Thursday, October 27, 2011
If the pastor does not have adequate time to be in the Word or if he chooses not to do so.Rainer sees a pattern in all this:
If the members are spending time arguing about how money should be spent.
If none or only a few of the key leaders are actively sharing their faith.
If there is no clear process of discipleship in place, just a plethora of programs and activities.
If corporate prayer is not a major emphasis in the church.
If church members are arguing about worship style or worship times.
If church members expect the paid staff to do most of the ministry, instead of the staff equipping the members to do the work of ministry (“Why didn’t he visit me in the hospital?”)
If there are ongoing disagreements about matters of the church facilities.
If the church has more meetings than new disciples.
If the leadership of the church does not have a coherent plan for what is taught in small groups and Sunday school classes.
There is a common pattern for most of the warning signs. Church members are more concerned about their preferences and desires. They are inwardly focused. They ask what the church can do for them, instead of asking how God can use them sacrificially and radically through the ministries of the local church.I see a problem - The church is a place of preparing the members for ministry - BUT THAT MINISTRY MAY NOT ALWAYS CONFORM to "the ministries of the local church." Inward focus is indeed bad, but that which is bad for individuals is bad for congregations.
Here's the thing - if we really prepare people for ministry, they are going to take off in directions entirely unanticipated. TO demand that they conform to the congregational mandate is not only to squelch them, but if they are truly called, it is to squelch the Holy Spirit. The congregation has a mandate to support - including giving them a worship experience that feeds them - people who are out doing the hard work of expanding the Kingdom, not just your congregation.
Ask yourself this - was Jesus a control freak like that? He bugged out just when the apostles got busy.
Worth thinking about when you have compulsions like this.