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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Is Your Church Successful?

I just read the stories of several mega-church pastors. The attendance in their churches reaches the thousands. Some of these pastors have resigned. Some of them are preaching a gospel other than the one that I understand from the Bible. Each of them seemed to put church growth ahead of everything else. Each one of them is worth millions of dollars. Many of them are watched on tv by our own church family.

The actions of these mega-church pastors are not proof that mega-churches are bad. History cites many churches that grew to huge attendances who did much for the cause of Christ. There have been many preachers who were unaffected by the fame and were never enticed by the avarice of huge incomes. These churches started other churches, sent out missionaries and sent millions of dollars to mission agencies. Their lights burned bright for the cause of Christ.

A church must consider her values before she can call herself a success. What happens to the church who focuses solely on attendance? The temptation to change her message to accommodate and lure others in is enormous. Thus, pastors fall into the trap of giving hearers things which tickle their ears. The messages fail to speak of Christian commitment and make God someone who wants to help people reach what they have always wanted. The message that the world brings- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:16)- becomes the message of the church. You want to have a great sex life? God can help you with that. You want to be rich? God will make you rich. You want to be someone of significance in the world? God will make you a victor in the world.

Surely, you have heard these messages. They draw huge crowds. Those who preach them stay away from messages that speak of taking up a cross. They don’t mention the need to hate father, mother, wife, children and personal life to be a disciple of Jesus. Can these churches make Jesus’ disciples if they don’t mention these things? I can’t see how.

So, what would happen if we had thousands in attendance but had no one who matured as a believer? What if no one took up a cross after attending here for any length of time? What if no one understood that God’s will might lead to martyrdom?

I can tell you plainly what this means. It means we have been a failure.

Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)
19  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

1 comment:

Anthony Chia said...

Bullseye! I pondered on these things that you wrote.

Actually, I don't want to "attack" the persons such as those of the hyper-grace; in any case, I still believe I write NOT with the frame of attacking the person, and I don't name the person. Scripture talks about we should judge the teachings coming to us, and so, we have to be discerning, and even warn others about them. Of course, teachings came out from individuals, and so, the persons are implicated. But, hey, if you (Ps Prentis, not referring to you) are free to preach, I am free to balance out lobe-sided teachings, heresies, or apostasies, if I have the opportunity.

I always remind myself that it is the teaching that I judge, but NOT the individual who teach, for only His Master knows best what He had assigned to his servant. And here is what I have to accept, and it is that God uses imperfect ones; for if He would work only with perfect ones, there will be none to work with. And so, while I write and speak against questionable teachings, I always remind myself, the individuals could actually be a servant of God, and accordingly, I must NOT think that nothing good ever comes out of the works of the individuals. So, Ps Prentis, you are right; there are some good coming out from the mega churches with "off-the-track" teachings, but that is because (1) God deals corporately as well as individually, and (2) Romans 8:28 - in all things, God works it for the good of those who love Him, called according to His purpose. Even what is meant to be evil, God could use it, in His wisdom, to bring good (but of course, it is still no excuse for one to be careless with His Word and works).

Hey, God say to us to allow the weeds to remain with the wheats, so, it is not surprising that He may allow various sorts of servants continue working. Even so, none will escape assessment of God, especially those who hold up His name, correctly or wrongly, in their works. Those who are willful wrong, God is waiting for their turning around.

I marvel at God versatility, and His long suffering, and at same time, I remind myself that He is coming for His unblemished bride, not any bride, but the unblemished bride. Is your church part of that unblemished bride? Are you part of that unblemished bride? Or are you fooled by the hyper-grace teaching that the moment you have entered into salvation, you are perfect and so, you are unblemished and can never be blemished?!

Anthony Chia, high.expressions