I have recently realized that I have been close to church bashing in my responses to people. I wanted to be clear on this, my intention is not to church bash or say I do not want church. Having a church is vital to the Christian as it is suppose to be a place where we are trained, worship together, and find fellowship with other believers. Sadly, in my experience I have not seen all three work well together in a LONG time. The church has its issues, but we too are also broken in thinking that bashing the church is the best medicine. I will also say right now, if you do not feel as if you fit in your church, ask God about it. Maybe we need to rethink why we have an issue or maybe God will lead us to a church we can invest in. You see Millennials have been labelled by the world (Christian Community), and they do not see how traditional church works in today’s culture. So they are following lies through “tolerance” and “compromise” (Read this article/blog by J.W. Reid http://johnreidblogs.com/2015/09/08/5-trends-christian-millennials-must-stop-doing/).
You see, many of my generation and younger are hungry for a church that sees that it needs to impact the culture again. This does not mean that these churches are not making a difference, but it does not mean they can not change in how they can impact the culture for Christ once again. People do not run to the church for help anymore, and they have labelled us as haters and intolerant. Why? Because Jesus told us they will hate us because they hate Him. We are not suppose to be liked by the world just like we are not to conform to the world (Romans 12:2). In fact we are to be careful when trying new ways to change it especially if it appears to be worldy by design but integrated with Jesus or Scripture (Colossians 2:-10).
I believe the church still holds to a way of ministry that fits a culture that is 50+ years ago. Today our culture is big on tolerance, loving everyone, and allowing people to find “their way” to live life. While many from the Millennials are seeking communities that they can connect. I am sorry, but many of the churches do not have the community they seek, why? Many churches still live 50+ years in the past in appearance, and how they interact with the culture. They tell young people to “fit” in instead of older members taking in these young people and disciple them. They is what they want, a community that takes them in, teaches them how to be proper godly adults (in today’s culture), and give them opportunity to serve. But why are they not being fed? My opinion, the older members will teach, but do not want to “learn” the new culture. We have a WiFi generation coming up, and they need to know how they can use their social media, how to build true relationships, and how to be Christians in today’s culture. I am still part of the generation that is Millennial, and of the generation before WiFi. I see churches making a difference, but I also see the church neglecting their community and young adults because they are afraid to change.
Spiritual Battle of Churches today- The lie is if we (church) change then the enemy will get in and destroy the church. The truth is if the enemy is not trying to get in then you are where they (the enemy) wants you to be because you are not changing the culture.
Disciple or Seat Warmer?
One of the concerns I see today in Christians and churches is the lack of Discipleship and Leadership. What do you consider yourself, a disciple or a seat warmer? The church is made up of members, but in our current setting what is considered a member? Is your church missionary focused or is it just full of people coming to hear the pastor speak? What do you think is our responsibility as members of the church? I believe we have all failed at some point at understanding what it means to be a member or a disciple. What comes first leaders or disciples?
I am hoping to continue writing on this series because of the need that is missing in many systems of Christian churches. We have forgotten that being a disciple requires us to actually do work. That we as the members of the church should be stepping it up and offering our services for the Churches we attend. There are many books out there that should be given to each member of the church that could awaken our lazy attitude about church. Yes I use the lazy attitutde because we live in a world of GO GO GO. We believe that by tithing, praying, and going to church is enough. We send money to the missionary in Africa, and then we move on through our week. I will say that this is not for all Christians, but it is in many churches the attitude. Especially for what I call dead churches or flat-line churches. Have you ever noticed your church is not the same as it was 10 years ago? Or how about in the last few years, how are the numbers, the fellowship, the ministries, or anything about it seem always the same?
You must understand this, as our culture changes so should our model for church. We build nice looking churches or trellises, but does our fruit reflect the same? We also seem to think that the right leader makes disciples, but how far is that line? A leader needs those below to also be willing to take on responsibility. He cannot continue to feed the Seat Warmer and also see the ministry grow. I know some are thinking already. I help with the Youth Group, I do Sunday School, or I am part of a Small Group. Great, that is what we are suppose to do. When a few members do their part does not mean the church is thriving. Just because a ministry works does not mean it should be part of the church. So many leaders or people willing to do a ministry, jump into the position. They may or may not be trained for it, but they have the desire to lead or direct it. What usually happens with the ministry? Two things: 1. They burn out or 2. The ministry falls through.
So many of these ministries loose their ability to reach more people. Plus if the church truly did not support it, how can it strive? So how come there are not a bunch of people ready to fill the seat? Why is there only one willing to take lead? What is missing that so many ministry start strong but eventually fail? How many of you are leaders in a ministry, Sunday School, or pastor? How many of you were trained or went through a discipleship program in your church? You see just being part of a church does not make you a member. Training is the main system missing in a church system. I personally had to teach myself through study, books, and observation. My experience also helped me become a leader. God put me in situations that just molded me into someone who can say I am a leader. As a leader I must also take on the responsibility to continue to learn and grow.
Back to the original question: Disciple or Seat Warmer? We must remember that it is our responsibility is to serve the church and the local community before the world. We often consider our support of the pastor and the money we invest as our “mission”. That is the Seat Warmer mentality. The disciple does not have a warm seat because they are always trying to serve the church. Now does this mean they never just go to the Sunday morning service? Of course not, it means that their spot is not so worn and warm because they sit in it all the time. They discover their gift, they are trained by a leader who is willing to train leaders. Pastors should be creating disciples who become leaders not seat warmers. The missing link is training!