Jesus is the Author of the local Church, He loves the local church and has one prepared for each believer. We are called to be part of the local church and be bendable, or teachable and not breakable. Your job and mine when we get to the church that the Lord assigns us to, is to STAY and PRAY. Things we notice along the way or NOT necessarily things we say ANYTHING about. BUT, they are things to stay in the Word and PRAY about.
There needs to be the same diversity in your church that there is in the town. Therefore, you will need to learn to interact, serve with a LARGE variety of people with different backgrounds. When you come up against something challenging ASK the Lord for Knowledge and understanding of WHY the person is like that, and HOW to navigate. The Holy Spirit does not gossip, but will let you know generally what you need. Areas they have been hurt, their church background, personality or gifting differences that cause them to see things in a specific way. Sometimes people have very little Bible knowledge, or drug background. Sometimes people were raised in a very specific church tradition like Pentecostal or Catholic and they carry a mindset or bent that mirrors that.
We need both large and small churches in our towns and regions. Large churches provide a specific type of push back against the adversary, and smaller ones afford intimate family-like relationships as well as higher levels of accountability for interpersonal interactions. The Lord is always specific as to where He calls each of us to be in what season of our lives. Iron sharpens iron is sometimes BEST accomplished in very close quarters where you must allow the Lord to iron out rough edges, areas of offense, weak areas, personality traits that do not line up with the Word.
The size of a Church is not an indicator of how closely it is plumbed to the Word. It is always a heart issue not a size issue with the Lord.
The mandate of the local church is to teach the Word, to be a house of prayer for the nations, to minister to the sick, Upon request of a ministry friend we took a look at an article and areas to evaluate the health and integrity of a church.
Let’s look at these areas:
How are people seen? Are they customers or sheep that belong to the Lord and are there to be nurtured, developed and protected? Is the goal of the church numbers for numbers sake? Are people cared about as people or a people to fill the seats?
Evangelism Versus Marketing: Is the church spirit led and word led? Do they have prayer services and then go out into the neighborhoods knocking on doors? Bringing the gospel and kindness of God to the people around them? Or is evangelism a matter of marketing. Little prayer, and no sharing of the gospel, but instead more slick videos, social media marketing etc. Evangelism is a matter of prayer and the Word, not marketing. The purpose of the Church is to share the gospel and compel people to Jesus, not to your local church. But if you go and bring Jesus to people, people will become part of your church as they follow Him.
How is money viewed and handled? Again, troubles arise when the Church is influenced by worldly and certainly business type thinking/mindset. Jesus’ Church is not a business. How is money handled? Is your giving an issue between you and the Lord? It needs to be. Do not allow a pastor to put themselves between you and your giving. If you are a pastor, keep your heart right and do not look at what each person gives. Money has sway.
Holiness: Is your church a nightclub? It should not be. There is no place for dark churches in the middle of the morning. Sound levels are not to be in the ‘damaging to your ear zone’. That is unhealthy and unkind. Don’t damage ears. Jesus doesn’t want churches to damage ears and then turn around and ask Him to heal them. And smoke machines are for night clubs. Get them out of the church.
You will need to use discernment when you get to any church. Some issues are not easily detectable, and one thing might be said from the pulpit, but another practiced. So you need to pray and allow the Lord to speak to you and allow HIM to direct you to the church He has for you.
God is not going to close down every church that is ‘off’ in some area. He loves people. And there are new believers and plenty of people that are blessed by churches that you or I might not be called to nor comfortable with. God loves people and People are relational and need community. He will allow many churches to remain in these last days that are in need of overhauls. You and I are called to love Him above all, Love the Word, be people of integrity ourselves, and go where He calls us to go. We are called to work with others with a spirit of unity and bond of peace.
Join us for the next episode as we look at ways churches resolve conflict. How we are to handle differences in a godly and righteous manner.
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