park? In a restaurant? In a bar? Wherever they are, that is where the apostle paul would be. That’s where Jesus would be. For too long the church has misinterpreted the “come out from among them and be ye separate” passage. Instead of taking it in context, which teaches us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers and to not partake in their sin, we take it too literally and twist it to mean “stay away from them”.

    WWJD? Would He walk into a bar? Would he hang with sinners? Look at Luke chapter 7:31-35 and come to your own conclusion…

    …”To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, “‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’ For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”

    The answer for me is clear, though I need to specify that Christians shouldn’t go to places they can’t handle, even in the name of ministry and outreach. Wisdom, accountability, and submission to wise elders should be in place in your life and these will help you decide where you should and shouldn’t go.

    But when we CAN handle it, go we must.

  4. We are in the process of trying to remind and inspire people to be more focused on the needs of the one instead of the needs of the many. I am so weary of programs theories and busyness that produce shallow Christianity in small and large churches alike. I have noticed people come and go with the wind, congregations cycle staffs change more people leave mad than glad from all sizes of churches. I simply do not believe its because the Pastor or leadership is to intense or demanding. I believe it has more to do with spiritual inmaturity. For this cause Jesus came into the world to seek and to save that which was lost. When he fed the multitude it wasnt an outreach inticement to get people to come. They recieved the spiritual before recieving of the natural. I could speak a long time on this subject and then whatch the same ole spin refute the need for spiritual growth in lew of ghurch growth. Im not against either. If the first is greater than the latter we will probably hear less church bashing of how the church so called hurt me.

  5. What have I been saved for? Loving God Passionately and Loving Others Purposefully. God loves me personally and saved me. Now He wants me to join His team to minister to others.

    How am I walking out the call of God? I just keep saying yes to God. I grow myself, I love and support people around me, I pastor the way God asks me to, I get deeply involved in my community, I serve our district pastors and people.

    Is your church focused on reaching your region for Christ?
    Absolutely! We have acknowledged that it is our turn now. God is asking us to do similar things others have done in their generations to obey God and reach our world with His love.

    What strategic steps are being taking to reach out into your community?
    We combined two churches, sold properties and built a larger church just to make room for more people. We weren’t able to help all the people we wanted to help in our smaller buildings. We do community service like operating a thrift store, food distributions, we have concerts in the parks, church services in the parks and at rodeos, we host big events at holiday times, we serve our community with donations and participation in their events. We give money to help people with financial crisis and needs, we give our members great events to invite their friends to. We preach and teach things that meet needs of people who are seeking answers and help. Here is a phrase we use a lot, “Say something, be something and do something that causes people to have a positive thought about God.” We try to do things in our post modern society that helps them understand the church and God is not what Satan and the world say they are. God is great and the church is relevant and helpful.
    What results are being experienced?

    Is your church turned inward toward one another?
    We are still turned inwards at times but we resist this and try to refocus our efforts towards those who are lost.

    Are people coming to Christ in your church services?
    Yes. We have people getting saved each month and have had many baptisms this year. It has taken some time to create an culture where this is normal and regular.

    Are they becoming disciples?
    Some are. Some hang around for months with out plugging in to a life group or serving on a team. Some have never plugged in after a few years and are content to be on the fringes. Some have jumped in with both feet and are fully participating and growing in Christ!

    How do we turn an inward focused church back toward it’s mission?
    It took years for us to do this. We had to cast vision and lead by example. We had to preach and teach for years about God’s will, the great commission, the harvest is great and ready, we are anointed to be fruitful, fruitfulness is a requirement, disobedience is not an option, God will resources us if we get our priorities right and step out in faith etc… We had to get some wins, accomplish some smaller things financially, relationally, spiritually etc… before we were willing to tackle the bigger things. (New furnace, new chairs, second service, rent a larger building etc.. before we were ready to sell out and build the bigger building.) I as a pastor told them I was not pastor enough yet to lead us where God wanted us to go but I was going to grow and change in order to become that and I asked them to grow and change with me. We did, they did and now we have turned the church around. Lots of hard work and perseverance but it was worth it. Now we are trying to do it all again in order to break the 200 barrier and grow into the church God has called us to be. We aren’t what we used to be but we still have a long way to go. God will help us!

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