Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Some Random Thoughts on The Church

Before I delve into what I feel is the structure a church should have, and I do feel that the church or Ekklesia of God does require a structure I thought I would just share some thoughts I have had recently upon some articles I have read and some MP3’s I have listened to.

- When we see the word church and realize the Greek word used is Ekklesia we need to realize God had a purpose for choosing that word for both its use in the New Testament and the Septuagint. The reason being that it carried with it a meaning already that God desired to be carried over to its use with regards to the people of God. One of those reasons is to show that those in the church are not only called out, to be holy, but the called out ones are also to be gathered together with some manner of organization as the word would convey to the original listener/reader.

- I find it interesting how so often the church seeks to be current on the cutting edge but in reality they, in general, simply just copy the world. By this I mean as I read through stuff on the internet I find that the idea of actually having a church that did not have a youth group as it is commonly conceived of is balked at. There are usually some scripture thrown around but it seems that the common reasons for having such a group are built more around secular teaching and humanistic understandings of youth than around God’s desires for youth

- The above also applies to the whole concept of having an age integrated church. People seem to immediately question how a child or youth can get anything out of the regular service but again this is based on humanistic findings about learning and such. This creates a tension that should not exist if people could only see where their understanding truly come from.

- The hesitancy of the church to change is not just in the area of how to do ministry as it also extends even to the structure of the church. It seems to me that it is hard not to read scripture and come to the conclusion that the church is called to be structured around “biblical” Eldership (a plurality) and “biblical” Deacons. But when this subject is broached in many churches it is avoided like the plague. The probable reason is that the church for all too long has chosen its leadership for all but biblical reasons and standards and if one is to have biblical leadership things have to change drastically.

- While some may see the benefit, even the biblical call, of a family integrated church structure they struggle with what to do about those that will not see things the same way and not stay. The issue here is that it begins to be people that dictate how one does church rather than God’s word. If one truly believes God is sovereign over all things then we should not be afraid to move forward and structure church as God calls for. We simply need to trust more in God than pragmatism and salesmanship and move forward with the goal of glorifying God and making true disciples and not simply filling seats and taking in bucks.

- I was listening to a talk the other day and it struck me that in focusing simply on evangelism without a means to disciple we are not being the best stewards of God’s resources we could be. For example if we do not disciple those that we share with in foreign countries there may be many converts in this generation but because they have not been discipled on discipling future generations we will be back in that same country not too many generations later. We can see this in countries such as Germany and England where the generational discipleship was lacking and the generations slowly drifted from being God centered. The issue of not discipling the next generation and it leading to future generations “not knowing God” is not new. If you read Judges 2:10 and the context around it you see a nation that strayed form the Lord and see the disastrous effect on future generations. By the way unless things are not changed soon in America we will be in the same place as others are now.

- Ones view on end times may drive how they see the function of the church. It is my opinion that if one holds to the dispensational view of end times they will tend to focus simply on evangelism and add on discipleship if there is time and resources. However this misses the goal of Matt 28:18-20 which is not simply to make converts but to make disciples and to make disciples that not only know but obey the commands of Christ.

These are just some thoughts that I need to work through but definitely do see a need to address these issues. I have been more convinced by scripture and other reading that the church has to change and not in the way it is currently being changed. So over the next few months I will continue to work through how I think that God desires the church, the local church, is to look like.

No comments: