| Letting them walk away|
Francis Chan (warning church leaders not to build their church to please people, but rather to please God):
"We're not doing people any favors by pretending they are the center of the universe. Either people will be awed by the sacred or they will not. If the sacred is not enough, then it is clear that the Spirit has not done a work in their lives. If the sheep don't hear His voice, let them walk away. Don't call out with your own voice."
| 2018/9/26 8:29||Profile|
Richmond, California USA
| Re: Letting them walk away|
Greetings in the Lord, Todd. May His grace, mercy and pure love abound within you, keeping you securely in Christ.
Humbly and sadly, I would submit this spiritually discerned observation, in His grace and Spirit: Most congregational leadership settles for people-pleasing tendencies for a couple of reasons. First and most foundational, to be honest and realistic with ourselves and God, we need to be willing to admit the proliferation of seemingly endless numbers of independent ministries and congregations CANNOT be the result of the holy and pure guidance of the Lord. The array of differences - clinging to pet-doctrines, methods, personalities, and other divisive distinctions - clearly contradict the Holy Spirit's nature to draw attention to Christ and unify those truly led by Him. This should make it obvious the vast majority of those organizations, which people loosely call "churches," are fleshly, self-serving and self-sufficient institutions, unable to function healthfully.
Whether they enter into service as truly spiritual believers, or not, many in positions of charge or influence get comfortable with making a living from being a religious leader. As they cater to those who come and go in "attendance" and "membership," it is to their advantage and serves their interests to keep as many people coming back as possible. Their salaries are most likely paid with money brought in, from donations and offerings, which assure they can keep their positions in tact. So, to the point of your quotation, they most certainly can find themselves tempted, if not plainly motivated, to compromise the truth and/or practice some level of manipulation and control of the messages, methods and overall activities of the congregation.
Until His Spirit born and filled people are willing to step back, stay on their knees and not settle for trying in any way to rely upon our own understanding of the way His body and church should look and function, things will remain a chaotic mess.
So, I agree with the quotation, to be sure. However, before we can expect leaders to stop pleasing people and hope for a better experiences of fellowship and ministry, we need to put on the brakes and WAIT upon the Lord! We need to repent of running ahead of Him, quit creating new and maintaining existing, faulty ways of "playing church" and let God actually raise up His own Spirit filled and Spirit gifted members, connect and bind together His true body and teach us to do things His way, alone.
There is much more we could discuss, in detail, if our humble, sincere willingness allows for it. For now, I pray you will trust my heart is filled with love for His genuine body of believers - anywhere and everywhere. I eagerly wait for God to show us the ways He has planned to bind us together and grow us, more healthfully, as ONE - including the identification and proper placement of righteous, wise, uncompromising leadership. Let us never settle for merely acknowledging this as proper doctrine; rather, practice it, as He develops us into His holy bride.
| 2018/9/26 14:34||Profile|
| Re: Letting them walk away|
Where can I find this sermon? I'd like to hear it!
| 2018/9/26 18:59||Profile|
| Re: |
I hear what Francis is saying and I fully agree, but put your self in the pastors place for a moment so that you may understand in a small measure the gravity of "let them walk away".
A godly pastor must balance out the need for tending the sheep, caring for the weak, helping the ignorant, raising up the wounded and fearful with...delivering a message that on the surface sounds so much like "Its my way or the highway" take your pick! Many will take the highway because they do not understand and know the love of God as they should...a godly pastor knows this and sets himself in a place to bring the love of God to such a person.
There are men and women that frequent this discussion board that are in reality 'mighty men and women of valor' they have fought many a battle and won, the know the love of God deeply and when such a slogan is tossed out...they have no fear because the love of God has cast out fear of rejection.
But others are not yet aware and experienced in the love of God as they are and need more than 'let them walk'.
Again, some pastors are fearful such a statement will only garner a rapid loss of people, a huge loss in finances, a questioning board of elders and a congregation wondering why the pastor 'wants new converts and to disciple but is happy to send them out the back door very easily'.
While Francis wisdom in the matter is no doubt godly and I don't question it for a moment, I believe all of us should consider the office and ministry of a pastor is by no means an easy job and such statements while true may also cause heartache in them as well.
Hirelings are another matter altogether.
| 2018/9/27 11:18||Profile|
| Re: |
Savannah’- it is a quote from his book that just came out “letters to the church.”
| 2018/9/28 7:27||Profile|
| Re: Letting them walk away|
Thank you for sharing this timely word from brother Francis. While I’m not sure when he said it, your sharing was (for me) in perfect step with the spirit of Christ as it is quite consistent with something He has been very patiently trying to teach me, which I must admit I’ve been somewhat resistant to due to my “programming”.
I hope you find this edifying and that the spirit of truth bears witness in spite of possibly being offensive...
Often nowadays “truth is sacrificed on the alter of niceness”,... it’s as if we’re trying to compensate for what is the inevitable effect of the truth being presented. Jesus never did this,... quite to the contrary, truth was always wrapped in love and love isn’t necessarily “nice”. Jesus, if we’re being honest, wasn’t really a “nice” person (especially when measured by modern PC terms). Now that is not to detract from the kindness, mercy, gentleness, or patience of our Lord for surely He is all that and more! However that, when carefully considering the narrative, does not equate to “niceness”.
In fact, in many readily observable cases, He was by all accounts harsh, abrupt, rude, or seemingly detached. These instances as recorded in the writ have been (for me) obvious - yet veiled in a sense by my “programming”. This programming is the product, not of Christ, but of the world as our Lord has so patiently and gently revealed by opening His word through His personal discourse with me. This unveiling has led me to gasp at the gaping misconceptions I have held regarding His person, His character as clearly and consistently revealed in the scriptures... yet I couldn’t/wouldn’t accept it as it did not conform to my programming.
This programming of which I speak is perhaps the common deception spoken about in scripture,... often I have observed myself and others act out of an obligation to be “nice” so as not to “seem” uncaring or
un-Christlike. It’s as if I/we are more concerned about not offending someone rather than preserving the integrity of the truth which we bear, effectively sacrificing the truth on an alter of niceness to appease the unbelieving world.
Again I submit to you our Lord never did this!
There is a subtle yet cancerous seed contained within that robs the body of believers of any demonstrable efficacy. As what we are ultimately doing (wether subconsciously or not) is taking Gods name in vain, believing that our benevolent intent is somehow more effective than God's Holy Spirit. Else why would we even consider not “letting the walk away” but calling with our own voices in vanity as if our call was more capable than the call of His Spirit!???
There are far too many instances of this practice of our worldly programming to list in detail but if you would bear with me a little longer there is one supposition that requires addressing as it’s affects are systemic in nature. We have a tendency to suppose that if our Lord says a thing it must be objectively true in all cases without first “testing” this hypothesis against the written record. As such many assumptive inferences find a well prepared home in our heart.
“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Now we take this as a unilateral truth to be applied in all cases (where many an errant doctrines have taken root) yet when measured against the written record, this assumption, not our Lords words, comes up lacking.
Take the account in the gospels of the “rich young ruler” as against the story of “Zacchaeus” -
In the first we have an upright /innocent “law abiding” nobleman coming unto Jesus seeking salvation, yet he walks away sad... not at all finding that which he sought- assurance.
In the very next chapter by contrast we have a second account where a “known/self-admitted” sinner who himself dare not approach Jesus, yet was called by name... after Jesus invites Himself over for dinner, obliging the man publicly to host Him, this Zacchaeus who is obviously affected by Jesus imposing Himself upon him cannot but confess and repent immediately doing works meet with repentance!
Do you see it?
This I believe is (in part) what brother Francis is getting at by his statement... “ If the sacred is not enough, then it is clear that the Spirit has not done a work in their lives. If the sheep don't hear His voice, let them walk away. Don't call out with your own voice."
In the first case Jesus Himself let an “innocent/law abiding” man walk away who had “come into him” ... yet in the second He Himself pursued a man who by all accounts wasn’t “seeking salvation” and was openly living in sin!
This is difficult to square with our “programming” ... our man made and quite presumptuous doctrines which attempt to lock the Spirit of the living God within a system of mans control of mans direction. I believe (personally) that this has robbed the body of Christ of any real demonstration of Gods love, grace, and power unto salvation as it is yet another attempt of man using God to his own ends rather than be used of God for His.
The question is.... who is really in control??
The “church” in its present form is very predictable in its actions and directives yet the Spirit as not only demonstrated but also proclaimed in scripture is as unpredictable as the wind;)
| 2018/9/28 7:51||Profile|
| Re: |
I started to post to this thread a few days ago, and then cancelled what I was going to write. However, I do feel like I have some input that is worth considering.
We have been experiencing a genuine move of the Holy Spirit in our fellowship for some time now. I have honestly never seen anything like it. People are being born again and their lives changed in some amazing ways. We have seen demons cast out and the person who was set free immediately began to prophesy, just like we read about in the book of Acts. We have gone on to see these people develop a hunger for God and for His word that is almost insatiable. As a result, I am seeing men and women mature spiritually at a rate that boggles the mind. We are seeing people healed of sicknesses and the gifts of the Spirit manifest in the body.
But we are seeing something else as well. We have seen a great number of people come into the body, stay for a while, and then leave. One couple in particular comes to mind. This lady found her identity in her singing. She had always "worked" for the Lord in whatever church she was at by singing. It was not long after she came that she wanted to sing, meaning to sing in front of people. The only problem with that was that God was very specific to us as leaders that He wanted only one piano player and a singer to lead us into worship. No "special number" and no large team of players and singers. So, there was nothing for her to "do" except get into the presence of God and allow Him to transform her life. She did not desire this. There were a few times when she saw others receiving from God and desired it, but she could not bring herself to surrender to Him and seek Him with everything she had. She could only see her life in the context of her talents and abilities. She left because she was not "being used" publicly.
I say that to say this. The motive of the heart is absolutely everything. We had great care and love for this woman, but her heart's motive was not to seek God with everything she had. Her hearts motive was to perform publicly. When she left, we were sad to see her go, but we were not about to try, of our own effort, to convince her to stay. She was not going the same direction as the body.
In Acts we read that God added to the church daily such as would be saved. There are those who will not be saved. There are those who do not have any desire or hunger for God and His word.
We have made the local church body and our services, at least in America, an evangelism location and event. We "bring them to church" so the pastor can preach about salvation, and we hope they "go forward" to be saved. But this is not at all the Biblical model of the local church body. The church is comprised of believers who come together for mutual edification and maturing (see Ephesians 4). Then we, as believers full of the power of God, go out into the world and shine as lights to the lost. We listen to the Holy Spirit and minister to those around us. We proclaim the good news of Christ, and we lead people to Him.
So what Francis Chan is saying is, in my opinion, spot on. There are those who have determined not to surrender to God. If we are not catering to their wishes, desires and whims (to their flesh), they decide that our church is not the place for them. We love them, but we allow them to leave, trusting God through His Holy Spirit to continue to work in their lives and bring them to repentance. We do not try to create an atmosphere where they are more comfortable, nor do we change our speech using our own words to try to beg them to stay.
Just a perspective. Hope it helps.
| 2018/9/28 10:11||Profile|
| Re: |
Great input from everyone. Maybe another was of expressing what Chan is saying is that most churches cater to the lowest common denominator when they should be catering to and in fact exist for the highest common denominator- namely true sold out believers.
Ravenhill talks about walking into a meeting and immediately sensing the overwhelming presence of God. I have experienced that a few times and none of them were your typical Sunday morning service. How I wish to God they were.
People are so willing to settle for less because it is easy and comfortable. But they do not know what they are missing.
| 2018/9/28 17:36||Profile|
Richmond, California USA
| Re: |
Grace, mercy, truth and the fulness of Christ be with all who worship God in Spirit and in truth!
Todd, your summary statement, regarding the two types of common denominators, seems very insightful and well said.
Fletcher, your willingness to refer to Jesus as not always being "nice," in the way modern religious people want to characterize Him, is fair and appropriate. I've been saying that same type of thing, for years, trying to get people to be honest with themselves and, most importantly God Himself, to recognize the true, more complex nature and ways of Jesus - Biblically and now. You are also right to point out the somewhat unpredictable movements and guidance of the Holy Spirit. He most certainly will be consistent in glorifying the Father and Jesus, transforming people into holy disciples and bearing holy fruits; but, not programmable.
Travis, I'm intrigued and encouraged to hear of the things happening in your local area. Truly, it would seem to be extremely rare, in our times. Praise the Almighty Father and His Son for the work He's doing, there! My prayer is your leaders and faithful members stay connected to the Head and let Him direct every aspect of the follow through and ongoing worship of the Lord. Also, I hope to find out more, possibly fellowshipping with you and the saints in your area. Remember, the body of the true worshippers may not always be easily found or well connected, yet; but, we exist and want to see God use many gifted members, from His whole body, able to benefit and bless one another, as He directs and allows. May He always keep us actively mindful and sincere in our belief we are all part of the greater church, ultimately His bride, which needs to be made healthier and stronger - amen!
I praise God, truly, as He seems to be causing more and more people to see things His way, not willing to settle for generally accepted, preconceived notions of faith and life in Christ.
| 2018/9/30 2:20||Profile|
Richmond, California USA
| Re: |
Brother in the Spirit of Christ, I have been praying about the things you've described God is doing among saints in your area. May I ask, does the flow of humbling, saving, healing power continue, as singularly, at this time? I wonder if you would be willing to share more, either here or directly to my email, about the nature and size of your fellowship, the way God is leading you (you already mentioned the simplicity of your music and song, for example), in different aspects of binding the joints of your body members, etc. Has He in any way begun to give you vision or direction concerning the greater body of Spirit baptized, filled and led believers, even outside of your area?
Please trust, I pray, I'm not asking out of a spirit of simple curiosity or analysis; rather, out of genuine love of the Lord and His saints - anywhere and everywhere.
For many, many years, since my own baptism in the Holy Spirit and having learned to walk by that same Spirit, our God has matured me into someone who is particularly attuned to His desire to bind together His true circumcision into a more singularly unified, more healthfully functioning body - maintaining real connection the Mind of Christ Jesus Himself. Plainly, I seek to connect with others who walk in similar fashion, having the Lord Jesus and His Spirit as the true leader and guide, respectively.
You will bless me and our Lord, truly, should you be willing to reply and/or reach out - especially beyond the walled perimeters of a forum chat thread.
Grace, mercy and the pure fulness of truth be with you!
| 2018/10/10 21:58||Profile|