Posted by: pastortomvabeach | April 1, 2014

Thought for the Week April 6, 2014

I thought that today would be a good day to let all of my readers know that, after much prayer and consultation, Lilia and I will be moving to the Philippines about this time next year. We have talked about doing missions work there for a long time and since I’ll be eligible for full Social Security next year, we feel like this fits well in God’s timing for us. I hope this won’t come as too much of a shock to anyone.

Oh, by the way, I am writing this “thought” on the first day of April and I just “thought” that a good April Fool’s joke might be a great way to get things rolling here! What’s the joke? Well, we’re not going anywhere, that is, unless the Lord interrupts our lives and tells us to go. As far as we know, the last thing He told us was that we would be here at Christian Chapel until we die or until He sovereignly tells us different! April Fool!

Now to get on with more serious things. Last week I gave you the first installment of Dr. Tejado Hanchell’s article, Church Members, Here Are Ten Ways to KILL Your Church. Did you ever consider that a church’s members have a lot to do with declines of that church? Romans 12:4-5 says, As we have many members in one body but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Paul then goes on to encourage everyone to use the gifts that God has given them for the good of the entire body (the church). If we’re engaged in the work of the local church to make disciples of Jesus Christ and all using our gifts, the church will grow. It’s when a number of us begin to receive more than we give that things decline.

With that thought, here are the second five of Dr. Hanchell’s Ten Ways to KILL Your Church.

“6. Get mad if you’re not appointed to a leadership position. So many people in church are focused on titles. They want to be directors, deacons and dignitaries, and when they are not appointed to a position, they begin to stir up trouble. This is a manifestation of deep-seated pride, and pride is one of the most dangerous killers of all.

“7. Never give your opinion in a meeting…wait until AFTER the meeting. A surefire sign of a church that is on its deathbed is one that has major ‘meetings-after-the-meeting.’ You know, where no one voices their honest opinion or offers useful insight during the official meeting, but are quick to huddle in a corner or the church parking lot after the meeting to harp on how ‘it ought to be done.’ There are chalk lines all over church parking lots outlining exactly where the murder took place.

“8. Do nothing more than absolutely necessary. Show up, go home, but don’t be an active, engaged member of the church. It’s hard to reach ‘the least of these’ when we’re only doing the least we can do. The sad reality, however, is that most people who only want to do the least, love to criticize those who are doing the most! They howl about how the church is being run by a clique, when they never offered or took initiative to get any work done. They just stand on the sideline and watch the church die. At the very least, they are an accessory to the murder.

“9. Hold back on your giving to the Lord. It takes money to do ministry — especially to do mercy ministry for the underserved in our communities. Tim Keller says that ‘Mercy ministry is expensive.’ When we hold back on our giving to the Lord and His work, we are limiting the work that can be done through the local church. Additionally, since there are operational costs associated with a church or ministry, a lack of giving can lead to the church being foreclosed, laying off staff and other adverse results. Some people say, ‘Well, all the church wants is money.’ The same can be said of Walmart, yet they keep taking their money there! While I do not discount that there have been those who have abused and misused the church for financial gain, there are thousands of churches serving in their communities who are dying because of a lack of finances. When we stop giving, we are killing those churches…and the countless lives they touch each day.

“10. Don’t reach out to the unchurched. The primary purpose of the Church is to introduce people to Jesus. The people in the pews must take ownership of that responsibility and become ‘minichurches’ that reach out to the unchurched every day of the week and bring them to the house of the Lord to be discipled. Churches need regular and consistent ‘transfusions.’ When new people are brought into the church, they bring new life and vibrancy. They ensure that the church doesn’t get stuck in the old way of doing things. They bring fresh perspective, and they help keep the church alive. Don’t kill your church! Go and bring in some new people today.”

Dr. Hanchell found these ideas in a pamphlet that was written in 1959. If someone wanted to kill a church then or in the first century or today, I think these methods would work just fine. They are especially effective when used together in various combinations. So what should that say to us? Does Jesus want us to be church killers or fellow laborers with Him in building His church? We could actually adopt a position of doing just the opposite of all ten of these church killers and get a church explosion – explosion of growth! Now I’m for that! What about you? Just a thought.

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