Saturday, February 21, 2009

Soap Opera of the Lukewarm church:

Any waiter at a restaurant will tell you that when serving others do-not-be surprised by the comments your patrons may openly say out loud. The same goes for the church.

While in the middle of searching for a new Pastor many questionable comments have been made from senior church members. Comments I have found disturbing, but describe the problems facing our churches for the past 40 years. Many older church members are afraid of a new young pastor fresh out of seminary. Claiming their inexperience will be a hindrance. Nearly all churches these days require their senior pastors to have at least a doctoral degree(s). You would be hard pressed to find such a requirement for the CEO’s of the Fortune 500 companies. We have a hard enough time getting church members to attend a 40-minute Sunday School class let alone attending seminary. Ask yourself this question, “Does our church encourage or sponsor our members to enter into the service of the Ministry?” Some may sponsor Missionary work and give a missionary offering once a year.

Each month we hear more and more pastors leaving the ministry. At the same time we hear reports of fewer and fewer students enrolling into seminary. This has been going on for decades. What did Jesus tell us?

He said to his disciples, The harvest is great, but the workers are few.
Matt 9:37 (NLT)

Church enrollment has been sliding downward for decades. Baptisms too. The church has lost its influence but more important it has lost its respect within society. We are Americans. We love numbers. So much so we feel it is the only way to keep score. Is that what Jesus taught?

In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! Luke 15:7 (NLT)

Over the last 10 months I have been watching the employment section of a major Baptist publication. Over and over there are requests for Senior Pastors, Associate Pastors and Music Ministers. Asking for years of experience and degrees in education. In the last 10 months I have not seen one ad from one church calling for a man of God. Not one yet. What does God’s Word have to say about this?

When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.
1 Cor 2:1-5 (NLT)

Paul clearly shows us that the qualifications are not eloquent speech. A man of God is not an entertainer. Not one of long words that few can understand. He focused on Christ. Without Christ he had no purpose or reason. Paul came to us plain and simple before God. Relying solely on God the way all of us should.

We set standards we cannot live up too, let alone God’s standards. Let’s stop trying to reset the bar expecting our pastors, preachers, and servants of God to jump through flaming hoops to serve us. Instead let us follow their lead in serving Christ.

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