Monday, December 17, 2007

Is the Church relevant?

A few months ago during seminary we viewed a presentation that asked the question, “Is the Church relevant with today’s society?” Great question. Many teenagers and adults, young and old, were interviewed. Their answer was NO.

Perhaps that is not surprising. Our church, like yours I am sure, publishes numbers on attendance, offerings and so on. The numbers continue to drop. But wait, church is not a baseball card. Something you turn over and read the stats.

So what is relevant? I will give you an example. Today I picked my daughter up from high school. Asked her how her day went. With a smile the first thing she said was that she had lunch with Pastor Kevin. Our Youth Pastor visits the schools and talks with the kids at their location in their environment. Sure he sat down with the whole crowd of kids, but to my daughter it was a personal experience. My point is that it is not the church that is relevant. It is our servants in Christ that are relevant. Like our Youth Pastor taking the time and going that extra mile to make a difference in service of Christ. Making a difference in the lives of others for Jesus.

Is church the main focus of my life? NO. Is it the focus of your life? Dare I say it better not be? Our focus should be on Christ Jesus. Easier said than done I know. A church is just four walls and a roof. Again dare I say that joining a church might be the worst thing a Christian can do? How can I say that? In the past two years, with the exception of my wife, every adult that I have seen baptized at our church has since stop attending church. Moved on and out so to speak. It is my fault. It is our church family’s fault. As Christians it is our fault. How dare we allow it to happen, but we do. It grieves me on how I have failed my Lord.

Let’s get biblical. We are children of God. It is His Church we serve. To be relevant in today’s society is not to be of today’s society, but as children of God.

God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way. Matt 5:11-12 (NLT)

Being a Christian is not about life enhancement. It is about being right with God.

By this world’s standards my life is no better since accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior. Even worst and I agree. My family and I struggle more now than ever, but heaven awaits us. I have never been closer to God.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Who wants to be a Pastor?

I am just finishing my first semester experience at seminary. I personally feel every Christian should attend at least one semester. It is an intense study in our Lord’s Word. It is eye opening to say the least. So why do statistics show that 1 out of 2 seminary graduates leave the ministry after just a few years?

If you had to write up a job description for your Pastor how would it look? Just looking at what our ministers have to go through I would describe it like this.

Skills include but not limited to: cop, referee, cheerleader, manager, fundraiser, financial advisor, judge, counselor, administrator, teacher, student, salesman, marketer, news anchor, and so on and so on. Not one CEO in the Fortune 500 could meet these requirements. Yet we require our Pastors to meet these standards and more every day of the week.

Our church has several hundred who meet every Sunday. Can you even imagine what it might be like to be on call 24 hours a day? You could receive a call at any time from hundreds and have to respond to their needs immediately regardless of your own family’s needs. It is not fair. It is not biblical.

Mark 16:15 (NLT) And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.”

God’s Word is clear on what we all should be doing. Our Pastors have dedicated their lives to just that. Why as Christians have we decided to get in the way and try to stop those fulfilling what we are all commanded to do? Our Pastors stand in the open to preach and teach God’s Word. They stand in judgment of God and are a clear target for Satan to attack. Many of our Pastors seem to be engaged in having to pull our churches along rather than leading us from the flames of Hell.

There are only two professions I have any respect for. First are firefighters. The building is on fire. People run out. Firefighters run in. It is not natural. The second is ministers. They have given up their lives to serve others. Both save lives. One profession is for eternity.

Please pray for your Pastor. Pray for protection and strength for them. Look for ways to minister to your Minister’s needs.

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