Archive for July, 2013

We’ve all been “church shopping.”  We’ve recently left a congregation (for whatever reason) and now we are looking for a new place where we feel like we fit.  You’ve found a church; it’s warm and friendly, it’s biblical and the worship is real and meaningful.  The Pastor is friendly and personable and preaches the Word of God.

What now?  Here are the next three actions you need to take.

1. Commit to the church

We need to commit to a local church and join it because

1.  We need to spiritual oversight and mentoring (Heb 13:17)
Pastors are better able to provide leadership and encouragement when they know you are “in the flock.”  Pastors don’t always keep an eye out for the occasional visitor and you could “fall through the cracks” and no one would know.  The commitment to the body lets the pastor know he can “meddle” into your spiritual life and provide leadership and guidance.

2.  We need the accountability of the body (Matthew 18:15-17)
When you commit to a body of believers they know they can help you in your spiritual walk. When you get “out of whack” they can be there to help. The body of believers are there to provide encouragement and help in times of need.

3.  We create a stronger group to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20)
There is much work needed to do in fulfilling this mandate from our Lord and we need more folks to be “on the team.” Your commitment to the group puts you on the team and the people know they can count on you to be there.
There is much work needed to do in fulfilling this mandate from our Lord and we need more folks to be “on the team.” Your commitment to the group puts you on the team and the people know they can count on you to be there.

2. Join a small group Bible study

Besides the accountability and the discipleship you also get the fellowship and community.

There are  many self-taught type people who don’t need a big group to help them learn and grow. I get this. But we do need people for encouragement and community and they need us. I think the big picture that many self-taught types miss out on is that others need them.  Even if you never get anything out of a Bible study taught by another they group needs you.

We all need the encouragement and togetherness of a small group Bible study. This is where we build those lasting relationships that are so much a part of a healthy church.  Every Christian needs to be in a small group.

3.  Get involved in a  ministry

There is plenty to do.  The Great commission is a little more difficult than simply sitting at McDonald’s and telling folks who will listen about Jesus.  There is much work left and we don’t need to be “sitting on the sidelines” or letting someone else do it.  We don’t need to create jobs that are essentially “self-licking ice cream cones” but work that is meaningful, necessary and effective.  I like ministry that makes a difference in people’s lives and eventually gets the Gospel into their heads and hearts.  Membership in the local body gets you “into the game.”

"Scripture...sets before us Christ alone ...

I’m not even sure this is the correct question.  The latest church gurus say that believers want to be a part of the worship gathering; they want to experience it and be active.  Now, from what I’ve seen and heard this is true (my survey) and I want to help the believers connect with God.  I know that we don’t like to sit for a long time and we don’t like to be talked at for a long time and we want to do something that includes using our brains and skills in our community worship times.

So I’m struggling with how to create experiences of worship for the believers.  Let’s review worship.

Worship is Expressing to God How We Feel about Him

We must keep in mind during this conversation that we are simply discovering the way we can best ell God how we feel about Him.  How can we best declare of express His worth?

 

 Psalm 51:15-17 –

15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;  you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;  a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

 Worship is about Ascribing Worth to God

We sing, proclaim and declare how awesome God is. This requires that we learn of God’s attributes and how He has worked through history and His plan of redemption.  When people encounter God it seems that the natural reaction is to worship Him.

 

1 Chronicles 16:23-27

23 Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day 24 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples  25 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise he is to be feared above all gods. 26 For all the gods of the nations are idols  but the LORD made the heavens 27 Splendor and majesty are before him;  strength and joy in his dwelling place.

Don’t get distracted by the argument/statement that “worship is about God not you.”  We can appreciate this, but WE are the ones worshiping and we’d like to do it the best we can.  Sometimes the sitting and watching doesn’t quite reach the level or worship we’d like.

How do we bring believers together and create an environment where they can express to God how they feel about Him? (I’m not addressing how we worship God all the time and not just at church).  The Scriptures give us plenty of examples of worship and from the Scriptures we can say that prayer, Scripture reading and hearing, confession of sin, sharing the Gospel, and proclaiming God’s awesomeness are all elements of worship.

Our challenge is to incorporate these elements into a worship gathering where each person can take part rather than watching the worship leaders do them.  I’m working on this right now.