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Thread: A Church is NOT a Business!

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    Administrator Brandan's Avatar
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    A Church is NOT a Business!

    Especially in the 20th century, I think a good many churches feel they need to advertise or present themselves to the unbelieving world in ways which mimic the business world. I think they do this because they hope of drawing unbelievers into their midsts'. Do you think these practices work? What is the biblical response?

    I've lightly touched on this topic in a new article I wrote:

    A Church is NOT a Business
    http://www.5solas.org/media.php?id=343
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    Hi

    O the same sort of note. i came across this by RC Sproul.

    Interesting reading.

    Swimming Upstream - R. C. Sproul

    I have a friend who plays the stockmarket. Not having the courage to do so myself I like to play armchair investor and talk with her about it. The extent of my wisdom isn't much because my counsel usually comes down to this simple maxim: "When everyone is selling, buy. When everyone is buying, sell." Of course the problem is knowing when everyone is doing what. And if she had followed my advice a few years ago and sold when everyone started buying, she would have missed quite a ride. There is wisdom in bucking conventional wisdom. What follows is an attempt to highlight how going against the flow rather than with it just may be the practical way to plant a church. I offer the counsel cautiously because I am no arm chair church planter, but one who is just beginning.

    The church growth movement has done an outstanding job in capturing the right words. Everybody opposed to churches growing raise your hands. Anybody out there not want to attract unbelievers to the church of Christ? Is anybody seeking ways to grow the church impractically? The way the theory is couched just about guarantees its being accepted. The problem is the theory doesn't match the words.

    Is the church growing because of the church growth movement? Yes and no. Individual churches are growing, but the church is standing still. Though church growth pundits desire to win the lost usually what happens is they lose the found. Church growth techniques create a giant game of evangelical musical chairs. It is like those rare days when the stock index remains level. Some stocks go up, others go down. It shows the economy isn't growing.

    The only seekers we tend to draw with seeker sensitive services are believers seeking a different church. By presenting a God who wants us to look at ourselves, who doesn't judge and command, who has a wonderful set of insights on how to have a happy, healthy marriage we put God's imprimatur on narcisism. There's nothing evangelicals like more than to be told that God loves them just the way they are.

    But why aren't the seekers coming? They like pop music, so we give them pop music. They like stories so we give them dramas. They like anonymity, so we let them have it. They like convenience, so we'll change their oil while they're here (this by the way is being done). The problem is that we can do none of these things as well as the world can. Why get up on a Sunday morning and drive somewhere to listen to pop music, when its as close as my stereo? Why settle for cheesy scripts and sets when the television does it so much better? Why spend an hour getting an oil change when the pros can do it in ten minutes?

    Imagine every company on the stock exchange looking to the one company whose stock rose the highest in a given year deciding to do what they did. "Gee", thinks Ford, "Microsoft made a killing. Let's get out of the car business and make software." Or imagine PBS deciding to air nothing but sitcoms made up of sophisticated urban x-ers.

    The problem with this practical approach, apart from being unbiblical, is that its just not practical. In fact these two problems, that it's unbiblical and impractical are really one problem. The church growth pundits counsel us to look to the experts for wisdom. They then provide mountains of demographic, sociological, marketing factoids. The experts are Madison Avenue pagans who may know a great deal about how to sell toothpaste, but know nothing about proclaiming the Good News. Are we left then to grope in the dark? If you can't trust sociologists and pollsters, who can you trust? God.

    We have in the Bible an example of church growth which has never been paralleled. We have the first evangelistic sermon ever preached. And it is recorded for us by the Holy Spirit, without error. Consider how Peter practiced church growth. First the Spirit descended at Pentecost. Do you suppose the unbelievers there were comfortable, at ease, in this strange situation? Did Peter try to mold and control this work of the Spirit?

    Peter instead pointed the crowd to the Old Testament, to the prophecy of Joel. He gave evidence that God was with them. And then he gave a sermon. Did he preach on how Jesus could help you with your finances? Did he announce a new series on how to raise you children's self-esteem? Peter's sermon went something like this: "You all remember Jesus, the one with the miracle that you saw, the one God had sent, the one you crucified." Wow. That was not very sensitive to the seekers.

    Peter went on with more Old Testament evidence for Jesus. And then, perhaps for the sake of those seeker who arrived late to this service he concluded with the bombshell, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has mad Him both Lord and Christ-this Jesus whom you crucified"(Acts 2:36).

    Peter would have found himself in hot water with the "experts." They would tell him that people come to church carrying guilt with them, adding to that guilt will only drive them away. But from a strictly practical point of view, if we want to be experimental about this we need to check the response. Luke tells us, "Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Brethren, what shall we do?' " Peter answered, "Repent"

    That, of course is not the message of choice among the experts. Perhaps they should seek healing for their wounded psyches. They needed affirmation after all. Peter instead pours on the guilt by telling the crowd, "Be saved from this perverse generation." Judgment, judgment. Hasn't Peter heard that Jesus told us not to judge? Doesn't he know judgment drives them away?

    Luke then tells us that 3000 were saved.

    The foolishness of the gospel routes the wisdom of the wise. Practically speaking the experts are failures. What they consider failure, on the other hand succeeds.

    So what does this tell us about how to grow the church? It demonstrates that we're listening to the wrong experts. Even the pagans know it is wise to counter-program. When everyone is going one way, go the other way. You will stand out. You will be noticed. You will be effective. If there were such a thing as a "seeker", someone who is looking for something, they would certainly not be looking for more of the same, or a bad imitation of what he is fleeing. When the world gives us mindless drivel, then is the time to say of the church, "Come in here. You'll get none of the nonsense you're so tired of." When the world is happy and light, we need to be somber, serious. When the gods of this world are distant, spineless, voiceless, reflections of our baser selves, our duty is to present the on true God, transcendent and immanent, omnipotent and tender, the God who speaks with all authority and wisdom. And we need to reflect not the perverse generation form which we have been saved, but Him in whom we have been regenerated, Him whose image we are to be.

    More importantly this reminds us whence comes true wisdom. Proverbs tells us "There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12). Ours is a God which confounds the wise, on who tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Practically, if we want to grow churches, we too must begin with the fear of God. If we want wisdom we need to turn in His Word which tells us, "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him ( James 1:50).


    As a member of a Charismatic Church i think the last pargraph is very real.

    The fear of the Lord is the start to building Churchs that last and glorify God, not business techniques or new methods. Sadly, to many Chrches i know compromise the fear of God for trendy new moves.

    Cheers
    'As soon as we are incorporated in Christ, we have the certitude that in the end we shall achieve victory in the fight.' John Calvin - Romans 6v6.

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    Jesusislove
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    Tax the churches!!!!

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    Alan, thanks for sharing Sproul's comments with us! He is right, and this sentence caught my eye:

    Anybody out there not want to attract unbelievers to the church of Christ?
    cm raises her hand. What's wrong with this is that we should be focussing on attracting unbelievers to Christ first, and only when they have believed do they truly belong in church. We need to be imploring God to raise up and gift real evangelists to preach the real Good News. That's the Biblical way.

    -cm
    "In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity." - St. Augustine of Hippo

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    Re: A Church is NOT a Business!

    Hi,

    I would have to heartily agree with Brandan. I have been in a church where it was modeled as a business. One of the pastors even confided to me that though he agreed with my view (this was over some disagreement I had with the church's policy), he had to submit to the Senior Pastor (whom he likened to as a CEO of a company), since he was the one whe who "paid his salary." !! So much for convictions and integrity!

    Churches have accomodated themselves to the current cultural fads, including the cult of efficiency and "technique". Unbridled pragmatism without any regard for biblical principles seems to be the order of the day.

    David Wells' trilogy has some very pertinent insights on how this mindset has taken hold of the church. Definitely worth reading, even if you don't agree with all his conclusions.

    Paul
    "speak the truth in love"
    http://members.shaw.ca/batteredsheep/

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    Ecclesiology-The Church/Buildings

    As I read about the church and them being in homes and intimate settings it just floored me,and this was a good thing!
    Let me tell you why I have been struggling with a church I have been going to -to the point of not even wanting to go and I'll tell you why 1)since I've been going I have had no communion
    2)I have been new to the church but come reguarly and yet I found no real fellowship -it is basically a hello nice to see you and goodbye sort of thing 3) They have never asked me personally if Jesus is my Saviour 4)When I have been in prayer meetings everyone prays alone--and I believe if there are 2 or more together God is in our midst--we are each handed an index card and then told to pray on our own 5)After service there are food services and we don't pray together---and get this---at the Pastors table there is a sign that says in big letters(IF YOU ARE NOT INVITED TO SIT HERE DON'T).6)when we are in worship and if we are not up to what the pastor thinks is loud enough he pushes if you know what I mean--If one is to worship God there are times when I am very excited in my worship and then there are times when I can and prefer to do so quietly,Now to say all this I have consulted some people how I feel that this church seems to be taking my joy and I have been told that I should hang in there and that the devil is keeping me from getting a blessing if I wait long enough This blessing will come through-This has even gotten me to the point where I have made going to this church a legalistic thing-I have driven myself crazy overthis but last night I prayed for the Lord to show me his truth through His word Hebrews 9and 10 his spirit freed me when I read them and then I came across your 10 or so different columns under Essleiology and God confirmed to me that He doesn't want me to suffer under a church Heck!thats where I am supposed to be built up not torn down and to all those who told me to hang in there I say I know in Christ we suffer in the world but its pretty sad when we have to suffer in church-Amen! Thank you for confirming God's word to me,everything I read my spirit cried YES,YES and YES ! Amen and Praise God!

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    Administrator Brandan's Avatar
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    Re: Ecclesiology-The Church/Buildings

    Originally posted by Lions215
    As I read about the church and them being in homes and intimate settings it just floored me,and this was a good thing!
    Great! I know exactly what you mean...

    Let me tell you why I have been struggling with a church I have been going to -to the point of not even wanting to go and I'll tell you why 1)since I've been going I have had no communion
    I can't imagine a church meeting regularly without celebrating the Lord's Supper at least once in a while...

    2)I have been new to the church but come reguarly and yet I found no real fellowship -it is basically a hello nice to see you and goodbye sort of thing
    That's terrible, but I've seen that before. I've been in a church where quite the opposite happened. Everyone was so friendly and interested in fellowship, but it turned out to all be fake.

    3) They have never asked me personally if Jesus is my Saviour
    Yikes!

    4)When I have been in prayer meetings everyone prays alone--and I believe if there are 2 or more together God is in our midst--we are each handed an index card and then told to pray on our own
    What type of church is this? I've NEVER heard of anything like that.

    5)After service there are food services and we don't pray together---and get this---at the Pastors table there is a sign that says in big letters(IF YOU ARE NOT INVITED TO SIT HERE DON'T).
    Yowzers! Well, I guess I wouldn't sit next to the all important man. This man doesn't sound like a "pastor", but a dictator!

    6)when we are in worship and if we are not up to what the pastor thinks is loud enough he pushes if you know what I mean
    Yes... Why does the "pastor" want it to be "loud"??? I've been in a church where it felt louder was "better". To me, there is something about a quiet voice humbly praising God in a hymn. When will people understand it's the HEART that matters?

    --If one is to worship God there are times when I am very excited in my worship and then there are times when I can and prefer to do so quietly,Now to say all this I have consulted some people how I feel that this church seems to be taking my joy and I have been told that I should hang in there and that the devil is keeping me from getting a blessing if I wait long enough This blessing will come through-This has even gotten me to the point where I have made going to this church a legalistic thing-I have driven myself crazy overthis
    This sounds like a cult. I'd run from this situation.

    but last night I prayed for the Lord to show me his truth through His word Hebrews 9and 10 his spirit freed me when I read them and then I came across your 10 or so different columns under Essleiology and God confirmed to me that He doesn't want me to suffer under a church
    Praise God that He opened your eyes to these truths...

    Heck!thats where I am supposed to be built up not torn down and to all those who told me to hang in there I say I know in Christ we suffer in the world but its pretty sad when we have to suffer in church-Amen!
    AMEN!

    Thank you for confirming God's word to me,everything I read my spirit cried YES,YES and YES ! Amen and Praise God!
    Your story made my heart skip a beat.. If you like, I'd be happy to help you out on your search for a new church (if that's what God has called you to do) - Also I will pray for you and your situation. If you would like any prayer or need anything - just let me know!

    Sincerely,
    Brandan Kraft
    This is my signature.

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    A church is not a business

    It is with nausea I bring you this link:

    http://www.planetpreterist.com/modul...hold=0&catid=5
    "In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity." - St. Augustine of Hippo

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    Administrator Brandan's Avatar
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    These people in the mega churches walk in darkness. If you took away their mcdonald's and basketball courts, I wonder how many would continue meeting with each other? Here is another article I added to the library recently.... http://www.5solas.org/media.php?id=495
    This is my signature.

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