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

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Are You A Member of the Body Or Just A Member of the Church?

“The very word membership is of Christian origin, but it has been taken over by the world and emptied of all meaning,” wrote C. S. Lewis in one of his essays.

Lewis further opined, “I am afraid that when we describe a man as ‘a member of the Church’ we usually mean nothing Pauline” as he referred to Paul’s statement regarding “members of the Body” of Christ (1 Cor. 12:22).

Being a member of the Body is not like being a member of a club, business organization or some kind of fraternity. For example, when I joined Rotary, I was a member of a local club and was expected to do three things: (1) Attend a local meeting. (2) Abide by the rules of the club. (3) Pay monthly dues. Failure to do so could result in my termination from the club.

Too many Christians have that kind of view of the church. They attend just enough, behave well enough, and give just enough so their membership won’t be revoked. According to 1 Corinthians 12, that’s not a Biblical view of being a member.

Being a member is an analogy. Paul compared it to the physical body. The illustration is simple and obvious, and almost humorous. The physical body has different members–eyes, ears, hands, and feet. The body is not one member.

Can you picture someone who is all nose? A giant eye? A huge hand? An enormous ear? Or a humongous head?

Just as the physical body has many members and work together in unity and harmony, so should the spiritual body function in the same way. This analogy teaches us several lessons.

(1) The rich diversity of the members.

Just as the human body has different kinds of members, the body of Christ is composed of people of different nationalities, genders, education levels, occupations, and ages. The diversity adds to the richness and beauty of the body.

Continue: https://thepreachersword.com/2019/09/06/are-you-a-member-of-the-body-or-just-a-member-of-the-church/

Seven Steps Towards A Greater Gospel Focus In Your Church

By Sam Rainer

Most of the unchurched are not anti-church. Few are highly antagonistic to the gospel. In fact, only about 5% of unchurched Americans are highly antagonistic to the gospel. Euangelion is the Greek word for good news, or gospel. Have believers today lost the “good” in good news? Negativity undoubtedly sells. Negative news reports get more eyeballs, as do negative posts on social media and blogs.

Eighty percent of churchgoers believe they have a personal responsibility to share their faith, yet 61% of them had not told another person about Christ in the last six months. The vast majority of Christians believe they should share their faith, but few actually do. Christians should be eternal optimists. The good news should compel us outward with love. If you’re leading a church, what can you do about the fact that most believers don’t share their faith?

Step 1: Admit the problem. In my own denomination, baptism follows conversion, and 25% of churches baptize no one in a given year. Additionally, more than half of churches in my denomination baptize less than one person every two months. Your church may be an anomaly, but most are struggling to reach people for Christ. And church leaders must do more than recognize the statistical reality. Church leaders must admit they are part of the problem as well.

Step 2: Lead by example. Evangelistic churches have evangelistic leaders. Though not an impossibility, I’ve yet to hear of an outwardly-focused church with inwardly-focused leaders. You cannot expect your church members to share their faith if you’re not leading the charge. Make it a goal to share your faith with someone every week. The median church size is 75 people. That means in most churches, if the leaders simply fulfill their responsibility of sharing the gospel, the church will grow.

Step 3: Stay positive. The gospel is good news. If you rant the gospel, it’s not the gospel. It’s just religious bluster, which does no good. Your tone is important, not as important as content, but close. The prosperity gospel warps the good news, but the poverty gospel sucks the life out of it. The gospel doesn’t bring your earthly riches. Neither does the gospel require extreme asceticism. But all Christians should be positive people. Without sacrificing sincerity and authenticity (life can be hard), the best way to share your faith is to focus on the good of the good news.

Read more: https://thomrainer.com/2019/08/seven-steps-towards-a-greater-gospel-focus-in-your-church/

Men: Don’t Neglect These 4 Key Spiritual Disciplines

https://www.crossway.org/articles/men-dont-neglect-these-4-key-spiritual-disciplines/

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/