Church as Relationship

Church began with relationship, the relationship between Jesus and His disciples. Each of the disciples knew Jesus; in fact they knew Him pretty well, at least in human terms. They spent three years together travelling, eating, talking, laughing, crying and learning; they were close friends. Over time, the disciples came to love and trust Jesus.

We also have relationships with Jesus, although that relationship is somewhat different than the disciples had with Him when He walked the earth. The relationship that we have with Him is of the type the disciples had with Him after Pentecost; it is a spiritual relationship. Yet, we mustn’t allow ourselves to be fooled into thinking that a spiritual relationship is any less personal or intimate than being close friends in the physical realm would be, for the opposite is actually the case.

Most of the posts on this blog deal with our personal relationships with Christ. Some of them are written to encourage you to delve deeper into that relationship, others are written to remind you to spend time with Him, and still others are there as an exhortation not to neglect your relationship… for this is the key relationship in our lives, or at least it should be. Many other blogs I enjoy reading tell the story of their author’s journey in relationship with Jesus… you see, it isn’t just me.

As wonderful as this relationship can be, it brings with it a danger. The danger is that we might forget that Jesus died for all, and not just for me. In those cases, it might seem like John said:

For God so loved me that He gave His one and only Son, that if I believe in Him I will not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 (?)

Isn’t that a nice thought? The only problem is that I have misquoted John.

Continue reading: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2020/01/09/church-as-relationship-3/

Encouraging Service in Your Church

https://churchleaders.com/ministry-tech-leaders/7244-fellowshipone.html

Is Your Church Full of Customers or Owners?

https://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/163942-ed-stetzer-your-church-full-customers-owners.html

The Biggest Challenge Facing the Church Today

https://churchleaders.com/pastors/videos-for-pastors/270507-paul-david-tripp-the-biggest-challenge-facing-the-church-today.html

The Modern Church Has Lost Its Purpose

“Many U.S. churches today have ‘forgotten’ their purpose, becoming entertainment-driven social organizations eager to blend in with secular culture instead of focusing on biblical discipleship” warns Dr. David Jeremiah in a recent interview with Christian Post reporter Leah MarieAnn Klett.

“We’re not an entertainment service; we’re not here to see how close we can get to what the world does,” said Jeremiah, the founder of Turning Point Radio and Television Ministries. “But there’s so much of the world in the Church and vice versa that we can’t tell a difference.”

While I would have some theological differences with Dr. Jeremiah, I would have to agree with him that too many churches today have lost their way. And have abandoned their God-ordained purpose.

Jeremiah believes that many churches today are worshiping “at the attendance altar,” by being too focused on numbers and are “obsessed’ with being relevant.

Ironically, he believes this false focus is actually driving away millennials and Generation Z.

“Here in California, we see interest on the part of millennials and younger for the Bible and for truth,” Jeremiah observed. “Most of the time, we see statistics about how people are leaving the Church, but in many respects, young people are demanding more truth, more teaching, and less entertainment. They’re not interested in shallow expressions of religion.”

The books of Acts records for us the establishment, growth, and spread of the Lord’s church throughout the first century. Beginning with the Jerusalem church we see the apostles and early Christians driven by God’s purpose. Acts 2:42-47 speaks to 5 specific spiritual components that defined the church.

(1) A Worshiping Church.

They met to praise God, pray and remember Jesus through partaking of the Lord’s supper. Worship was a vital part of their lives. It wasn’t a matter of meeting an attendance requirement, but voluntarily and enthusiastically joining with other Christians to “worship God in spirit and in Truth,” as Jesus commanded (Jn 4;23-24).

Jeremiah is right. Churches offering entertainment in the place of worship have lost their way. And people who are seeking a place and preacher who will amuse them, have missed the true meaning of the assembly.

(2) A Family-Bonded Church

Noted in the Jerusalem church was the closeness of the Christians. These Believers “were together.” They “had all things in common.” They met together “from house to house.” They were a spiritual family. God’s household.

Christianity was never meant to be a solo act. It has been often observed that we are not just called to believe, but to belong. The often repeated “one another” passages” remind us of our relationship with other believers. And the value of fellowship. 

More at: https://thepreachersword.com/2019/07/23/the-modern-church-has-lost-its-purpose/

If Your Local Church Disappeared Would You Notice?

http://www.mikeleake.net/2019/07/if-your-local-church-disappeared-would-you-notice.html

Secret Thoughts Of A First-Time Church Visitor

alone desert church visitor

By Susan M. Clabaugh

Did you see me on Sunday?

I walked into your church and looked around, wondering where to go. I saw lots of people eating donuts and drinking coffee, but no one greeted me. I stood there not knowing where to go or what to do until finally one of the pastors came up to me. He asked me to do the usual.

By “the usual” I mean what every church has asked me to do when I visited them: Fill out a piece of paper with all of my information and hand me a “gift” from the church. Then I’m directed to the sanctuary where I can sit anywhere.

All by myself.

After I filled out the form I was directed to the sanctuary, where I sat at the end of a row. I put the “gift” beside me and just looked around. There were people having conversations, but no one noticed me.

This is usually what takes place.

I was there for some time before a man sat in front of me and turned around to introduce himself. He was nice, but he didn’t talk long and I was alone again.

I have yet to go to a church where a member asks me to join them in their row and sit with them so I’m not sitting alone as a visitor. I wonder why this is in a Christian community.

However, when I was a member of a church I never considered taking these kinds of initiatives to make visitors feel welcomed. Now that I’m actively seeking a new church family I’m sharing my experiences because none of us can change what we don’t know.

So what is it that churches don’t know about people visiting?

Some of your visitors are Christians and some aren’t. Either way, they are people searching for something. Searching for a place to belong. Searching for a place to worship. Searching for a family to walk alongside them. Searching for a place to sense God’s love.

Note the last part. It is the most important thing I will say: His love. The most important thing any church can convey to visitors is God’s love. Here are a few ways to do that.

GREET THEM

Make sure there are greeters at the door. The first impression people get of your church is the moment they walk through your door. It’s as simple as genuinely saying something like, “Welcome to our church! We’re glad you’re here! Can I help you find anything?”

Read more: https://factsandtrends.net/2019/07/11/secret-thoughts-of-a-first-time-church-visitor/