While I do not doubt that God’s will cannot be thwarted, as a church we need to come to realize that there are certain needs that the church has that God will not provide. Yes, he has given it everything it needs to grow into a mature church (Eph. 4:11-12. However, apostles, elders, preachers, prophets and teachers can only do so much. The church is made up of more than just the visible “ministers” of the church. And until these other needs are met, the church will not and cannot grow in spirit or in number. Just what are those needs? You
This church cannot survive without you. You are the most important member of this church. If you fail to be a part of the church here in Grinnell this church suffers. I know that Paul told us to view others as more important than ourselves and I am not trying to contradict him. What I mean is this church needs you! It is easy to disregard yourself as unimportant. Not all of us here are song leaders, bible class teachers or preachers. Not all of us here have the ability, talent, or qualifications to fill those needs. However, you are important. I understand that the church here is not as large as it once was. Each time we gather we can see that “record attendance” and realize that we are still afar off. Yes, I realize that many of the reasons those who have nothing to do with things that we could have avoided; some have passed away and others have moved away. However, these are not the only reasons why this church is not closer to those record numbers. When we consider our current predicament, we each can choose one of three paths. First, you could ignore the problem and pretend that the church is growing as it should. We can think that the only reason why attendance is down is because this is Iowa and the churches just aren‘t strong here. The real problem is not what is going on in the town of Grinnell or in the state of Iowa. The real problem lies within the congregation itself. We can refuse to fix the problem or we can work together to fix it. Second, you could refuse to fix the problem. That is, you can recognize that the church is not growing as it should, but proclaim, “It’s not my job.” My friends, the church absolutely needs you! Furthermore, serving in the Lord‘s vineyard is every Christian‘s job. Or you could take the third option. Go to work! Fix the problem! Did you know that the gospel has the power of God unto salvation and not you?! Did you know Paul did not preach with wisdom or eloquent speech? Did you know that Peter, Andrew, James and John were mere fishermen? John the Baptist was a rugged man of the wilderness? Christ was the son of a carpenter? Christ chose working class people. Maybe it was because he knew they would go to work! Respect for God’s Word
I do not mean this in the sense of “book chapter verse.” I mean this in the sense that we must have respect for His word in its ability to save. The gospel has the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). Saying that it doesn’t work today like it did then is disrespectful. To think that we are wiser than God is foolish! Sadly, churches of Christ that were once considered “conservative” are doing that very thing. They are using gimmicks to get people to come to church. They have turned the church into a human institution whose primary job is to increase attendance while increasing revenue. I have often wondered how far men would go to lure people to Christ. Truth be told, I have actually seen a denomination use a beer tent at a local festival to increase attendance. Should this be the pattern we use today? Another way in which we can show disrespect towards God’s word is by the amount of time we devote ourselves to daily bible studies. We are easily distracted by baseball, basketball, gardening, and all other sorts of recreational activities. These activities are not wrong in and of themselves. However, we can be disrespecting God’s word by spending more time with these activities than we do with His word. Perhaps it isn’t at all shocking that churches are using recreational activities to attract members, after all that is what these “churches” know best.
Respect for the Local Church
In Eph. 5 Paul likens the relationship between the church and Christ to the relationship between husband in wife. In doing so, he showed how much Christ loved the church. He loved her so much that He was willing to die for her to provide for her what she needed to be clean and whole. If we are going to be followers of Christ, shouldn’t we be willing to do the same. Too often Christians are more concerned about what is good for themselves as opposed to what is good for the congregation as a whole. We must come to realize that when we gather together that self must be placed aside and focus upon what is good for your sister or brother in Christ, even if that means that we must make some personal sacrifices.
Grinnell church of Christ
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