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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

XIX. Let Me Entertain You

Results from the last poll on what do you want to see more of at church?
  • 68% more worship. The Church needs to set more time for worship. Worship is the first defense against the worldly pressures. When the Israelites were going to war God told them to put the singers first and lead them into battle. 2 Chronicles chapter 13 tells us that when Judah was being surrounded in battle those with trumpets blew their horns, the men cried out to God and Judah was triumphant that day. This is why worship is so important to the lives of Christians. We're are living in a world that hates us; in a world that will tear us down. Worship lifts us up again because it brings true hope and change. Not like those who only promise hope and change. The question is...how are we worshiping? In truth? For show? For time allotment? Too many churches have a set number of songs they sing each week thereby taking emphasis away from this crucial part of the Christian's life.
  • 57% wanted more small group studies at the church. There is a major push to having home studies only. This is not a bad idea but sometimes Sundays are the only day that people have to set aside for studies in this world of go go go. Too many times we forget how important this is. More in depth studies to understand the life God has planned for us are needed.
  • 52% say more missions are needed. This is saying that the Church focuses too much time on itself. This may be due to the fact that many churches have been "sub-urbanized" to the core. This cold hearted fact of the suburb mentality may be killing some churches spiritually. The mentality of "keeping up with the Jones'" means people are more self-centered and holding back tithes and offerings to fulfill their own personal mission: Being fulfilled in life by being richly blessed i.e. money!
  • Not surprisingly 0% said more entertainment was needed. The big question here is why are churches then focusing on being a form of entertainment? They all will say that is not what they are doing but in reality...yes, they are. Movies, plays, concerts, and all the like are good ways of bringing people in to the church. And they are a great form of communication when used correctly. But why is it every Sunday? Why is it every event? Is the Church located in Los Angeles (Hollywood)? Are we all Clinton and Obama followers? Do we all need to be entertained each week? What happens when the entertainment isn't so entertaining? Will we turn in off just like a bad TV show? Churches need more substance. Even 42% said the sermons need to be more in depth.

A true growing church needs balance. Something for all. But it also needs to get real. Many people who go to church will walk away feeling good but will never hear what the message is all about because they had to run back out into the lobby to refill their coffee cup. Gimmicks are not a correct way of teaching people about Christ. There is a church that actually had auctioned off a car to get people to come to the church. Why wasn't the money spent on the car used to fulfill a mission?

12 comments:

Justme said...

Interesting. But isn't the goal of the churches to "save people for the Lord"? To bring people to Christ? I have not been a christian for most of my life - in fact, only for about the last 10 years or so have I even been truly looking. I hear people say they want more worship, more small groups, more in depth sermons...for THEM. These are our mature christians.
What about more evangalism? What about more service? What about more actual tithing - not just what we have left after we have all our toys, cars, vacations, kids sports, etc...? We want more and more FROM the church and, as a whole, seem to GIVE less and less.
I have lots of awesome christian friends - some put their money where their mouths are, but many show up for the "convienent sunday small groups" and the service and you never see them any other time.
57% want more, deeper small groups? They are out there. You can even start your own. What exactly are they looking for? (Would be a good poll.) We have started an indepth study more than once in the small group at our church. We invited everyone. We would start with 30 people and by week 3 were down to maybe 7. The studies are once a week - most of the time only during the school year - because everyone is busy in the summer with vacations, kids being home, and family outings. I asked one person why they weren't coming any more and they said they just couldn't fit it in there schedule. The truth is we make time for what we deem tuly important. We all do - me included, as I am not the perfect, model christian.
68% want more worship - I would love that, but what I have found is that - that is the case only if it is the "style" they think is right, and we all have our own opinion on that. We could let the spirit lead our worship, but what would happen if the service wasn't the "1 hour" we seem to tolerate. How many people would continue to come if the services were 1 1/2 - 2hours or we never knew how long?
52% want more missions? It takes money and volunteers. It is the same 20 or so people out of hundreds that participate in any outreaches/missions in all of the churches I have gone to over the years. Many people will buys gifts to hand out, but only 10 will show to hand them out. Many people will donate there coats, but only 3 will stay to deliver them. Many of us have the - "I gave, I did my part now leave me alone I am busy" metality.

As Kennedy once said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" - that applies here for "Marture" christians. WE are the church not the staff, priests, misinsters, elders. Mention that to christians and step back because tempers flare...and words like "balance", "judgmental", and "it's not my place to say anything to anyone else" come spewing out. Jesus's minisrty, in His 3 years, was His life - not just part of it. No, He did not have children or a family. God calls us to be His servants..ALL of us...those with families just a much as those who don't. Does that mean you leave your kids alone while you serve? No, that means you serve in ways in which your kids can serve with you. Does that mean we have to give up our vacations, toys, kids activites (because our kids can't get scholarships or great resume's with out them)? No, not totally, but maybe your vacation is only 1 week not 2, maybe it is camping and not to Disney World for the
3rd time, maybe our kids get to play one season and not every sport all year around.
But show me a child raised with the thought that you work hard for the Lord! That people are more important than things? That life doesn't revolve around them, but around God? A child raised with real Godly priorities, love for their fellow man, and an honest relationship with Jesus. That child will be the richest! (Maybe not by the world's standard, althought they could very well succeed.)That child is truly blessed by God's standards! I would take that any time! I wished I was raised like that!
I go to a non-denominational church. They use a band, videos, plays and I do not feel entertained. I feel blessed. I feel loved! I feel touched every time I go into that building with the right heart, but that is the key isn't it? It's all about the heart - the holy spirits domain.

Gozreht said...

Justme,

You have some great points. A little bit about how I write before we have more discussion. I say things as though they are fact. I take some things a little to the extreme to get people thinking, so although we sound like we disagree somewhat we think more alike than what it appears to be.

With that said... :)

Many have accused me of "not wanting people saved" because of my views about this topic of "entertainment" in the church. I of course am all for reaching people and bringing the news to them in a way they will understand. But I do not believe in watering down the Gospel of Christ. I believe that when we try and use the culture as our force of delivering the message then we lose part of the message. Part of the message, not all of it.

Evangelism, Small groups, worship and missions. I agree with you. It alwasy ends up the way you say. But why? You can disagree with me on this but I believe it's because we have lostthe message as I have previously mentioned. We are raising immature Christians, just like society is raising immature humans. Today's Christian is being raised in a society of parenting with no Christian morals. And that lifestyle is filtering into the Church.

I keep asking this question. And I will again here. No one has given an answer. Even if the answer is not a satisfying one I would accept it but no one has done it. How much can the Church change and still be the Church?

Your vacation point (although not your main focus) is a good analogy to use. Too many people live in this vacation mindset. What if you take your family on vacation every year. But one year you just can't afford to go. I have seen kids in a family such as this go haywire because they didn't get a vacation. They think life is all about getting stuff out of other things. We live in material world. That can be seen by Christmas shopping season. We are creatures of habit. And this is what is happening in the church. All we want is fun, fun, fun. Well what happens when daddy takes the T-bird away?

Look, I don't mind entertainment. I think videos help. I think plays can bring it to our attention. I think worship teams are needed to lead. I think all of these are good tools. But I have seen it first hand (and not just my local congregation) to where that is all people do and the Church never grows spiritually.

I still believe in a balance. The church is all of us. All of us need to be active members of something we are part of. But there needs to be something for all of us as well. Some churches can't do that. I don't have a problem with that. I have a problem with churches who refuse to do that. I could go on but I think it may become too personal with me with things that have been said to me by leaders so I will let it go.

You have great points. Feel free to say more.

Anonymous said...

Who said the worship time has to be on sunday and add an extra 1/2 hour? Maybe it should be in the middle of the week. Even if only five people show then five people are going to worship God and may be standing in the gap for others. All your other statements I can agree with. I think though leadership has to wake up and actually lead instead of just making decisions about new programs. All the people need something, even the mature ones.

No Doubt said...

"But isn't the goal of the churches to "save people for the Lord"? To bring people to Christ?"

In a word.....No.

The reason or goal for the gathering of God's people is for Corporately Worshipping God and the edification of Gods people. Believe it or not, it is not for socializing. The reason why we have Gods people clamoring for more small groups, more in-depth sermons is because todays church is a social club.

Bringing people into the "Body" is done through evangelism, service, living our lives as beacons of God, etc...which is done outside of worship or at least it's supposed to be. We have thrown it all together and we ask ourselves, "Why do people leave or are unhappy with "our church"?" Maybe they're not part of your small group because it's not part of the body of Christ. That's not an accusation but a question we should ask ourselves daily.

Too many of our churches get caught up doing things for God but forget about their first love. Sound familiar?

I could say more but you're probably saying, "Shut up already."

However, I do agree with Anonymous. Worship is a 24/7 thing. I used to get aggravated because of the people who just wants to do the Sunday thing. Now it saddens me. I let God get aggravated. It took me a long time to realize that the True Believers are far outnumbered by non-believers and there is nothing I can do about that. God is not satisfied with that but he still came to the earth for me and you.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Soon and very soon, we're going to see the King. I think someone should write a song like that. ;-)

Justme said...

Gozreht,
I would like to try to answer your question, but first I need a starting point. When you say change...change from what? When is it that you consider the church was "The church" before it began changing?
And Anonynous - I want to look up something before I answer your post - you have a really good point about the leaders needing to "lead not just make the decisions".

Gozreht said...

No Doubt,

WOW! Someone put my words into something with substance. Thank you!!!!!!! The church is just a building. THEE CHURCH is the people. The gathering at the church is for THEE CHURCH to praise and worship. The real saving is when THEE CHURCH is out on the street! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Gozreht said...

Justme,

Here are some starting points, just to name a few:

1. 1 Corinthians 1:2 "To the Church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy..."
2. Leviticus 20:26 "You shall be holy to me, for I the LORD am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine."
3. Matthew 25:32 "Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats."


If we look like and act like the culture goats)how can we be separated from the goats? I do noy usually use one verse to describe my thoughts but these are starting places. I myself get lost in the culture and forget my spiritual being at times. And I know the church building is not the saving place but if I can't find help there on those bad days then where can I find help? Now imagine you are young in Christ and you see no difference in the way the two ways of life are. Why go to church when I can stay home and be evangelized (entertained)?

BTW, keep going. I want to hear more fom you.

Gozreht said...

Justme,

I created a poll similar to your request with a twist. I hope it suits your desire.

Gozreht said...

Not trying to rub it in, but I still get no answer about my question. Why can't anyone answer it? It's a fair question. I think it can be answered but I think the reason why no one does is that it negates what their congregation or their actions are doing. They would have to realize they need to change. This is not to corner Justme, this is directed towards anyone who can actually try and answer the question: How much can the church change and still be the church? I don't care if I don't like the answer. All I want is just one!

No Doubt said...

"God's church is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Anything that deviates is a cult."

One of the sobering lessons from Matthew 7:21

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."

Gozreht said...

So when do you start deviating? Where is the line? Some things are non-biblical but still okay to do while others are not. When do you officially become a cult?

No Doubt said...

Knowing Gods Word is knowing Gods Will. Therefore, any deviation from Gods Word is a deviation from Gods Will.

We, as God people, must understand that Gods Will is black and white with no shades of gray. When we go into those shades of gray, we venture into cultism, therfore sin and death.

Obviously, that's why Jesus came and died for us. But that doesn't give us the freedom to do whatever we want. We must become one with the Word as he is one with the Father. Becoming one with the Word is how we gain an intimate relationship with God and exist as his church.

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