Tuesday, March 16, 2010

More Pep Rally Talk

In the introduction to my lesson Sunday, I made a statement that was actually in my book Unbroken Bread almost fifteen years ago. I believe it even more now than I did back then. Here is what I put up on the Power Point screen Sunday morning. The preeminence of the assembly guarantees constant battles, dissatisfaction, self-centered members, and church hopping. I went on to point out that it causes several things:
1. A loss of focus and purpose - because we have completely forgotten what the purpose of the church is (not to mention worship, spiritual tools, and loving one another).
2. Mountains become mole hills - as we change our priorities from drawing closer to Jesus to keeping people happy, providing predictability, and maintaining our traditions.
3. There is little or no spiritual growth, even if our numbers increase.
4. Leaders are too busy putting out or preventing fires to be purpose driven.
5. We completely reversed God's plan when receiving replace giving, which how most people view the Sunday morning assembly time. (Talk about obvious red flags?)
What I didn't say, partly because I forgot, and partly because it was only the introduction to the lesson and not the lesson, was that the worldly tradition of elevating the Christian assembly to the dominant act, event, or focus of the church is unbiblical, Pharisaical, and spiritually shallow. The only other thing I would, or should have added, is that because of the historical elevating of the assembly, and it's history as a bloody battlefield, we define ourselves doctrinally, spiritually, and culturally by our assembly rather than as loving disciples of Jesus. Most people would disagree with that, but all you have to do is ask them what it takes to become an "official" un-asterisked member of their congregation (i.e. agreement on baptism and the "Acts of Worship").
All that being said, I love our assembly time! However, until we get every member to understand that it's our pep-rally and not "who we are" as children of God, it will continue to be the number one reason why members get unhappy, upset, up-in-arms, and out the door looking for a church that "meets their needs".
And FYI, the lesson was about Jesus getting "in the face" of the Pharisees to let them know they were missing God's plan and purpose for the Sabbath. (Mark 2:27 - 3:6)

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