Monday, January 01, 2007

What Does a Family Integrated Church Look Like To Me - PT 1

As I begin to take a closer look at what I feel the local church should look like I need reiterate that this is my view and how one gets to this differs depending on whether the church is already formed or is a new start. I also think that it is important that a church, and its leaders, have its own convictions as they move to a new model of how church should function. All too often churches may try and change without truly owning the convictions as to why they need to change. A church may even change to what is more faithful to God’s design for the gathered church but if the change is done simply due to pressure or seeing a model that may bring success it will in the end not glorify God as it should if the leadership does not hold strong convictions with regards to the changes being made. Without strong convictions the leadership will invariably seek to change every time some one has a new whim or there is some new “church model” that is espoused at some convention or seminar.

Also, while I would hold to a Family Integrated model of the local church I am not going to start with this aspect of church because one can seek to have a Family Integrated Church (FIC) but if they do not have a biblical focus or structure they will not in the end be Biblical. Another issue is that we need to take care that ones model of church does not begin to take precedence over a focus on God and His Word. The church all too often in seeking to promote some model or function of church begins to make that what is worshipped other than God, often inadvertently. One example of this is the church that is so focused on it’s music that the word of God is minimized. This can happen when we are so focused on doing church correctly that we neglect to be the church. I also believe that this can happen when the church holds more to a normative view of worship rather than a regulative view (more on that later)

As one looks at the church today one of the, to me at least, glaring issues is a lack of biblical leadership. All too many churches lack Biblical Elders and Deacons and thus do not function as scripture dictates. Either the church has the Lone Pastor” model of leadership or they have the “Corporate” model and everywhere in between. But I would have to ask that since scripture is clear that the local church is to be led by a plurality of Elders (Acts 11:30, 14:23; Titus 1:5b; 1 Peter 5:1: and others). For a good understanding of the Biblical function of Elders you can read Alexander Strauch’s Biblical Eldership.

Without Biblical Eldership the church will tend to become a one man show that has little if any accountability. Again, the goal is “Biblical Eldership” as there are probably many churches that have elders that either do not meet the standards of 1 Tim 3:1-7 & Titus 1:5-9 or do not function they should. A plurality of elders helps to keep the church focused and accountable and functioning as God desires. So any church regardless of how it sees ministry needing to be done, if it is to be faithful to scripture, needs to move towards an Elder led model of the local church.

The church needs to also seek to have Biblical Deacons in both standards and function. In many of today’s churches Deacons are either minimized below there importance or maximized in leadership. The truth is we need to see the importance of the servant aspect of deaconship and seek after men that fit the standards as 1 Tim 3:8-13.

As with Elders Deacons are not chosen by man’s standards but by God’s. Thus the best Elders and Deacons will not necessarily be the most successful business men and secular leaders in the church. That is why God has given us standards as those in 1 Timothy because He knows how we as a fallen man will seek our leaders.

I think next on the agenda of looking at the church will be to look at what the various ministries of the church should at a minimum be.

The following are some past things I have written that relate to how I see the Local Church gathering

The Church:
The Local Church Pt1
The Church Pt 2 - Ekklesia
The Church Pt 3: Church Local or Universal
The Church, Where? Part 4
The Church - Part 5
The Gathered Church - Pt 1
The Gathered Church – Pt 2
The Gathered Church - Pt 3
Some Random Thoughts on the Church

Family Integrated Church:
Family Friendly?
Family Friendly II
Family Integrated Church is not new
More on Family Integrated Church
Some Random Thoughts on the Church

Youth Ministry:
What to do with Youth Ministry
More on Youth Ministry .

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