When we are talking about the local Church we are talking about ourselves. We are all called to be part of strong faith filled, spirit filled local church. And there is a grace on all of us to stay and pray and be in the place the Lord called us to.
James is the pastor when it comes to church etiquette. We are not to have both fresh water and saltwater come out of our mouths. We do not praise God with our breath that He gave us and then turn around and criticize ourselves or the believers around us. We are not to gossip about or speak ill of ourselves or anyone else, believers or not believers.
Jesus loves the local church and loves His pastors. A Pastor is the hardest job at any church. They have the highest level of responsibility and are the front line of defense against the darkness and the sheep in the fold. If we are ever in a position of having to chose our pastor over ourselves, the right thing to do is to choose and prefer the pastor. It is always the right thing to defer. God honors that and will work out any details that comes from doing that. Pastors need our prayer and understanding, pastors deserve our prayer and understanding. Mindsets that we all have come from our backgrounds not necessarily the Bible. And opinions are a dime a dozen when it comes to the local church. What we want in the local church is to be plumbed to the Word and operate by the character and wisdom of Jesus and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Not our personal feelings or opinion on the matter. That will fall much short.
Churches are like people and marriages, they go through seasons and are always developing by the Word and prayer. That is why when the Lord adds us to a specific church we are to STAY and PRAY until HE releases us, not leave when things get difficult. A wise pastor knows that it is always in their best interest to do whatever it takes to keep the specific people there that the Lord specifically added. Especially if He is adding people very supernaturally like in an audible voice, you need to be probably extra alert that there is extreme purpose for those people and families and get God’s heart and direction in anything that concerns them. Wisdom.
The kingdom and it’s movement, strength and ‘push back’ in your town and mine is of FAR MORE importance than your personal opinion in the local church. Especially in the last days, it is far more important to stay unified in the purpose and call of the church than it is to have things be ‘your way.’ ‘our way is often second best to God’s supernatural plans for you and the Church He has called you to.
Churches can go through very intense and very unique times, like ours did after Hurricane Ike. It was a very unique time when everyone’s home had flooded, the church had flooded and many people had lost jobs.
Let’s look at some general area we can evaluate local churches on:
PRAYER: How is it handled? It needs to be a foundational part of every church. The Local Church is called to be a house of Prayer for the Nations. Is prayer an afterthought? It needs to have a scheduled/set aside time in the church. Is there a prayer service during the week? If so, does the pastor attend? How are decisions made? Do they pray about them and get the Holy Spirit’s lead on them? Or do they decide to do something first and then pray about it second? If the church is to be spirit led, it needs to be prayer led.
During the prayer service is it mostly in tongues? Are prayer requests given? Is there a requirement for people who serve in different parts of the church to be required to be at prayer? The nuances for each church will be different for each church. But the general principle is that prayer needs to be foundational, reverenced and continually developed.
SERVICE: What opportunities are available for people to serve? Are they clearly stated? Are some areas available and some are not?
If you are a pastor, do not get up and say ‘we want all sorts of people to help with praise and worship’ if you know that ACTUALLY you will only allow a certain age group and people with a drama background. If you are going to have rules, at least be honest. Do not be dysfunctional and honest with people. It makes for good communication, and it will bless you and the people at the church. If some ministries are just open to married couples, or certain ages, then state it clearly. Every church gets to hear the Holy Spirit and adjust and develop and have different seasons. Every church gets to adjust the way they have done things and get to try things out and see how people respond. Be gracious in your church. Allow the leadership to try things, pray and adjust. Churches are organic and they are family.
PASTORAL PREFERENCES: Matthew 11:29 we hold to Jesus spirit, humble and gentle in spirit. This is the standard for the believer and every five-fold minister, including pastors, but not in any way exclusive to pastors in any way. It is the standard for all of us in the body of Christ. Therefore, there is no room for ego, ambition and short tempers, tit for tat and ‘if you cross me, I will come after you.’ That is WAY OFF limits for believers and especially pastors. What is VERY acceptable is for pastors to have PREFERENCES. Preferences are things that are how a church can operate that might not be the ONLY way, but that is going to make the life of the pastor easier. And those things when they are communicated honestly and in a gentle and humble attitude ‘thank you so much, this would really help me if we do this way, thank you so much ‘ are things that the people that God calls to your church will have NO problem and will WANT to do and adjust for.
People who love Jesus love Church and love their pastor. Jesus will help EVERY person called to ANY church be a tremendous blessing to that church and that church family to that person. Jesus loves the Local church.
Join us in our following segments as we look at why we do not criticize leadership in churches and the important role of women.
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