Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Now if you started reading my blog thinking I was going to talk about the heresy of modalism, you will be disappointed. What I am talking about is the way we “do church”. I have been reading a book called Pagan Christianity. I have read Simple Church, Kingdom Focused Church, Purpose Driven Church, and a bunch of books that aren’t about the church, but they way we should behave in church. Small groups, Sunday School, Corporate worship, House Churches, who should lead, what they should lead and when and where they should lead it. Who started what and when and why.

Here is my conclusion. No one is happy with anything in the church. Big churches should be smaller, small churches should be larger. Some want praise songs, some want hymns. Most of the time, there is minimal scriptural evidence to support this stuff. Book after book after book of half-cocked arguments. Now with Pagan Christianity, the book says we shouldn’t even have a church service. We shouldn’t have paid clergy (unemployment here I come), or church buildings or music or any of that stuff.

Here is what else annoys me. 99% of the stuff that is being argued is details. We have done a church service the same way for 200 years. We have prayer, singing, sermon, passing the plate and invitation, not always in that order. It hasn’t changed, but we argue about what sort of plates to pass, how fast the music should be, and if we should pray in old, middle and modern English.

Here is my answer. DO WHAT GOD TELLS YOU. Just as equally important. DON’T ASSUME GOD TOLD EVERYONE ELSE WHAT HE TOLD YOU. God told Joshua to kill a whole lot of people. Doesn’t mean you should. God told Abraham to sacrifice his son. You shouldn’t, God may not intervene for you. God told Noah to build a big boat. He didn’t tell you to build a big boat. Listen and then obey. A pastor named Don Pierson told a prayer conference I was in that God expects the time from His command to your obedience to be very short. If you have to stop and tell everyone else how to do what God told you, it makes your obedience be longer. If God tells you to go to a house church, then go. If God tells you to go to a big church, a small church, a growing church, even a dying church, because He wants you to breath life.

Be obedient is first. Be scriptural is second. I can’t list all the things that we want to do in church because it’s cultural, not scriptural. Guess what, there are things that make sense that are wrong. Rule of thumb, if you have to create an elaborate theology, filled with logic and reason to justify your position, it’s probably off. If your position cannot be justified by scripture, then maybe it’s time to rethink. Even if your idea is not popular, God is not real concerned with you being popular.

Last thing. Quit complaining. Too many whiners out there. In football, they call those armchair quarterbacks. If you are unhappy, either do something about it, or be happy. Either trust God that He put that leader or leadership team in place, or reality is that you are at a church where you feel that God didn’t put the leadership in place. If that’s the case, why are you still there? Then we can have less books to tell us what’s right or what’s wrong or what’s good or what’s bad. I closed a blog with the statement about being a church and being The Church. Be part of the worldwide body of Christ. Minister to others, witness, evangelize, help, reach out. All the time we spend talking and fighting and backbiting, and causing divisions and factions takes away from the time we need to spend being The Church, the Catholic (which means universal, I’m not referring to the denomination) Church.


  1. Easy for you to say, "Do something about it!". No offense but finding a good fit for a church is extremely difficult.

    There should be a website where churches post info about themselves and patrons could search for things they like.

    My search would be for a congregation sized between 100 and 1,000 where children are welcome in services, expository preaching preferred, A No frills church that worships with both hymns and contemporary music. Prefer mostly Calvinism and a humble preacher. This church would be no further than 25 miles from the greater Des Moines, IA area and has a strong emphasis on local missions/evangelism.

    You wouldn't think this would be difficult. However, most churches nowadays don't like kids in the service even when they're well behaved. The gospel is often watered down by pastors who don't understand that they are the spiritual LEADERS and the congregation's GUIDES.

    Then there's the thing about denominations. Which to choose? I'm not charismatic so that leaves out Pentecostals and Assemblies of God. Lutheran congregations are too Liberal socially for my liking and I'm not Catholic. It seems Presbyterians and Church of Christ churches are allowing Gays to lead the congregation (among other things) which is Biblical suicide.

    I've done the Baptist thing but that hasn't been easy either. One pastor was too full of himself to sit down and have a conversation. Too busy, too important. Let's discuss this with everyone surrounding you after Sunday service even though you're not ready. Another Baptist church was great in regards to scripture and the pastor was very approachable. However, they only sung Hymns, the men wore suits and the women dresses. I can't afford to wear a suit and particularly don't like nooses around my neck.

    I still don't understand the difference between a Southern Baptist and General Baptist. And why are most Baptist preachers in this area from the Ankeny Baptist Bible College? It doesn't seem a good idea to have a stream of people from one institution offering little diversification. Why not from Dallas Theological Seminary, Masters Colllege, etc?

    I've been attending a church which is part of the Great Commission of Churches (GCC, or GCAC, GCM, or etc) and they seem to have what I want. However, now I've found out that there is a lot of controversy regarding this church's leadership and there's actually a website dedicated to dissuading people from attending the GCM set of churches for what seem valid reasons. I have to ask myself, do I continue down that road?

    I know I'm complaining which is exactly what you said not to do. However, it's not like I haven't done something about it and it wouldn't be right to go into a church trying to "change things". Any ideas?

    Anyway, thanks for letting me vent and thanks for the post.

  2. Thanks for your comment Twilight Troll. Let me start by saying yes, it is easy for me to say. I didn't really choose a church in a traditional way, I chose a church based on where I felt called to serve and minister. That being said, the first key is to think about the purpose and reason to go to church. Contrary to popular belief, the purpose of church is not to worship. Before you label me as a heretic, let me explain. Worship is a lifestyle, not an action. You don't worship for one hour and then spend the rest of your week in other activities. You worship with your life, with your activities all week. We don't go to church to worship, we don't go to church to "be fed". We go to church for one reason, and that is to become part of the community of faith. The family of God. We go to church to connect with other believer.

    With that as the foundation, some of the items are more important, some are less. Worship style (hymns, praise songs, etc) are not important, that's just preference. You can tolerate anything for the 30 minutes to an hour of the worship service.

    Foundational issues are truth, community, true fellowship, ministry and compassion. It's important that the church care about you, your kids and your spiritual well being.

    I agree about the kids. It's important for you to be able to be in community with your kids, to teach them about cooperate worship, to answer questions. The truth being preached is important. The theology is important.

    Here is your 30 second guide to Baptists. Baptists are connected mainly by cooperation. Theology is very similar. Southern Baptists are known for the Cooperative Program. We pool money together to support missions both local and world wide. It's a cooperation towards global Christian community.

    Here is my advice. Find a church were you connect with people. It may be in a house church, it may be in a coffee shop, or it may be in a traditional church. Connect in a small group setting, like a Small Group or Sunday School. Build relationships, build community. The rest of church is something we do culturally.

    Worship is important, theology is important, but community, a community of faith is of first importance. Hope that helps. Keep the faith!