“…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17
SITTING INSIDE OF A CHURCH BUILDING DOES NOT MAKE YOU A CHRISTIAN, ANYMORE THAN SITTING INSIDE A GARAGE MAKES YOU A CAR!!
Free EBook: Church What it is & is not
BUILDINGS, PROGRAMS AND DISAPPOINTMENTS
ALARM, why the alarm? What’s the big deal? When we walk by a church building and our children say, “What a pretty church,” or, “that church is big or small,” a false belief has been established that the building is the church. As that false belief is used as a foundation of truth, and we build upon it, over time great disappointment and broken expectations begin to happen.
What about this one? “Daddy, why do we have to spend so much time at church?” Can you see the set up for a rebellion? We read the Bible and hear sermons that the gates of hell cannot prevail against “the church.”
Please listen to our process. If the church is a building, then our spiritual war becomes a fight to save and defend a building and every system that supports that building. All kinds of resources: time, money and energy are spent on building “the church” (building). The precarious question here is; “… if the building burns down or falls, does that mean that the Church falls?” You know the answer. Read on for more facts that build upon this false belief.
We have also observed, as maybe you have too, that once “the church” (building) is built we don’t know what to do with ourselves, so we develop programs inside “the church” (building), to keep the people busy. What do we call the programs? We call them “ministries.”
New people (seekers), are drawn to “the church” (building) because of a youth ministry (program), or a music ministry (program), and it gets a little crowded in “the church” (building), so it’s time to remodel, add a new wing or build a new building!! And what about leadership? They use their time spinning 20 ministry plates, (programs), at a time, while playing additional roles of: architect, realtor and general contractor. Does any of this sound familiar to you? Still you ask, “What’s the big deal?” Let’s continue.
First, in this building a person sits through twelve weeks of a membership class and six weeks of a personal workers class, which are required to do any ministry, (program), in “the church” (building). Then take additional training for the ministry, (program), you feel “called” to: usher, parking lot, maintenance, nursery, children, Jr. High, Sr. High, College & Career, singles 30-40, singles 40-50, seniors, hospital, prison, Sr. homes, choir, drama, technical, home groups… shall I go on? After all of that process, one develops an expectation that they would be equipped to minister, Ephesians 4:12. The unfulfilled promises and expectations that we have seen are:
- That one would have a deeper relationship with God.
- A deeper relationship with each other.
- A more powerful move of the Holy Spirit in one’s own life.Instead, we find only around 10% of the congregation, (usually the performance-based individuals), have the stamina or motive, (good or bad), to complete such a rigorous course. After reaching the end of this great training, even they are disappointed because there is usually no deeper relationship with God, just more busyness.
Next; the disappointment that no great friendships came into being, i.e. lack of time, people checking children in with their teachers, then running to their own classes, or busy taking care of another ministry (program) item. There’s just no time to talk. Plus, there is the hidden expectation of becoming friends with the established leaders, but because of political power struggles, friendships rarely happen. If by chance they do, it has been our experience that the relationships don’t last long. The excuses range from: God has called them to go somewhere else to them getting fired from their position.
What about a more powerful move of the Holy Spirit? That too takes a relationship, and this system is usually in too big of a hurry to wait and listen. One is trained to “make things happen” anyway. Oh, there is an appearance of relationships as family seminars are taught, and certain testimonies are highlighted concerning friends or advertisements are sent out like, “The End of your Search for a Friendly Church.” But it doesn’t take long to look closely and see that 10% are required to keep an image of relationships, with God and man, so that the other 90% of the people will do their job. If the image is not upheld, political power plays take place, and if not kept under wraps, there are new words introduced into our religious vocabulary, such as “church splits” or our minister is suddenly “called” to leave his flock and shepherd another.
What about the other 90%? Every performance needs an audience and these 90% are expected to come to, “the church,” (building) once or twice a month, watch the performance, and give money to pay the bills. Where does it stop? “Father God, forgive us!”
You may agree that what I just described is true in some cases but it really can’t be all that bad. You may even be saying to yourself that the ministry you are in is different; your ministry is the exception to all the rest. Hmmm. Every time I have found myself as the exception, I needed to retrace my steps on how I arrived at that conclusion.
SATANS SUBTLE LIE
Satan has tried persecuting the Church in the day of the Roman Empire and it backfired on him. Every Christian martyred, only made the church grow bigger, deeper and faster. Today in America it is important that we not only see the huge blatant attack on the church but also the subtle attack and the subtle lie Satan has spun over the last 1700 years in the world and the last 200 years in America. The subtle lie, that “the church” is the building. It is like a house built on sinking sand. When the rainstorms come, no matter what we build, it will fall with great destruction. We rebuild, it falls again. We rebuild under a new name it falls again.
I remember the day an older gentleman gave me this definition for insanity. He said, “Insanity is when you keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome.”
TWICE AS FIT FOR HELL
Do I dare take this to another level and talk about missions? What have we tried to reproduce overseas when we “spread the light”?
“…you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” ~ Matthew 23:15
Sorry if this all sounded unfair and judgmental. The truth is that from my past, like Paul, I can now see the huge trail of deception and abuse in the building system. At the same time I can see the great freedom in our Lord’s simple but powerful design for His Church. There are times I do want to scream FREEDOM!
Ok, let me ask and answer a question for you so that you can keep reading. Are you saying that if we meet in buildings that we are making new converts twice as fit for hell? No. Please keep reading, remember this was our process.
What have we discovered in Chapter Three?
14. The wrong definition of a small word can destroy a home, a nation and a world.
15. The church is not a building.
16. A building ministry usually promotes abuse and great disappointment in both the leadership and the congregation.
17. Making people who follow us, twice as fit for hell.
Personal Journal Insert:
This freedom seems to come with such a great cost, at times I grieve so deeply for the hundreds of old friends and millions of people, I see enslaved in the building system. Even when a brother in our study group told me he didn’t know what to do with all of his free time now that his calendar wasn’t slammed with “church activities”. He acknowledged that he liked the old system, he didn’t have to think, he just did as he was told. Now to discipline ourselves to hear from our Lord personally and be accountable to Jesus for what we do with our time, finances, influence, family and neighborhood life is tough. It is so daily. It is a relationship with Jesus, His Church and the world we are trying to reach.