Saturday, January 23, 2010

How Good Are We Doing At Doing Church?

Is the right way of doing church so right for today?

Matthew 15:1-9 Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They asked Him, 2 "Why do Your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat."

3 Jesus replied, "And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? 4 For instance, God says, 'Honor your father and mother,' and 'Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.' 5 But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, 'Sorry, I can't help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.' 6 In this way, you say they don't need to honor their parents. And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition.

7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, 8 'These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. 9 Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.'"

Colossians 2:8 Don't let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.

The Pharisees had the people so bogged down in tradition that the people were afraid to do anything except go through the motions in the traditional way, don't step out of line or you will be in trouble, Jesus was going to set the record straight and make it clear that church tradition was not on the same level as the commands of God.

As my church evaluates how we do church, it is going to create some divisions, if we are really going to evaluate everything that we do to see how effective it is for the purpose of bringing people to Jesus and making disciples of them, then some things that we have always done are going to be in jeopardy of not being done anymore. Why would you want to continue doing something that isn't effective towards achieving your goal? Are you happy just going through the motions of church?

Job number one for the church is to make disciples, so any evaluation of our church body should include a study of how well we are creating disciples. Does the growth of small groups support our claim that we are creating disciples? Is there an increase in the number of people serving within the church body? Are there more people serving out in the community?

The only traditions that we need to have in the church should be to love God, love our neighbor and bring our neighbor to God and create disciples of them. It is so easy to make doing church more difficult than that.

I want to be used in my church as a positive force for change, helping us to get back to our mission, I will support my pastor with prayer and encouragement.

I pray Lord that my church and every evangelical church will evaluate their effectiveness in fulfilling your command to go and make disciples. Help my pastor as he leads in this difficult task, help our congregation to wrestle with their ideas of what church is supposed to be.