| church search|
Is it better to attend a church that is not even preaching Holiness then not attend at all? In other words should I just attend for the sake of
being a believer even if I don't know anywhere to go that isn't nothing more than a social club really? It all seems like a sad waste of time and confuses my children when we go to a church and have to say don't eat, don't touch, don't see.
| 2005/9/30 8:08||Profile|
| Re: church search|
I am in a situation where I am not being fed at the church I have been attending for the past 6 years.
The preaching usually is mostly of God's grace and the prayers of the saints is usually for the needs of people and for the building fund. They are usually recruiting people to work on the new church property and keep the facility up and running, asking for money for the new furnace or driveway or whatever and ignoring the people in the church who have legitimate financial needs...
This is a hard thing because our family has developed releationships with people and it has been a social club. I have had most of my spiritual growth outside of fellowshipping or attending any meetings at the church we attend.
While the people are nice, sincere... it's a hard thing to leave...
I can't even be a part of the men's group at the church if I am not a committed tithing member of the church.
This is a symptom of many believers who are dissolusioned of the watered down gospel and preaching in most evangelical churches today. I have experienced this.
The sermons where we attend have been shortened from 45 - 1 hour to about 20-30 minutes as to be more seeker friendly. The church service has also shurnk from 2+ hours to a max of 1.5 hours...
a Jesus freak
| 2005/9/30 11:12||Profile|
this is what i am talking about. my children love to go to church but if i pretend it is good i am really deceiving them because it has really gotten ungodly even in the worship. and if we don't go we aren't teaching them to go. we don't hear the truth being preached and alot of times we have to go home and explain to them that what we heard isn't biblical, and the songs we sang aren't praise and the money we gave won't help the poor and the way the ladies dressed wasn't modest. Even communion is just a thimble and a crumb and a monthly tradition with no communion.
now there aren't even children in the sanctuary
they are being shuffled off to another room where there are clowns and candy. we are lonely for true church. we are disenters if we question
any of it.
| 2005/9/30 12:12||Profile|
My family has been "out of church" now for 10 months. It is due to much of what you are talking about. We were "dissenters" only because we questioned a doctrine/practice. Because of this, we were not welcome at the church we were faithful and active in. That particular church is not the problem though.....it is the mindset prevailing in that church and throughout many churches which is driving many a faithful believer away. It's quite sad really, but now I can see that this "machine" many call church is not truly being driven by God. Yes, there are many true believers within this "system", but I believe the "machine" is for the most part, going it's own way..........following the agendas of man---some very good sounding agendas too. However, the fruit is the evidence we see all around us-------a cultural Christianity, not biblical Christianity.
We truly don't "want" to be out of a local church, yet we feel we have no other option at this point. For our kids sake, it is a necessary thing. Some think: "you are doing a disservice to your children by not taking them to church". However, I think I would do them a disservice by teaching them that to "go along" with things completely against conviction is a terrible witness. Our children need to see us standing for Christ's sake---IN LOVE----even suffering isolation/ridicule from other professing believers. Thankfully, I have found fellowship with other like-minded believers, but unfortunately many families are out there without true fellowship and accountability. It's important to have that to keep the "mind of Christ" as we go through these last days----not walking in bitterness concerning the state of the Church, but walking in love towards our brethren, in prayer, and listening and "hearing" what the Lord would say. My advice is to guard your mind in the midst of your struggles. It's easy to get hurt, angry, frustrated and let that take over. The Lord desires for us to "see", but in "seeing", do His Will, not be lost in the grief of it all..........Blessings in Jesus, Cindy
PS. Here's an interesting email I received today on just this topic of "out of church Christians"...........
"REVOLUTION" - An Extract.
-From George Barna's pre-manuscript of a forthcoming book.
As we journey together, I want to show you what our research has
uncovered regarding a growing sub-nation of people, already well
over 20 million strong, who are what we call Revolutionaries.
What "established systems" are they seeking to "overthow or
repudiate" and "thoroughly replace," in Webster's words?
They have no use for churches that play religious games, whether
those games are worship services that drone on without the
presence of God or ministry programs that bear no spiritual fruit.
Revolutionaries eschew ministries that compromise or soft sell our
sinful nature to expand organizational turf. They refuse to follow
people in ministry in leadership positions who cast a personal
vision rather than God's, or who seek popularity rather than the
proclamation of truth in their public statements, or who are more
concerned about their own legacy than that of Jesus Christ. They
refuse to donate one more dollar to man-made monuments that
mark their own achievements and guarantee their place in history.
They are unimpressed by accredited degrees and endowed chairs
in Christian colleges and seminaries that produce young people
incapable of defending the Bible or unwilling to devote their life to
serving others. And Revolutionaries are embarrassed by language
that promises Christian love and holiness but turns out to be all
sizzle and no substance.
In fact, many Revolutionaries have been active in good churches
that have biblical preaching, people coming to Christ and being
baptized, a full roster of interesting classes and programs, and a
congregation packed with nice people. There is nothing overtly
wrong with anything taking place at such churches. But
Revolutionaries innately realize that it is just not enough to go with
the flow. The experience provided through their church, although
better than average, still seems flat. They are seeking a faith
experience that is more robust and awe-inspiring, a spiritual
journey that prioritizes transformation at every turn, something
worthy of the Creator whom their faith reflects...
Revolutionaries zealously pursue an intimate relationship with God,
which Jesus Christ promised we could have through Him...
In this book I will describe what The Barna Group has learned about
this under-the-radar but seminal renaissance of faith that will
remake the religious contours of this country over the coming quarter-century.
[Barna goes on to predict the complete re-shaping of the way
people experience "church" in America]:
Whereas "Christian community" has generally been limited to the
relationships facilitated within a congregation, the Revolution is
bursting open the walls of the worldwide Church to birth a truly
international network of relationships...
The U.S. will see a reduction in the number of churches, as
presently configured (i.e. congregational-formatted ministries).
Church service attendance will drop... Donations to churches will
drop... Churches' already limited political and cultural influence
will diminish even further at the same time that Christians will
exert greater influence through more disparate mechanisms.
Fewer church programs will be sustained in favor of more
communal experiences among Christians...
To some, this will sound like the Great Fall of the Church. To
Revolutionaries, it will be the Great Reawakening of the Church.
New scenarios do not mean mayhem and dissipation. In this
case, they represent a new day in which the Church can truly be
the Church--different than what we know today, but more
responsive to and reflective of God.
'Roger' [from the Denver House church Gathering] adds:
When I consider how widely read Barna is by traditional church
leaders, I predict this book (due out in October) will rock some worlds.
The New Revolutionaries:
I have so much to write, having returned from the House Church
conference in Denver, and so little time right now. One highlight
was Thom Black, from the Barna Research Group, who shared
some incredible facts about what is happening in the church of
America. I will quote from Wolfgang Simson (who was at the
conference) who summarized this information in his Friday Fax:
"Revolution", George Barna's new book, will be published in
September. Barna leads a church research institute, and is
currently the most-quoted person in the Christian church in the
USA because of his statistical work. To summarize the book's
most important conclusions:
* The number of Christians attending local church in the USA is
declining rapidly. Today, 70% of Christians attend traditional
churches, but this will sink to 30-35% in 20 years;
* The number of followers of Jesus who do not attend a local
church will grow from 30% to 70% in the next 20 years;
* Alternative fellowship forms (house church/simple church,
post-modern churches etc.), currently home for 5% of USA
Christians, will grow to make up 30-35%; another 30-35% will live
out their faith in the fields of media, arts and culture; the remaining
5% of Christians attending non-traditional forms of church will have
a family-based spiritual life;
* Conclusion: a minority group presently not even noticed by
many will become the mainstream of North American Christianity
in only two decades.
We received a pre-manuscript of this book and it will rock the
church world. Barna describes this growing group of Christians
that no longer attend traditional churches as "revolutionaries." He
goes on to describe them in a very positive light.....
George Barna's website- www.barna.org
| 2005/9/30 12:46||Profile|
i guess we are not alone. what a relief!
| 2005/9/30 15:05||Profile|
I am in a situation where I am not being fed at the church I have been attending for the past 6 years.
Guys, I would bring this to God in prayer and ask that he put you into a church home so that you can plug into body life.
But please remember one thing. I believe that quote above is a dangerous one...one often said by the American Church. Ruhappy, you probably didn't mean it in the way I am going to say it so please bear with me....
Quotes like that speak of a "me" attitude. Its all about "me" and what "I" get out of it.
Its not about "us".
If you are not feeling filled I would suggest a few things....
1) Make sure you are having your daily quiet time. Make sure your "feeding" comes with your intimate life with Christ.
2) Start serving in your current church. Don't just listen to sermons and go to worship services. Too many people in America do that. Its called "Sit, Soak and Spoil". Its not good to be a sponge that doesn't give back. Have you ever left a soaked sponge in your sink for a few days? One that hasn't been wrung out? It stinks. We are meant to be wrung out, filled, wrong out, filled.... If you aren't feeling "fed" it may be because you are spoiled by a lack of wringing out.
3) Remember its not about you. Its about what you can do for Christ and the Body. Besides our intimate life with the Trinity I believe our greatest source of life is through serving and loving others. Some people who don't serve realize the spiritual riches a person receives when they do serve.
4) If your church is not preaching the Bible and starts teaching "the easy path, easy believism and prosperity doctrines"....bro, pray for your pastor. He needs it. All pastors and leaders and husbands for that matter are on teh front lines of a very real spiritual battle. My pastor is so spiritually beat down on Mondays because of Sundays, he calls them "Black Mondays"
| 2005/9/30 15:21||Profile|
| The Purpose of Church fellowship...|
I think that there is a strong misconception about what the concept of the "Church" truly is supposed to be. There have been several threads in the past that discussed early church structure. It is my opinion that the modern concept of what a "church" [i]is[/i] and [i]should consist of[/i] has been both institutionalized and turned into a religion itself.
I was raised in both [i]old-fashioned[/i] and [i]modern-contemporary[/i] Assembly of God churches. It seems that both (but found much more in the more traditional) types of churches used to preach that you were [u]backslidden[/u] if you missed church meetings for a week or two. Sometimes, the pastor would visit you if you missed the Sunday morning meeting, for fear that you had "left the fold." I even have a friend who was dropped from church membership by a pastor because he had missed two weeks of meetings. Pastors would preach sermons that if your job caused you to miss church on a Sunday or Wednesday, then you needed to find another job (if you were "serious about serving God").
I think that alot of this comes from a pastor's sincere desire for unity within the local congregation. But often, there are alot of pastor's who want their church to grow for unbiblical reasons.
The early church did not meet once a week on Sundays in a sanctuary built for such purposes. There were no choirs, orchestras, and illustrated sermons. There were no matching pews, fancy carpet, or offering plates/bags. The meetings did not consist of 5-10 fast songs, 3-6 slow songs, a "special song", an offering collection, a sermon and an "altar call" (along with the occassional baptism, baby dedication or "Lord's Supper"). Instead, believers met often in one another's homes. They would come together to meet at certain places for the fellowship of the brethren, not to perform some sort of [i]religious sacrament[/i].
There are several Bible scholars that question whether or not the events of Acts chapter 2 actually happened in "the Upper Room." Why? Because the room was not large enough for the 3000 that were added to their number that day (Acts 2:41). Some believe that the place was actually [i]Solomon's Colonnade[/i], a place located outside the Temple that housed Gentile visitors (Acts 5:12). But regardless of [u]where[/u] it took place, it is important to realize that the Day of Pentecost took place when they "...[i]were all with one accord in [u]one[/u] place[/i]" (Acts 2:1).
I believe that the key to understanding the early Church is found at the end of Acts 2:
Quote:If the modern Church (especially in western nations) could grasp this concept, then perhaps pastors and church leaders would have much more time to win the lost, rather than trying to keep those who they already have in constant attendance.
46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
We are blessed to have the opportunity to meet together each week. But I have often noticed that today's Church often judges its members by how involved they are within the local body. The person whose life revolves around the programs at the Church is often viewed more favorably than the person who attends less often. But in some countries, believers do not meet so often (at least, altogether in one place). I have traveled to the Tarahumara deep within the Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico, where the Church meets beneath a tree. They also meet within the homes of fellow believers (usually inside of caves or small log huts). One of the most powerful times that I ever experienced the sharing of communion that was inside of one of those caves. I couldn't help but remember the early Church -- as they hid from persecution.
My prayer is not just that all believers would find a local body that truly understands the importance of fellowshipping with one another, but that we would all understand the purpose behind such fellowship. It is not the act of a [i]religious sacrament[/i], but rather, a fellowship where believers encourage one another to continue growing in the faith.
| 2005/9/30 15:32||Profile|
| Re: The Purpose of Church fellowship...|
If the modern Church (especially in western nations) could grasp this concept, then perhaps pastors and church leaders would have much more time to win the lost, rather than trying to keep those who they already have in constant attendance.
I have a personal belief that it is not the 'primary' responsibility of pastors to save the lost. I believe its secondary. I believe the pastor is there to encourage, rebuke and be spiritually responsible for the church body...the sheep God has placed under Him. I believe among their primary responsibilities is in raising up people who GO OUT and make disciples and not hoping that the stray unbeliever that makes their win in on a Sunday gets saved. The church (body, not hte building) would be much more effective with 700 trained and equipped and prepared members sharing the gospel out in the workplaces than the pastor preaching a gospel message to 700 believers and 3 unbelievers on a Sunday morning.
I believe the community church and body life is extremely important for the following reasons.
1) The devil loves it when we isolate ourselves. When we are not part of the body we are isolated and more easily picked off.
2) In Ephesians 1 it says the fullness of Christ rests on the Body. I believe a special fullness in Christs rests when a body of believers are gathered together in His name. This is also proved by the verse that states, "when two or more are gathered in my name I will be there".
3) My church has 700 members but its broken up to dozens of smaller home groups who meet regularly. These are churches within churches with "under-shepherds aka mini-pastors"...those with the gift but not holding the office. In these mini churches we find the times to connect, confess, share, praise and pray.
And to all God be glorified.
| 2005/9/30 15:40||Profile|
i beleive what you both are saying.
in the story of "the emperors new clothes",
everyone just went along pretending until a child opened his mouth and admitted the emperor was naked. well there is a bunch of hoopla in the church and it is hard to see it like it is the bride of Christ or that we are that body.
Maybe the church is in adolecence? I long to be
in a mature body, functioning properly.
| 2005/10/1 13:50||Profile|