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Advent Day 5 and 6

December 6, 2008

Day 5
Missed you yesterday, ’cause Fridays are insane for me. I was just going to point you to another Advent calendar you may enjoy. Amazon.com is giving away one free Christmas song/day. Fun. Here.

Day 6
So about this … oh look, what’s this? Oh, it’s a little soap box. How did this get here? Hmm. It’s not very pretty, but it looks hella sturdy. Let me just see if I can climb up on top of …

I’m going to say this. I am. And no, it’s not pretty, but it’s sturdy and I’m sure it will hold me. I may even jump up and down on it a little bit ’cause I’m just that comfortable on it.

I work at a church two days a week. Three days a week I work for a company that works for churches. I read lots and lots of pastor and church-people blogs and books. I’m up to my eyeballs in Western church stuff. And a lot of the time, it’s really stinkin’ irritating. So here goes:

Christians, the church does not exist to serve you.

Ya, ya. Everybody knows that and I’m sure it doesn’t apply to you. Humor me, though, and read it again. I mean the Church – capital “C” that represents believers, and the church – small “c” meaning a local congregation and it’s leadership. Neither exists to serve you.

This thing is not about market niches or ad campaigns or superior customer service. It’s not for you or by you. It should be the one non-residential building you will enter that will not cater to you. It should be the one budget to which contributing does not buy you an opinion.

My role as a believer is to go to the Lord, with my husband, about which local church our family is to be a part of, and how the gifts/talents that He has given us are to serve in that congregation. That’s it. Sometimes, leadership does things that I don’t understand. Occasionally, leadership does things that I don’t agree with. I pray for my leaders, and I remember that it is God who exalts men into authority.

I don’t leave a local congregation until God moves me. I don’t “shop” or “date” or “hop” local churches when my current one does something I don’t like. If something happens, and I’m taken out of my local church, we pray – and God tells us where to go.

It’s about me serving the body of Christ in whatever capacity in which He puts me. Imagine if everyone in your church was focused on how they can serve the church, instead of how the church is helping them. We might actually reach the lost. People in our communities might actually get saved. Churches might actually be the hands and feet of Christ.

Because really, it’s not the job of the local church – or her leadership – to grow you spiritually. She helps, because she’s nice. But someday each one of us will answer for our own Bible studies, our own prayer lives, our own giving records, etc. “My church never talked about tithing,” isn’t going to cut it at the end of the day. It’s the job of the local church to provide a place where non-believers can find their way to Christ. It’s there to help you bring your unsaved friends to God. It’s about non-Christians.

And there’s your Advent meditation for the day. Let’s prepare for His coming by become better servants – like He told us to.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Life As We See It permalink
    December 7, 2008 1:30 pm

    preach it!

  2. Lex permalink
    December 9, 2008 9:59 pm

    Ya. And that was only half of it. I restrained myself.

  3. Anonymous permalink
    December 11, 2008 2:27 pm

    Where is the scripture to back this up?

    “It’s the job of the local church to provide a place where non-believers can find their way to Christ. It’s there to help you bring your unsaved friends to God. It’s about non-Christians.”

    My bible says that it is there to teach Christians to serve and when they do the whole church will become more like Christ till it reaches perfection.

    Ephesians 4:11-13 (New King James Version)
    And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

  4. Lex permalink
    December 11, 2008 6:32 pm

    That passage from Ephesians doesn’t discuss an institutional church, or a meeting of believers. It discusses the many roles that believers are appointed “for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry.” All of the saints should do the work of the ministry – inside a local church and in the market place.

    The Church – as the collection of believers, because that’s what the Church is and what Ephesians is talking about – is to teach and edify and exhort, etc. Of course.

    The point is, as Ephesians says, Jesus Himself gives offices of Pastor, Apostle, etc. So when the person appointed by God to lead a congregation determines that the Lord is leading that group of believers to do something, add something, stop doing something, change direction, etc. – the rest of us should humble ourselves.

    Changes and decisions are not always easy for me because they’re not always in my best interest. If they’re in the best interest of the ministry to which God has directed my family, however, my job is to serve.

    Believers in an area can congregate for worship and teaching however they like, as long as they do it (Heb 10:25). When we get together in a big building, at a regular time, with coffee and donuts, to present aesthetic worship and a short teaching from the Word, though, the idea is to introduce people to the gospel and get them started on that journey. That’s the Church coming together to welcome unbelievers into our community, and that requires every believer to do his/her part.

    There’s not a ton of scripture to back it up, because scripture doesn’t detail how our worship services should look.

    Paul pens a similar lament, however, in Hebrews 5. He writes “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first oracles of God.” Compared to the praises scripture lays on the Bereans in Acts 17 – for their diligent study of the scriptures themselves – it seems clear that the pastor is not responsible for my spiritual growth.

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