Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Biblical Church Part 8

We were discussing Doctrines' affect on the church last time.  What is Outreach ?

This is the point that took me a long time to understand.  Why do we have so many churches that seem to be all over the map with activities, services and outreach?  A friend put it best to me:  “Some churches have a specific ministry they are called to do”
That was the best piece of knowledge I received that year!  A church like the Salvation Army was an offshoot of the Methodist church in England.  Their primary goal was to help the poor and destitute with both the gospel and material needs.  Another way of putting it is “Put your money where your mouth is”         Faith without works isdead

 I personally have struggled with ministries that help the poor.  And the reason is because of my upbringing.  My parents were raised in the depression.  Their parents were proud independent people.  My mother didn’t believe in government assistance and once told me a story that my grandfather was so proud that they almost starved because he did not want a hand out.  In many ways this is good, because St Paul said that if any will not work, neither shall he eat.   Unfortunately, I have carried these teachings into adult life.  I have seen since my teenage years groups of people in Los Angeles that would milk the system and strangers for money and food simply because they “would not work”.  Please note that I stated would not work and not cannot.  They chose to find food by other than honorable means!  This philosophy left me jaded before I turned 25!  But, one day I realized when meditating on Jesus Miracles in John that some people sought him only for the

. . . loaves and fishes” and others followed him for less than genuine reasons (Read all of John ch 6 in context and compare with Matthew 8:18-22)

So, I have come to terms with the idea that if you have a helping ministry, you must be prepared to deal with the ungrateful, freeloaders, leeches and a segment of poor but covetous people as well! You will also need deep pockets; this is an important lesson! 

Where does this leave ministries?  

There has been a cry from some independent thinkers that we should have a first-century church model of house churches sharing the gospel.  This is fine, provided you have the same miracles of feeding the multitudes, sicknesses healed and the dead brought back to life.  If this is so, I’m all for it!  

When looking at the Biblical model we see three important things:
Our society is diverse and has different needs even within the same city.  A church in the inner city may conduct their service and behave differently from a Hispanic church in the same neighborhood.  The same goes for a church in the upper class suburbs.  It is just as important to reach the down and out as it is to reach the young upper class professionals.  How is it done?  Different ministries are employed, but the same gospel must be preached!  A Pastor once said that the sign of a healthy church was to have a strong Childrens program, Teens present, adult families and seniors.  A church that did not have youth, adults and seniors was a weak church. He considered it a barometer of church health.   Even in building, finance and manufacturing the lesson of having something structurally unsound or top-heavy is sure to fail.  The same goes with the church.  Now there are exceptions to this rule, because God is in charge,  and he sees and knows infinitely more than we do. 
Aside from this, does he not expect us to use come common sense?
There are a plethora of churches and ministries, but they don’t seem to fit into a Biblical model, where the Gospel is De-emphasized, or the name of Jesus isn’t preached at all!  This is dangerous, because Jesus is the gospel!  If new and old converts are not trained and taught, false doctrine can come in, and once again, anything can go on even to the extent of blasphemy and apostasy!  If we do not support the active propagation of the gospel, what will happen to churches and missionaries? 

Your Brother in Christ

And  Senpai in Karate 

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