| Problems with Home Church|
we have been quiet for the past couple of weeks trying to work through some issues that have arisen in our home church.
We have both been feeling that something hasn't been right. It appears that the majority of our home church seem to think that our regular "church" is not something of a commitment.
It is rather something that is worth attending if they feel like it. There is no real sense of support towards each other.
This week we had a very difficult situation within the church. What we thought were our elder type couple just do not want to be that, they feel that they do not have any time to put into developing the church, or being open to counselling others - or anything that takes up time. They have their own personal reasons for this.
I realised now that we have a completely different view on what church is. WE expected this church to be important and that memebers would be willing to commit to attending and supporting each other, regardless of the cost to our own personal time. I sort of view my church family as my family.
We realise that it has all come to one word, "commitment". It just seems to be more something that those who do come, to get something out for themselves, with no focus on selfless serving of others within this church.
We had completely the wrong idea and this other couple do not feel that they should have to put any more extra time into this little body of believers, as they have others of their lives that are more priority.
I guess I realise that there are people in churches like this where you just attend and get out of the sermon and walk out and you do other things in your life. Church for me is about building up a foundation, building up each other, laying a strong foundation and developing strong relationships and friendships - so it is a place that if someone turns up on a Sunday, and the sermon has raised some issues that people are willing to support this person, whatever the cost. To me sometimes this cost will cut significantly into the hours of my personal time, but I do not mind.
I guess we are coming from a different perspective on what "church" is meant to be.
Am I weird or crazy in thing about church the way I am and get a more casual non-committal stance?
I would appreciate any thoughts.
Please be gentle and kind with your words.
| 2011/9/20 19:50||Profile|
| Re: Problems with Home Church|
Well see, here is an example of something that always bothered me about organized religion held in regular church buildings: the members' christianity only goes as far as the front door. It is just a religious middle class club for middle class religious people. There is no real "family" outside of the Sunday service. They show up for the performance, pay their dues, and then leave. You never see them again all week until the next service (performance)--IF they show up. Or only if the Superbowl is on that Sunday and everyone is gathering around a tv. No invites to dinner, no offers to help, no care for the homeless, no evangelistic activity or outreach, etc. Ask anyone from church to go downtown with you to hand out tracts and all your hear is excuses. Or invite someone to dinner in one's own humble, tiny abode and you get excuses or shame. They say they are busy with their grandkids or their kids, their relatives, or they "just can't make it".
| 2011/9/20 20:12||Profile|
| Re: Problems with Home Church|
A friend of mine wanted to start a mission and he was able to get a hall free of charge from the lady who was Greek orthodox who ran a boutique below. She told him that he could use it as long as he wanted without charge. Everything seemed to have gone well but there was no one that wanted to work with him. We are going back quite a few years and at the time I was very much wet behind the ears in the ways of the Lord and I had a low opinion of myself. But he, being my friend wanted me to be on his team. But he needed to find out if the people that were going to work with him were going to be committed. Since my self esteem was in the toilet, I really didn't know how to commit myself since I lacked the courage to commit. All the people that he had asked were not willing to commit themselves. He finally told the lady that he wasn't going to keep the mission and left. Years later, someone else came along and opened up a mission there and I was amongst that and was able to give myself readily to support it with my commitments.
I said all that to say this, if the people that you have are not willing to commit themselves to the work of the home group, you will have to ask them to go somewhere where they can commit themselves. And surround yourself with those that do want to be apart of the work.
Moses's congregation was filled with half hearted people, and they didn't go anywhere until their generation died off.
It can be costly because those people that don't want to commit could be your best friends or your wife's friends or worse be co workers at work, and to tell them that could cost you. So you'll need to really pray and ask the Lord "if they are not for the work, then get rid of em", at least you may not have to say anything.
| 2011/9/20 20:34|
| Re: |
i wish you could come to our church, many times we leave church just to end up at our house or some one else's home we are always eating at church before or after church. i call them a bunch of social butterflies. I love our church just had to say that all churches haven't drifted away from Gods plan
| 2011/9/20 21:32||Profile|
| Re: |
Hi :) A
pproved I appreciate your thoughts,
Actually I have shared our thoughts and that is why we had a big blow up this week. I wrote an email (which was wrong it should have been face to face), just asking this couple for more of their time and in a way I came across as judgemental because I said that they were too precious about their "down time".
When we got 2gether face to face last night, I was told that I really had no right to say what they are to do in their down time. This lady facilitates the women's bible study and she always has a clock on the table and makes sure we all leave her house by 9pm (starts 7:30pm). Whenever we chat on the phone, she always starts off saying she can only spare 20 mins or so. She has been up front with me saying that they cannot spare more than Sunday church time, the home study (and me must leave by 9pm) and the odd lunchtime in her lunch break every now and then.
I have had to accept that this is how they are, as when we tried to explain to them last night that it makes or creates a vibe where if the Spirit wants to do something else or if someone needs more help, prayer and support, then their clock/watch is a big problem. She has answered in the past that God will use the time she is able to give sufficiently. But the problem is I feel short changed almost every time we meet. I know that God isn't ruled by a watch - there is something just not right in my spirit about this.
I was told that my thinking was crazy, that their personal time is used to other things - like recuperating. They are a couple with no kids living on a tropical island, they work full time (8am - 4pm) with no other external commitments. They do both work, one as a teacher - but in respect for them, they were worked to the bone before coming here and now they feel this is the time they need to support each other and hang together and have nights to call and skype their adult children, go out for dinners with friends they have made. They feel God is using them, in this way, through that sort of thing, outside of just our little church.
I had been honest in my email, saying that without their willing to bend their personal time I feel like our little body is just not able to function, it feels like being short changed. They have so much wisdom to give, but we are not getting it - they are not willing to give it. At women's group the lady says all these incredibly amazing Godly things, but none of us get to hear the journey of how she came to that point - no real discipleship.
When she spoke about this, they said that this is the reason why they didn't want the church as we have it now being like that because they do not want to be in the role of teaching others or helping grow others.
There was no compromise last night. They were angry about my email and felt I was attacking in it. I apolgised for coming across judgemental because clearly this is a battle we won't win. Whem my husband tried to interject and say from an indepenedat position he also thinks that having a clock on the table at every home cell and always telling someone they have only x amount of time is not normal - she just flipped out. She said she has never been in a church where people don't work to the clock.
She said she could not understand my position at all, but she will attempt to.
I had wrong expectations of this friendship and also expecting her to natually fall into the position of older woman teaching younger women. I just thought after 18 months I would be able to receive some more of her time to learn godly truth and wisdom.
But I had the wrong expectations and now I am clear where they stand that they are not willing to give us any time.
The whole church thing just seems not right in my spirit.
It was meant to be a place where we could be open about pointing out if we thought someone had an issue with something. I really feel that this clock and constant talk of how they don't have any time to spare, makes it an uncomfortable place for current memebrs and specially people wantin to invite others. They said that this is just ridiculous that we think this. That it is our thinking.
I am not trying to involve any of you in this situation.
What I am wanting advice on is how to proceed forward. We have us (A)(2 adults, 1 child), them (B)(2 adults), another couple (C)(2 adults), another family (D)(2 adults, 2 children) and another family ((E) (2 adults, 4 children)
Couple C appear to be committed but if the rugby is on late, then they may not be able to come. (Just appears this way at the moment with Rugby world cup). Family D are real gems - they are commited...the man leads the church in singing with guitar and has tried to get the father from E to go to music practice, but not interested. Family E are completely uncommited. They work shifts and so turn up sometimes and sometimes not.
We grouped together because this island we live on needs a true godly bible based church. The rest range from dodgy/cult like stuff through to never know what you expect to hear biblical truth on Sunday. The only other church we can attend has major problems too - the pastors kids are in an out of jail and teaches doctrines that are just not biblical.
What do we do?
We cannot seriously go to the rest of the group ,as there is really only one other couple who would be "committed". Couple C actually do do things outside of Sunday, but the problem is that no-one is interested in witnessing or evangelising just watching DVD's that are sinful and ungodly.
Would it be better to be in a church, where there is actually authority and people who passionately love the Lord and give up of their personal time to serve and witness whatever the cost BUT have slightly weird doctrines and who don't follow biblical protocol for leadership?
I feel gutted realising we are not amongst like minded people and I am really struggling with going ahead into home cell with this lady faciliating when it just seems like superficial. We can pray for each other for 15 minutes but we have to get out the door by 9pm. I know this lady has a genuine love for the Lord, but it just seems so completely opposite to the Spirit within me. I feel like this issues about not imposing on their time just doesn't sit right in my spirit.
Is this right?
| 2011/9/20 21:33||Profile|
| Re: |
That is just what I believe. I am glad I am not actually crazy!!!
When I think about what has happened and confronting this couple about what I believe are issues - I am sure Paul would have done this to the people he was ministering to.
Of course I understand that people shouldn't be worked to the bone. But I guess it is an attitude of showing the grace and love of Christ to others in need of support, not matter the cost to me - my personal down time etc.
I just cannot sit down and watch DVD every night that are of trash and of no Godly value to my walk and not feel guilty or convicted in the Spirit.
I can't be so unwilling to give of my time to brothers and sisters either.
I need God's grace to somehow accept these people and their accusations that I'm just crazy and that normal Christians aren't like this.
It just repels everything in me.
They believe that in churches most people spend huge amounts of time doing things just to please those that are asking them, when they are bitter inside doing it, becuase they weren't convicted in the 1st place by the Lord to do it.
My husband always sends out encouraging passionate emails to the men, he has asked for people to come with him witnessing on the streets - no -one wants to, they say it is not their style!!!
Please pray for us, please pray specifically for God's grace and mercy in our thinking and actions.
| 2011/9/20 21:40||Profile|
| Re: Problems with Home Church|
as a pastor i have seen a shift in our society. in the days of my youth i remember may grand parents retired and became the churches greatest resource. but today with the economy the way it is, derelict son and daughters have forced the elderly to continue their careers to make ends meet or care for their grand kids. it seems they have lost their commitment to the church if many every had it to begin with. but the bright light is that young adults like yourself are making a shift back to a Godly commitment, which unfortunately means you are the committed one to whom people need to look too. so My prays are with you and God Bless you.
| 2011/9/20 21:50||Profile|
| Re: |
I wonder if the lady who adheres to the clock so much is a person who feels overwhelmed. Maybe she feels she has so little time leftover at the end of each day and is feeling so overwhelmed that she is desperately trying to control every minute of it now? It does seem as if we have less and less time even though we have more and more conveniences.
If they don't want to help teach others it is likely not their gift. I would make it a point to find out what each person's gifts are (both spiritual and otherwise) and use their own gifts to attract them to group commitment. There is nothing that makes a person want to do something more than if they feel they are really doing what they are gifted in or made for. It doesnt make sense to push someone into a teaching role if teaching is not their gift. Perhaps her gift is administration or leadership (hence the organized way she runs her household on the clock, lol). A person endowed with mercy and discernment should be given the role of counseling others.And so on.
| 2011/9/20 23:04||Profile|
| Re: Problems with Home Church|
when I read your description of the people in your fellowship the one thing that comes to mind is that even though they may be believers none of them are true disciples of the Lord Jesus. What I mean to say is that knowledge alone is not a reliable sign of discipleship. In your acocunt I hear everybody running their own agenda rather than the Lord's agenda, people getting angry because they have been critizized, people having other priorities. It is a description of people who have not yet died to themselves that Christ might be formed in them. Compare them to Galatians 2:20, Mt 10:37-39 and Lk 14:33. How do they measure up? How do you and I measure up for that matter?
As a true disciple of Christ it is no longer about me and my rights, preferences and ideas. Decisions are made based on what the Lord has commanded me and not on whether it suits me or not. Sherid, you can not change them but you can intercede for them. Start with yourself to make sure you have surrendered all to Him and then pray for the others specifically and expectantly.
And remember, it is also not about you and whether you have a cozy, feel good, little home fellowship. It is about advancing the kingdom and you might have to be the one who goes to war for the Lord against the spiritual strongholds on your island. Carry the suffering and sacrifice that come with it knowing that God has entrusted you with an eternal task. Even if we lose everything we own, all family and friends and all comfort, He is enough!
I pray that you and your husband will bring glory to God in all you do. Seek His face and be available to Him for His purpose. May His blessing rest on you.
| 2011/9/21 0:27||Profile|
| Re: Problems with Home Church|
I really don't know why you would require someone to commit to your home church. To me that's really the appeal of it, a tie knitted group of people that simply live and love one another being an source of encouragement.
If the couple or anyone doesn't want to commit as much as you want them to that's their decision and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Time is percious and should be treated as such. Growing up in the religious machine known as church it was all about "commitment" and when you didn't commit enough you were judged and looked down upon.
Like one time I was at a prayer meeting the pastor said opening if you would like to go you can. My wife and kids were at home while I was at the meeting the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart to go home and pray with them instead. I was repremiaded for leaving because apparently "its okay to leave if you like" didn't apply to me.
When talked to by my pastor I asked What I did when I went home. His reponse was "probably watched TV" which was a judgemental statement because I went home as the Holy Spirt told me to do and prayed with my little family the TV wasn't ever turned on.
Ultimately Family comes first in my book and any good pastor will set up boundaries to protect their family time from being consumed by their church time. If the couple doesn't feel they can make that commitment then THANK them for being honest and upfront, think they could have said they were commited and taken on the responsibility and then abandon their responsibilies as time went on. Sounds like they saved you a headache. Also I understand establishing elders that's great but I would perhaps shy away from what can become of it, meaning instead of being organic and someone seeking help from anyone within your group they always rely and go to that one couple over and over again. We are all to be a source of encouragement and guidance for one another not one set "leader" or even a couple. Do you know how exhausting that would be for that leader or couple? Of course you do.
The Word is clear on what Church is suppose to look like use it as your guide and don't look at what the organized religion has shown you throughout your whole life. The "one man show system" is going to fall garenteed. Look to everyone in the group perhaps this Sunday instead of listening to a sermon ask the entire group not if they are commited but What is church to them. Get on the same page. Because church is always different in everyones eyes and THEN instead of getting a manmade fruitcake or puzzle like church definition LOOK to the word and say do we match this? because that really should be our definition unfortunately manmade religion has really pressed into us all sorts of unbiblical things.
| 2011/9/21 4:43||Profile|