I’ve been reading a pretty interesting book by Larry Kreider and Floyd McClung called “Starting a House Church.” I’ll admit that as I put more years behind me, I’ve become pretty impatient with churches that are just social gathering places. Their contribution to Gods kingdom is maintaining a building, and to feel justified, they participate in food drives and clothing for the poor. Feeding to poor and taking care of the widows is a good thing, its a terrific thing, we should always be doing that and more, but that isn’t the main function of the church. Free fruit for old farts isn’t the great commission. The church is for spreading the good news of salvation through Jesus. God isn’t gonna ask someone if they got a piece of fruit from church, He’s gonna ask if Jesus is their Savior. That’s our job. That’s our purpose.
Here’s a paragraph from Larry and Floyds book, ” The greatest catalyst for spiritual growth in Christ is turning our eyes from ourselves and setting our sight on Jesus and the needs of those around us. A group of people who are always looking inward and who are content with the status quo will never grow and multiply. When house churches become content to stay the same, they build walls around themselves, causing others to feel unwelcome. On the other hand, the group that has a heart to reach out and to disciple new believers will be willing to change and will enjoy tremendous fellowship and meaningful relationships in the process. All this is to say that an outward focus benefits everyone in the long run, whereas looking inward prevents growth and, like an ingrown toenail, usually causes pain. Looking inward also results in competition and stagnation or, worse, spiritual pride.”
Hmmm, what do you think of that? Is your church growing do to an outward focus or is it contracting because of an inward focus? Has it even become hostile to ideas that could share the word of God? Has it become so stagnant that your church gatherings more resemble the faces at the Department of Motor Vehicles? Attendance lower than the little bar down the street? At least they are happy to be there every night!
Where would Jesus be? He wouldn’t be hiding in a self justified mutual admiration society, that I’m sure of. I don’t have all the answers, but I do know this, we are doing church all wrong and if Jesus came back today, he would kick our phony holy asses! Pointing that out will also make you wildly unpopular and really lights up the gossip channels! I’m ok, I don’t need it. Our leaders, in whatever form, MUST be in constant study of their Bible. Are you too busy? Then you don’t qualify to lead. Pick your priorities. The idea of someone coaching in a sport without knowing the rules or how the game is played is ludicrous, but having people leading the church that aren’t even students of Jesus is even more crazy! This isn’t a game, this is eternal heaven or hell for someone who isn’t being witnessed to. If you need a social club to feel good about yourself, join the Lions club or the Shriners. Maybe you do need to work two jobs to get by, but maybe spending less could be a worthy option for some too. Spending more than you make just makes you irresponsible and disqualifies you as a leader. If you truly need help, let us help you. Materialism can be a wicked master.
My discontentment with the status quo has led us to make some hard decisions. We’ve moved into a less expensive home( poorly built so it turned out to be quite a project), we have kept our old cars, and are drastically reducing how much we spend and paying off what we are able. I will admit that it was hard at first, but I also don’t have to earn as much or pay as much taxes either. It has also freed up more time to be around other people and help them in various ways. Most importantly, it has freed up time for me to study the word of God. I’m pretty angry with myself for not hopping off the materialism train a long time ago. So much time wasted. I’m now able to take my eyes off all my cool stuff( and coveting other peoples cool stuff) and look outwardly as to what I can do, at what I should have been doing, and look outwardly at serving others and using my home for the glory of God. Ha Ha, silly concept isn’t it, as though anything that I have, I own. There are no U-Hauls behind a hearse, I own nothing.
So that’s where I’m at in my journey. Discontentment leads to anger if you don’t seek out solutions. God has blessed me with the answers and confirmation that I needed, but I’m the weak link in the chain. God has again, chosen the unqualified. This is going to get pretty fun shortly. I will need a lot of prayer friends, as The Salvage Yard becomes a reality. I’ll share more of that with you next time! Pray hard friends
#1 by Lucifer on January 11, 2017 - 4:18 pm
Dear Sarcastic Shoeshine Boy: After reading your last four blogs, I would advise you to start your own perfect church and live happily ever after in peace and harmony with God.
#2 by humbleshoeshineboy on January 14, 2017 - 9:34 pm
Lucifer, thanks for your comment! It isn’t really about a perfect church or perfect people. Yes I do use sharp sarcasm at times, and if it hurt someone’s feelings, I apologize. That isn’t my intent. Nor are my comments targeting any denomination or specific church. They do, however, apply to most denominations and churches. Very few are living out the commission that the church was given by Jesus. Very few even try. There are 4000 churches closing each year and church leaders rigidly maintain a failing model. No business would continue down a failing path with a flawed model without some hard introspection. We have models of beautiful cathedrals that filled with a dozen pious few, waiting for people to come rushing through the doors . That isn’t going to happen is it? Conversely we have the model of the small town version of pompous “Harper Valley PTA” types deciding who is holy enough to join their little club. One version, people admire the architecture and walk by, the other model chases away the people that Jesus hung out with. So when you have total unsustainable failures like this, any prudent person would look at why things werent working. The leaders of the church are the ones who have accepted the role and therefore accept responsibility to make things right. If you feel that I’m hard on leaders, you are right and I will continue to do so. We get angry when politicians, lawyers, and media are above the law, so why should those shepherding Jesus flock be beyond reproof? They should be more accountable, but most insulate themselves with like-minded mules that ultimately becomes a mutual admiration society.
Consider this, of those born between 1977 and 1994, only 4% are Christian. If we agree, that to get to heaven a person needs to be saved, 96% of those people are going to hell. Is it ok that we hide behind 4 walls, rigidly sticking to our antiquated self made rules, and let all those people go to hell? Is Jesus really gonna give us a pat on the back for our piousness? I say not, and in my miniscule way, I’m trying to hold their feet to the fire. We need to reach those people where they are at and whatever means it takes without compromising Gods word. We need to change what we’re doing. What are your thoughts?