We are looking at some of my many observations about the Church as it currently is in many nations and many locations… These are general issues that are, in my opinion, effecting many local churches today regardless of the nation they are located in. Issues that are serious but fixable. It will take time to repair the damage done and being done to the Church by these issues but it is doable. To accomplish the needed changes we will need strong, biblical, servant leadership and a tremendous amount of patience and prayer. The first 21 observations are found in the previous blogs with the same name… Let’s continue with a few more of my observations.
22> We are facing a challenge that is two-sided. First, people are wanting to be entertained and not equipped. They are looking for teachings that are not going to challenge them to do something or stretch them spiritually, relationally, or financially. They want ‘comfortable’ teachings that tell them everything is alright and God is pleased with them just as they are. Thus, they like short teachings that are entertaining, even funny. They are looking for “teachers who will tickle their ears” (2 Timothy 4:3).
The other side of this lack of hunger for substance is the leaders who are bowing to this expectation and simply teaching fluff – words without substance and depth. In conversation with one of my interpreters recently he commented that he had recently left a very large and popular church in his city (as had some of his friends a few months before) because the pastor did not teach the Bible in any depth and was seriously boring. He finally decided that he had slept through his last sermon and went looking for a church where he could be fed, equipped, and “grow up in every way into Him who is the Head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).
23> In many places people are no longer committed to one local church but attend a number of churches. Or, they have simply stopped attending any church. The end result is the same – they are not connected to a local church family and thus not active as a part of any local church body. The Bible states that each one of us is placed in a Body by God and must be an active, contributing members of that Body – the local church (1 Corinthians 12).
So, these believers are out of biblical order and should be actively praying and looking for a local church to which they can commit and become a vital and contributing member of. If not then they continue to believe they are okay with God and even minister as they travel from church to church … and really they are simply in rebellion and not living a biblically-based lifestyle. They are really dangerous.
24> Many believers are having spiritual experiences that they are not then checking to the standard – the Bible. They are assuming that because they are “spiritual” experiences then they must be from God. A reminder: We are in a war with “the domain of darkness” (Colossians 1:13) and the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4) and thus spiritual experiences need to be tested (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21). Not everything we experience is from God.
So, as a result, many believers are being deceived. And, even when they look to see if their experience might be biblical, they are so ignorant of the Word and how to properly understand God’s Word that they simply twist verses, taking them out of context, to back up and confirm their experience.
25> Many leaders and believers today are discovering their giftings and callings. This is good, very good. It will make for a stronger and more effective Church if… And, it is a big IF.
A person who is gifted and not broken is dangerous. By broken I mean the person has come to realize that they are really nothing and can do nothing of eternal significance except by trusting in and totally relying on God. They cannot rely on their talents, skills, education, position, or anything else except the leading of the Holy Spirit and the supernatural power of God. In other words, they are humble and not proud, dependent and not independent. They are submitted and accountable.
A broken and gifted person is a blessing to the local church and the Kingdom of God. They will be productive and effective in their ministry and will have solid, longterm relationships within a local church where they will serve and bless many.
As we look at the Church today there is a great deal that we need to deal with. We simply cannot hide from the issues that exist and we must be bold and empowered by God to raise the issues and move forward in a positive and constructive way into health and wholeness.