The 4 Questions the Church Must Answer to Be Relevant

https://churchleaders.com/pastors/videos-for-pastors/326557-the-4-questions-the-church-must-answer-to-be-relevant.html

Church Should Be Your Excuse for Missing Everything Else

I am under the unwavering conviction that unless I am genuinely ill, people are in the throes of death, my legs are rendered inoperable, or we are trapped in our house, church attendance is mandatory. I will not miss it. Even when I’ve had to miss it under those circumstances, which is quite rare indeed, I have hated it. However, for the sake of being completely transparent, this was not always the case, especially early on in my faith. There was a point in my life where I consistently worked on Sundays. I was a Christian and had been for only a couple years at that point, yet I considered myself to be a faithful Christian who was stuck in between a rock and a hard place. I had no other means of income that I was bringing into the family at that time. My wife worked, but we needed both streams of income to make ends meet and care for our newborn—and yet there was a steadily growing conviction in my heart that I should be coming to church every single Sunday.

While the argument could be made that it was necessary for me to miss due to the circumstances I found myself in, the reality was that I needed to swallow my pride, get another job that could allow me to attend church on a weekly basis, and just be found faithful to come. At some point, the conviction came to me that church was a non-negotiable. What’s more than this is that I came to believe church attendance is a non-negotiable for every Christian. The reason this is so is that I believe the New Testament teaches that our time together as believers in formal, corporate worship, is to be one of the most precious things we partake in as Christians. I believe that regular attendance is so important that it reveals our hearts and priorities. It reveals much of what we treasure, and likewise, much of what we don’t. It especially reveals what we understand about the person of Christ and His saving work upon the cross. Right then and there is where I lost several of the readers.

The rest is at: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/chorusinthechaos/church-your-excuse-for-missing-everything/

3 Ways “Temple” Thinking Still Infects the Church Today

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. Mark 11:15-18

A haunting question I recently asked my church was: If Jesus were alive today, would he applaud how we worship him or would he start turning over tables? I know the immediate answer is that Jesus would automatically applaud how we worship him, I mean it’s all for him, right? But remember, the temple in Jerusalem was the very epicenter of God worship in ancient Israel. It was the place to go to worship God. And Jesus (God’s son) trashed the place. In a previous post I shared just what made Jesus so angry about the first century temple. The temple was designed for people to encounter God but instead it became a cash cow that fleeced the people and enriched the chief priest and his family. Even though we don’t have a temple in Christianity that we center our religion around, temple thinking still infects today’s churches:

Read more: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/newwineskins/3-ways-temple-thinking-still-infects-the-church-today/

5 Spiritual Dangers of Skipping Church

By Nathan Rose

I read recently that my denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, has a total of 16 million members, but on a typical Sunday, only 6 million of those members attend their local church’s corporate worship gathering. Considering the importance and necessity of corporate worship for the Christian, this is a very discouraging statistic. Not only is it disheartening, but it is also spiritually dangerous for those who profess Christ, but regularly ends up skipping church.

Dangers of Regularly Skipping Church

Below, I want to list some reasons and explain why skipping church is a really bad idea. [1]

1. You will miss out on God’s primary design for your spiritual growth and well-being.

The central aspect of corporate worship is the preaching of God’s Word. The proclamation of Scriptures is God’s primary means for a disciple of Jesus to grow in spiritual maturity. When a professing Christian misses church they are missing God’s prescribed process for spiritual growth.

2. You disobey God.

Corporate worship is not optional for the Christian, according to the Bible. Hebrews 10:24-25 makes this clear:

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some…”

Author and pastor, Greg Gilbert comments on this passage, “At the very least, therefore, we have to say that, for every Christian, attendance at church gatherings is not optional. The author of Hebrews—and therefore the Holy Spirit himself—commands Christians to be present when the believers to whom he or she belongs gather.”

At my church, we reflect this biblical command in our church covenant, which states:

“We commit, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit to…continue meeting together regularly [and] work together for the continuance of a faithful evangelical ministry in this church, as we sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines.”

God’s people ought to strive to keep God’s commands. One of his commands is meeting together regularly for corporate worship.

There is more: https://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/317705-5-spiritual-dangers-skipping-church-nathan-rose.html

If You Go to Church to Be Ministered to You’re Missing the Point

Are you going to church just to be ministered to? Church hopping, church skipping and church judging is all too common these days. It seems that many people are struggling to find the “right” church with the “right” pastor who has the “right preaching style.” Maybe you struggle with this in a less overt way. Perhaps you go to church and feel bored or disillusioned. Or maybe going to church is just a part of your Sunday routine that you don’t think about when Monday comes along.

Be challenged by the rest: https://churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/324710-if-you-go-to-church-to-be-ministered-to-youre-missing-the-point.html

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/

10 Reasons Many Churches Aren’t Friendly To Guests

Chuck Lawless

I’ve previously written about findings of “church secret shoppers” we’ve used in church consulting. One of those findings is that many churches aren’t very friendly to guests. Here are some of the reasons that’s the case:

  1. Caveat: Churches are friendly, but only to people they already know. That’s why churches almost always assert how friendly they are, and guests often talk of how friendly they aren’t.
  2. No one’s ever evaluated them. I’ve never talked to a church who told me how unfriendly they are. On the other hand, they’ve never really tested that conclusion by seeking input from guests—particularly, the guests who never return.
  3. Congregations don’t even know each other. The reality is that most members have a small circle of friends in the church, and they don’t know many people beyond that circle. If they aren’t really in relationship with other church members, it’s not surprising that they don’t reach out to guests.
  4. They leave the “friendliness” responsibility to others. After all, they think, the extroverts and the talkers are wired for that task. When the greeters are doing their job, other members shouldn’t have to worry about it.

 

Read the rest: http://chucklawless.com/2020/01/10-reasons-churches-arent-friendly-to-guests/