It saddens me to consider the reality of how many times I have had conversations with church members through the years who swear upon their very lives that they love the church more than anything. But yet, they seem to not love the people of the church, and even worse, they have little desire to be patient, kind, and giving of their lives for the sake of others. Scripture teaches us that Jesus Christ came in the flesh in order to put sin away, and those who trust fully in him, they should share his affections. This marvelous miracle of a transformed heart is one of the grand benefits of rebirth as the believer learns the Scripture. John, in his first epistle, actually uses the love for the brethren as the litmus test of true love for God. John says that anyone who does not love in deed and word a brother is lying about the truth they claim. In other words, to say “I love God” and not love another is a lie.
Ironically many people adhere to becoming part of a local fellowship without ever understanding what they should believe and what’s required of them as Christians to live in community. That being said, I cannot imagine that the first church concerned themselves with the great detail of so-called “ministry” because they were too busy learning and living together for the cause of Christ as well as loving each other with the love of Christ that they could not imagine anything else. What caused this? Why are today’s Christians not intimate, engaged, and focused on glorifying Christ accurately and in sync with the scriptures?
- What we do has replaced who we are. – the church are those for whom Christ died, who believe in Him, who live together for the sake of each other to His glory etc. The church has never been nor will it ever be a place or any program. A body cannot be defined by its plans but by its people.
- Spiritual growth now means ministry involvement. Loosely, “ministry involvement” is seen through assimilation and “ownership”. These things do not make growth.
- Taking care of people has been relegated to programs. Long gone are the days (as the norm) when the whole church cared for itself, taught each other, and was concerned greatly for maturity, holiness, benevolence, etc. Now people with problems and needs are turned over to a system, not a sister. They are pushed off on a benevolence council instead of a brother.
- Church is now a place rather than a people. We don’t go to church. We don’t ‘have’ church… we are the church. Sad that we’ve lost that focus as a whole.
- Pastors feel the need to make leaders rather than disciples. Pastors should replicate themselves in other men and women who will teach the church and teach others to do the same. We don’t need professionals, we need servants for Jesus.
- Business has taken over necessities. There is always some “business” when dealing with a large family, but it is a major matter in most congregations. People are just a vote or a small part of something GRAND and that grand thing is not even glorious or eternal, it’s just a worldly thing with Jesus stickers on it. There is nothing more grand and glorious than Jesus Christ revealed in the lives of those who love Him: TOGETHER!
- Working in ministry has become “doing church”. Laboring in prayer, study, teaching, love, rebuke, discipline, etc. is no longer the norm. Rather, people say they work in ministry and haven’t done anything with anyone for their good. Planning and vision-casting are not ministries. Promotion is not ministry. Having 1000 people at an event is not ministry. Having more baptisms is not ministry… anyone can do these things; only God the Holy Spirit can bring the real ministry into the lives of real people.
- Appealing to the masses and drawing to the “stuff we do” has pushed out preaching. Bring em and keep em… with what will bring em. Nuff said. Reaching people now means getting them to come rather than going out to them with the gospel. As long as people are “in the pews” they seem to be OK “in the Lord.”
- Abuses and power have taken the place of grace-filled intimacy. Power dynamics of patriarchal systems have come to overrun the gospel life so beautifully illustrated and commanded in the New Testament writings.
How many more could we imagine? So, how do things like these damage intimacy? Well, where does the “one” get solace in them? Where do the hurt, depressed, injured, angry, and maligned find hope in this type of work? What are so often people who need life shuffled around while those who live a false life are given bread to eat? The church has lost its bearing and the only correction is to FLUSH it all and get back to the task given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ: TO TEACH everyone to obey what He has commanded….. by His authority and power!
It’s time for a fresh look at our ecclesiology and for the people of God to either reform their families or find actual families that will live and learn and love with them. Because the ERROR has become the NORM, when a church desires to live as they should, it scares many people away. Why are you afraid of intimacy when it is the place you find peace and hope and life; first with Jesus and then with His people?
Something to consider.
I added number 9 today, June 26, 2023, when I noticed this article getting attention. I read through it and realized I needed to add that statement, and honestly, much more concerning the matter. My current writing is focusing on the patriarchal nonsense of the evangelical church in hopes to see a societal change in the future for our sisters.