06 February, 2006

An Important Question

In my message yesterday morning I asked this question: "What if every church member was just like you?"
It is something I had hoped that people would really think about and evaluate their lives and impact in the church and in the world around them.
However, I mentioned this on a discussion board that I frequent, and a friend there said,
"I'll tell you now, they thought about that for about two seconds. You should make them write a 500 word essay on the subject."

(Great idea, but how do you go about getting church people to turn in something like that? I would be happy getting most of them to show up 3 Sundays in a row!)

Let's face it, I can't get 500 word essays from folks, but I can bring the question back before everyone and hope that you will at least chew on it for awhile.

So, here it is again: "What if every church member was just like you?"
What would your church be like?

Let's take it deeper...
What if every member
attended like you?
Fast Facts: In my church, every week there are roughly 25 - 40% of the REGULAR attendees absent.
Yesterday there were 41 regulars absent.
32 who were there last Sunday were not there yesterday.
Pretty big swing for a church that averages 60 in attendance!
What if everyone showed up every week?

What if every member put as much effort into making your church grow as you do?
How often do you invite someone to come to church with you?

What if every one helped with church programs and ministries like you do?
What everyone tithed and gave offerings like you?
What if everyone gave to missions like you? (Would missions work go on?)

What if everyone involved themselves in church activities (not including worship services) like you do? (Would there be a need for any activities, Bible study, or prayer meetings?)

What if everyone helped with the care and maintenance of the church property like you do?

What if everyone helped in the nursery, or in kids church, or in teaching a class like you do?
Would we have a nursery, or kid’s church or Sunday School?

What if everyone had the same attitude that you have?

What if everyone worshipped like you?

What if everyone prayed for their church and pastor like you do?

Now for the really tough one:
What if everyone lived their life the way you do?

Would you want everyone in your church to live like you do?
Would you want your Pastor to live the way you do?

It is time to think this one over… to really chew on it for awhile.
We are called the Body of Christ.
If each part of the Body were as alive as you, would people even know the body was alive?

For some, I believe the responses to these questions would be positive, but others, I have to wonder.

No, I am not asking for a 500 word essay… just that you think this over…. And when you are done, think it over again.
And then I hope people make some adjustments.

Remember, the body does not exist to meet the needs of the hand, but the hand exists to meet the needs of the body.
The church does not exist to meet your needs… You exist to meet the needs of the church.

Rather than asking “Are my needs being met?” Ask, “Whose needs can I meet?”
That is when we will truly become the living breathing Body of Christ!


Neil said...

That was my point to my now 14 year old daughter when she was six! I told her she needed to pay her tithe, which was six dollars, she offered to give the church clerk some pennies...I reminded her that if everyone in the church was like her...we would starve! She coughed up the six bucks! My father was not a tither, not even a christian until he was 68, but he avoided tithing like the plague. One day he told me about the pastor's sermon series on tithing, made him mad...I reminded him that if all my members thought like he did...I would starve. Never did find out if he started tithing, but I continue to be amazed at the very things you point out...people love God and the benefits...just on their own terms...thank God we're on a journey, in a process and eventually we'll get there...won't we?

Libby said...

JFK once said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country!" Now our army's motto is "Be all you can be!" The whole nation has become self-centered!

If we cared more about others and more about our church and its ministries, I truly believe there would be less depression. We would be so concerned about others we wouldn't have time to worry about our own problems!

On a positive note, your sermon yesterday reached at least one! One of our newer attenders made a bee-line for me in the nursery to ask how to sign up as a helper and also to help with any more painting for kids' church!

Thank God for one!

michigan preacher said...

You know, this kind of goes along with what Neil blogged about. Standing out, but he spoke of standing apart from the world. But inside the church, we need to be different. If we were all the same, then nothing would get done. Then again, maybe some need to look at the example of others, such as those who are truly faithful, not be become a clone, but to get a picture of what faithfulness is. Just another thought. Sounds like a good message, Pastor Darrell. God bless!

Sean McKee said...

All those things you talk about sounds like the traits of a person who thinks that they can not make it through life without God's help. Like a person who believes that the answer to the world's problems is Jesus. The world could use some people like that.

"Give me ten men who love nothing but God and hate nothing but sin, and together, we will change the world!" -- John Wesley

Lord help me be one of those ten men...

Darrell said...

Hey Sean,
Elaborate on that thought a minute.
I'm not sure what you meant. I would agree that everyone needs Jesus, but if we are talking about people who have been saved for 5 years, 10 years or more and they still are not able to get to church on a regular basis and are not involving themselves in the work of Christ, then there is something drastically wrong with their relationship with Christ.
It would be like having a 10 year old child still sucking on a bottle and eatting strained foods. That is not "normal" or what is expected of them. Same with those in Christ. Paul spoke of this when he said that they should be eating the meat of the Word, but are not able. I submit that this most often by choice, because the person has not developed a lifestyle of reading the Word and exercising their spiritual muscle.

Newbies in church... these traits are to be expected of them... but not those who should be maturing in their walk.

Sean McKee said...

I guess what I am thinking about are those questions that you are asking. You are asking the questions to the person who has been in church for 5 or 10 years.

These are the people that you would think would to be doing these things that you mentioned (attending church regularly, giving to missions, worshiping, praying). I am saying …that these people that do these things are people that “…think that they can not make it through life without God's help.” And “…believes that the answer to the world's problems is Jesus.” That those people do those things BECAUSE of this belief.

Now I am asking the question of the 5 or 10 year Christian that DOES NOT do these things (attending church regularly, giving to missions, worshiping, praying). Could it be deep down, in practice, in reality, they do not believe “…that they can not make it through life without God's help.” and “… that the answer to the world's problems is Jesus.”?

I don’t know…

Maybe it is that we are just not willing to “pay the price” of the true follower of Jesus. At times it takes passion, discipline, self denial, hard work. These can be costly. These things are not ‘user friendly/seeker friendly’ Christianity. What is not realized is that we must pay the price of ‘claiming Christ’ AND NOT following Jesus. We think being saved is like just having fire insurance. I think of Deuteronomy 11 when I thing of being a Christian but living like the world.

Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.
(Deuteronomy 11:26-28)

Ask any true believer that has tried to go back to the old life style. They are more miserable than before they were saved.

So why do these Christians think that they can ‘believe in Christ’ and then go along their merry-way as before?

Is it the seeker friendly proclamation of the gospel? (“Jesus loves you have has a wonderful plan for your life…”)
Is it that we want to tell sinners how Jesus can prosper their life and not how He has saved them from God’s wrath because of their sin?
Is it because being saved, we have lost the fear of the judgment of God?
Is it the fear of Christians to confront a fellow brother that is in open sin?
Is it just that America culture has made us lazy?

Maybe it is all of the above?

Darrell said...

Thanks for your response Sean. I was not sure how you meant it in your first comment, but you and I are on the same page for sure. This Seeker movement can be a good thing, but has tended to go too far in that the truth has been watered down, or eliminated entirely in some cases. I have it on good authority that Bill Hybels has called in other ministers to ask for Godly counsel and direction, because he has found his church is full of people who know nothing about living a surrendered life to Christ. One man I spoke with quoted him as saying "I have a mess on my hands that is ready to implode." I hope he can right the ship before it sinks.

Sean McKee said...

I agree. The Seeker movement can be a good thing as long as we aim and strive to make disciples of the seekers, not just converts. Not just 'notches on our bibles'.