What do you expect from church?greenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
One of the things that happens quite frequently in counseling sessions is the topic to expectations. Expectations that are unmet and expectations that are met. Alas it is the expectations that are unmet that cause problems in the relations. Once we can isolate what those expectations are that are unmet, then we begin to look to see if they are realistic expectations, are they expectations that are from child hood etc. So, what are your expectations of church. What do you feel you need to get from church. The next part of the question what can you to do to empower so your spiritual needs are met?
-- Anonymous, August 15, 2002
Hmmmmm, broad question Sister. The 3-fold mission of the church is to provide a forum for worship, evangelize the world, and build up the Body of Christ. So a church should be focusing on these three things above all others. All other activities should rate a distant second place. Every reader, take a moment to ask yourself what your church is involved in.
I'd want the pastor to be first in line to toss the program out the window if he/she feels directed to do so by the Holy Spirit. I'd want the pastor to remove time limits from services to allow the Lord to do what He wants. I'd expect the pastor to give us ONLY what the Lord gives him/her, and not a bit more or less. I'm not interested in the pastor's opinion, and neither is the Lord. I want to hear from God, and to do that the pastor must make the effort to hear from the Holy Spirit, then bring that Word to the church with nothing held back or added.
Also the board and congregation must not fight the pastor in his/her efforts to do this. There's no room for grumbling about things like going past 12:00 or changing the status quo. The congregation and leadership should be joined with the pastor in this pursuit of God's mind.
Now how to ensure my spiritual needs are met? Well, it's small children who must be spoon fed. A grownup is able to feed himself, so the primary responsibility for spiritual growth lies with each individual. Private study, time in God's presence, yielding to the Lord so we learn His lessons the first time...we should crave it all so that we may know Him better.
Hopefully the church has many baby Christians who are being spoon fed, but the rest of us should be more interested in serving than being served. We need to be available for ministry. Why is it many churches top out at 100-150? That's the most a single pastor can care for. Larger churches are actually many churches within a church, with ministry groups of many types meeting the needs of all kinds of people. To do that it takes an equipped, active, mature laity.
-- Anonymous, August 15, 2002
Rob thank you for your thoughtful response. I think it important for us as Christians to ask ourselves what we expect from church and to also ask ourselves the question "Am I contributing to building of God's kingdom" do I come on sunday to be entertained by the choir, or do I come to church to be spiritually fed so that I can tell someone else about the power of Jesus Christ and ask them to join me in church. Again Rob, I liked your response.
-- Anonymous, August 16, 2002
Amen Bro. Rob
It appears that sometimes we have the expectation that all will be well in God's house and that those who serve will act like (or at least try to act) humble servants of God. Recent disclosures of questionable leadership and behavior within the Church has shattered the expectations of some "spoon feeding" members.
Unfortunately it has been posted even on this board (by concerned or upset members)that many needs of the laity are not being met due to either insensitive or just uncaring leaders. The degree of stress today causes many to seek refuge in a place where they feel uplifted and appreciated.Sadly we find ourselves just not getting done as well as we used to.
In a book "Changes that heal" Rev. Dr. Floyd Flake spoke well during one of his Bible studies about how we do not accept our brothers and sisters with their problems and then push them to change with our support. Our Church has become (in my opinion) to judgemental and totally lacking in support of our membership. Not in all Churches but if we would give more we would have more than 150 members in most of our Churches. If Alcoholics Anon can be more supportive in helping to break the grip of alcoholic addition we have more to do in meeting the needs of the many. Alcoholism and other addictions are the result not the cause.
I pray our Church will weed out those who take the Church more as a personal institution and not as a voice to save souls. We do need budgets and reports but we need faithful leadership and role modeling more than ever before. Our walk is not supposed to be easy but God blesses us as we lift up his name in praise through these difficult times. Our spoon-fed members need to see giving up is not an acceptable option or worse we should never accept this is better than it used to be.
Growth can and will occur when we decide to climb out of the boat and walk on the water, even if we get wet we continue.
-- Anonymous, August 16, 2002
First things first, the church is like a hospital that no matter how minor or how major your problem is, God is able to heal your wounds. What happened is that we, meaning the entire church community have regarded the church as a "social club". Back in the day our pastors and first ladies where considered as our spiritual parents, and when they spoke we listened. Now we have become so laxed in church that or pastors are no longer our spiritual fathers and mothers, but have become our "shopping buddies" or good girlfriends? There was a time that some who openly practiced immoral behavior wouldn't dare sit in the pulpit, lead worship or direct the choir, but we have become so desensitized to conforming with the world's standards just to bring in members that we have lost our focus and our objective which was given to us by the Lord. The Word says, "judgement begins in the house of the Lord". The anointing flows from the top to the bottom. First thing is that the preachers, ministers and pastors need to get back in their place. Once the preachers get in line with God wants them and follow the vision which He assigned them to do then everything else will fall into place. You talk about unmet needs, the true unmet need is that most people and I am talking us church folks dont want to submit and line with the Word of God. We talk what we expect from church? The question should be asked What does God expect from us? This is more important than anything. The bottom line the church is out of place, and we need to get back in line with God. We have become too fleshly. We want to please man. The church has become "flesh on parade". The closer we get to the Lord more dead we ought get. God expects to "be holy for I am holy". But does the average preacher teach that? Rather, the average preacher teach a feel good message to apease the largest tithe payers in the church. We got so many "professionals" in the church. We got professional preachers, we got professional worship leaders we got professional prophets, everyone's got a resume, everyone's on salary, everyone's on payroll, but where is the power!?! We make excuses for our sins and instead of addressing the issues head on and call sin sin and tell they need to get delivered, we tend pacify the issues which opens the door for rebellion discontent and insuborination to spiritual authority. When you talk about uncovering the ploys satan has used to keep us church people bound, you will not be popular. See this question cannot be summed in a two or three point answer or even a five point sermon, but we must look at the hearts of each individual. See this a personal thing, each of us is functioning memeber in the Body of Christ and we are assigned to perform a specific task.Before we can address the needs of the masses we first must deal with our own sin issues. We need to repent and ask the Lord God fill us with boldness and power so that when a hurting person comes through the doors of the church, instead of trying to get them signed up for the ushers board, we will be equipped, anonited with the Holy Ghost to deal with their issues. When we come together we form one organism, which we should of one mind. However if we are not of one mind like the Word says, then how can we move forward in the charge God has given us?
-- Anonymous, August 17, 2002
Dear Sister Rogers,
What a profound question? I was just thinking yesterday that the church needs to reassess itself. What does the word of God say about our purpose and where do we stand now in relation to that purpose? I agree with the spirit of what brothers RP and Brangman and sister Crawford have said. However, I have also read that a church's success is not TOTALLY dependent on its minister. Now, of course it helps to have a minister that is led by the Holy Spirit, otherwise there will be very little if any success. Sometimes, I feel that ministers feel like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders in trying to make there local congregations successful. A prominent minister said that most churches that are successful because the individual members have a prayer life. A prayer life that involves praying for the pastor and the church. As the minister said yesterday, "Have you asked God, what is His will for your life, the church, the pastor, your children?" So if we want successful churches, the individual members have to take up the mantle and pray according to God's will.
-- Anonymous, August 19, 2002
I must admit that too many people in our churches are not getting what they expect from them. I mean they come hurting really bad, some come only wanting to feel a sense of need and want and love. We fail them sometimes by trying too hard to be sensitive to our denomination.....(I'll let you interpret that). I think the reason TD Jakes has almost 30,000 members is because so many people identify with the messenger and the message and then they come to the church and identify with the people. I attend the first church in our conference and I pastor a small rural church. I don't see much of a difference between either because both churches consist of families and educated, civilized people. We have the full instruments, electric guitars, electric pianos, a choir that sings contemporary songs and worship choruses, yet at that church, it can still seem so dead and rigid.... I said that to say this that we must not only minister to the needs of the people spiritually, but we must (as hard and low as it seems) minister to the whole man: spirit, soul and body.
-- Anonymous, August 26, 2002