We just returned from a Conference for church planters. One of the things that I enjoy most is simply seeing all of the different types of people that God uses to start and lead successful churches. It always clarifies for me that the wrong question to ask is whether or not “our” way of doing church is the “right” way. There are so many different methods and strategies of “doing” church. Some leaders are super organized, some fly by the seat of their pants. Some are topical preachers and some preach from straight passages of scripture. Some have loud worship, some have soft hymns…and yet the common denomintor in all of these styles is that people who are far from God come to these churches and are transformed by Jesus.
We’ve had various conversations with people over the years about particular methods we use. They have gotten caught up in the “right” way to do church and focused on things like why we don’t do “altar calls” for people to accept Jesus. The problem is that when we focus on the “how” too much, we forget the “why”. It causes us not to pay attention to testimony after testimony of changed lives and the vast number of baptisms that we celebrate regularily. We simply see the methodology of our preference as THE way to do something. The irony of it all is that the Bible doesn’t even give us very many specifics for church, such as a model for an “altar call” at the end of a sermon…none of that is in the Bible at all. It’s not right or wrong…it’s just one of the options out there.
All of these amazing leaders that we watch and listen to are so diverse and so unique in their DNA. That translates into vastly different churches that all have the same result…thousands of people loving Jesus. The reality is that God loves diversity and that is seen in all of these successful churches. Aside from a method that is directly sinful and against the heartbeat of God, we need to embrace other churches and be thankful that they are touching people’s lives that we never could!
I appreciate your post about the different styles of church planting. We often forget that the real intent of the Creator in sending Jesus is to change human life. Every person has their own needs and possibilities we can reach by delivering Jesus. We also often forget that there are some things God just wants to do away with. One of these is poverty. Christ, himself, is the catalyst for blocking poverty. That is why I preach and write about overcoming poverty. My stories of Jesus and my books on a local mission to poverty, all available from Amazon.com are centered on Jesus, himself, and how he changes lives. The address is http://www.Amazon.com/-/e/B001KH6LLE, or karlevans.org. These are also available as e-books and audio books.
You hit the nail on the head! Who do we think we are to calculate and articulate the ways of God? HE who has used mear animals to talk surly can guide and use us His people to do His good will! We “Christians”, (I personally like “believers”, as believe really means in the Greek “trust”, which made the whole difference in my realization that I needed to turn from my “religion”, to “trusting”, aka faith in Him.)must stop “judgeing” others, esp. those in the faith. WE are long overdue in respecting our fellow workers of the faith. God uses each of us as He chooses, for His purposes….period! I believe the church has fallen short due to our looking inward instead of upward to much. (look at all the denominations that have had major break ups, splits,our divorce rate…same as the world…look at our fightings in and our of courts…same, our schools, our government, etc.)
God uses each of us IF we let Him. The world will change when the “church” realizes we are all different BUT all on the same side. When we quit trying to do it our way as the “only way” and come together as one body under Chrsit.
Lives changed, families changed, people being set free and acknowledging it by way of baptism, AND more importantly “lifestyle change”, is what I believe God loves to see the most. That is truly praise to Him! Everything else is just “stuff”!
Read Isaiah 58:6-12 for Gods heart for ‘believers”. This happens in and out of the “church”, as a result of a “personal relationship” with Jesus. When the body becomes one, we will see the world change big time, but until then we struggle on. May God help us to become one flesh, united in one purpose, working together for His glory!
This track of comment is one we must all some day agree on. We have far too much bickering over egos in our world, whether in business, politics, religion, discovery or education. In any of these areas, we have seen wars begin and millions killed.
As much as anything, Jesus pointed the new words of hope and the way to a life of peace in the Beatitudes.