Thursday, June 17, 2010

Religion - Stumbling Blocks to Doing God's Will

Religion is a tough task master. I have been participating on LinkedIn discussion group. I posted two discussions, one about what the church needs to do to turn around is declining membership in the US. The other was specifically on WHAT YOU WOULD do to engage your local culture or community.

The first discussion was a lot of back and forth on what's wrong with the church, and what's wrong with society. Some thought we should move forward and other back. Some blamed education, others government and liberalism. There were some edgy remarks regarding woman in the church, Pentecostals, that role of politics and some other subjects such as edification and authority.

It was almost out of control, and certainly needed some moderation.

I tried to press for solutions, and I got some pretty standard answers.

- Prayer
- Returning to our first love
- Repentance
- Humility
- Ridding ourselves of worldly influences
- Just do God's will
- Read the Bible

Nothing surprising to me at all.

What I find interesting, is that no one said what they would do exactly. I then posted a follow up discussion asking that specific question. You are going to engage your culture, and I gave them 5 like minded individuals, $1,000, and God's blessing. Still more theory. Today, I am going to answer my own question.

Let me preface it by saying, I think the church has issues, God is not asleep (maybe we are), and if YOU don't do something, then who will?

Any church of 2 or more, needs a foundation which includes the following elements according to Scripture. In particular, Ephesians 4.

- Vision: the church, regardless of what stage it is in: new, maturing, experienced congregation or mega-church etc., has to look like something when it is done. It needs a burden from God, a goal and a mission; which are the elements of vision. Without vision, how would we know what to pray for?

- Apostolic Plan: the church, like any other project needs a plan. In the kingdom, plans need to be flexible enough to allow God free reign, and structured enough to achieve a godly vision. Remember the church is a living breathing organism that consumes raw culture and turns it into the Kingdom of God.

- Prophetic Insight: A church that just does programs and imitates other supposedly successful churches is in trouble of falling into the religious quagmire. Prophetic people bring a fresh and focused sense of direction. Prophetic revelation is a detailed way of moving ahead, ultimately achieving the plan.

- Prayer: The church is a house of prayer, and it should be praying into existance the apostolic plan, and the supporting the prophetic vision. It is the oil that keeps the church running smoothly. Prayer is the communication between the the planners, the builders, and the workers.

- Ongoing Pastoral Care, Worship, Teaching and Evangelism: It is essential that the church be able to disciple its own, and bring new folks into the fray. These services need to be part of a bigger plan. Having a Sunday service is NOT a plan.

That is the foundation for the church I envision. I do have a vision to train and disciple others. I am just looking for places to plug in with my gifting.

What do you think, should we just set out and pray, or repent, or try to be loving?


pdfwc said...

It is a great post, only because I know you are relationally driven, and that is really the only way it can successfully be achieved. The model you propose can be seen in large churches operating as a businesses. Encounters with God as a good loving father, not a dictator; people who catch his heart, and begin to relate with and truly love others - are the ingredients to moving the vision Jesus has for his church. Just my take on it all...

photogr said...

I guess it is nice to point the finger of blame to every one besides our selves.

The business as usual operations ( churches) fail to see their short commings or follow scripture.

I would have to believe your suggestions posted is a start in the healing process. However, many denominations fail to believe in prophesy, healings, and miracles so these suggestions may fall on deaf ears in those churches which is sad.

I may be becoming a pesimist when it comes to churches in general based on my experiences the last couple of years but what I have realized is they all seem to be a business configuration of sorts with miss guided priorities.

It seems raking in the money is more important than winning souls to Christ in most cases. Of course the Church must have income coming in to function but being more conservative with their expenses is a better way to go I would think. Only the government can spend more money than they take in and get away with it.

I feel the churches must redefine their priorities and concentrate on what is said in scriptures in order to serve the Lord as they should be doing.

Give me a church that follows the scriptures and concentrates winning souls to Christ and I would gladly tithe to help others in need.

David said...

@pdfwc - Yes, love is essential. Without relationship, church is just a business, and a bad one at that.

I didn't mean to be cavalier about loving - but love is an action, not a plan. I was trying to emphasize a structure, and a plan that love and prayer could power.

@Larry - hope you find a great church. I might be able to recommend something - I'll look into it.

Irene said...

"We have polished the systems of earth to a science and we call it the character of Christ."
"A church established by replicating the earths democratic system of government, is only serving up the very best darkness the earth has to offer."
Danny Silk in Loving on Purpose Leadership Series Freedom to the Earth. I have a DVD for you.

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