Monday, September 18, 2006

Which Is Harder? Being...Doing...Going?
I've got a burr in my saddle and need to get it out. I've been a christian since 1977, I've been in the ministry since 1979 and in full time ministry since 1982...things have changed since I first began this journey...and sometimes I really wonder where we're going.
I consider myself modern, love the term "Cutting Edge", am the associate pastor of a church who's motto is "Real...Relevant, and Refreshing", and I love new stuff...change is an inevitable and integral part of life...not just the christian life... just life in general.
With that said, I have noticed that there is a great emphasis these days on leaving what we know as church, not just upgrading or updating, No, absolutely moving away and stepping into new territories...I'm not against new territories, what I'm concerned about is abandoning the absolutes of scripture and developing a "religion" that says everything we've been and taught previously was rubbish, let's explore and develop something new.
People aren't coming to church much these days, and those that are walk in the door as if they've entered a spiritual Super Walmart...their first question is what programs do you have, what can you offer me and my family? I truly believe that church must have programs, and those programs must be relevant to those we are ministering to and to the culture and climate we live in...believe me, relevance is relevant...but how do we differentiate between being the church, going to church, and doing church? Is there a place where we simply remember that we are the church and that our local church and the church at large will only be as dedicated and as spiritual, and as biblically sound, and as vibrant, and as loving...as we are? I'm just asking a question, is the church lost in the dust of days gone by? Have we lost relevance in todays society, have we ventured into a new day where we need to catch up...Or do we need to discover who we are and what God is calling us to be at the place He has planted us and be the very best we can be...I'm just asking!

6 comments:

Darrell said...

Neil, I hear you loud and clear. I find myself asking these same questions nearly everyday. To be honest, a lot of the trends today scare me to death because as I see ministry after ministry abandoning our heritage, I fear that the thing Christ warned of are happening in our time. I embrace the new. I love how God is moving... but not all that we see is God. Read this familiar passage from The Message translation:

Mark 13:22 MSG
Fake Messiahs and lying preachers are going to pop up everywhere. Their impressive credentials and dazzling performances will pull the wool over the eyes of even those who ought to know better.

And try this one:
2 Timothy 3:13 MSG
Unscrupulous con men will continue to exploit the faith. They're as deceived as the people they lead astray. As long as they are out there, things can only get worse.

I see this happening right before our eyes. Many pastors/leaders are throwing out EVERYTHING of the past in exchange for the new. I realize that most of these people are not intending to turn their back on God, but they are following the trend that they see working at someone else's church. It is exciting... It draws crowds! It heightens the emotions.. but we need to ask, "Is it really of God?"

I really have to question this trend of "controlling" the Holy Spirit. (We used to call that grieving the Holy Ghost, back in the day) I cannot understand telling the Holy Ghost, "We welcome you in this house, but you cannot speak." That is in effect exactly what is being done in this current movement.

As you said, change is necessary and it is good, but I fear many are selling out trying to win over and please the crowd rather than seeking after and pleasing a Holy God.

Neil said...

I spoke with a pastor yesterday who had some members trying to get him to dress down...he's always extremely dressed, nicely, even during the when out and about. They mentioned to him a pastor from another city who is growing leaps and bounds and he just wears jeans and shirts untucked...Don't misunderstand me here, I dress like that all the time, often in revivals I wear a suit with the shirt untucked...so I'm not against that, but if a pastor's success is determined by his dress, his church is shallow!

Our problem is we are in a competition to model what everyone else is doing in order to achieve their same results. People don't come to our church because we're like everyone else, they come because we offer what they're looking for and it's authenic!

I need to adjust myself, but I also must be true to myself...be who I am!

ruthrap said...

you are absolutely right, Neil, you too, Darrell. If we are going to judge someone by their apparel or the aesthetics of their church, we are a sad bunch of worshipers! It's what we are taught, how we are treated, the humbleness of the pastor, and the presence of The Holy Spirit that makes a church inviting to those who attend there! All the hype and flash of the mega-churches may attract a lot of people, but my question is: Are they there for the right reason?

Travis Johnson said...

FYI-I linked to you at cogcatalyst.com.

Neil said...

Thanks Travis! I'm honored to be connected in some way to you, your zeal for the ministry encourages me!

Anonymous said...

YOu know I read this post after I posted what I did.. God has really been pushing me in my own life to get back to the simplicity of seeking Him and having that relationship with him... because He has lost the priority place in our lives.

than kyou for your post :)