Each generation within the life of a local congregation has a valuable contribution to make to the life of the Church. Those in their golden years have wisdom to share, gained from a full lifespan. Those in family rearing years bring strength, stability, growth and energy to the congregation. A young pastor can bring new life to a stagnant environment in the same way that an experienced leader can help a congregation reach new levels of influence in the community.
We all have our gifts to bring to the Church. According to Ephesians 4, the Body of Christ grows toward maturity when each of us finds, develops and contributes that which God can do through us, each of us individually.
The following essay is from a young man, possibly a future pastor, in ministry internship at the Teen Mania Honor Academy. Is there a message here that can add to the life if your church? I think there is.
Truth is No Longer Known as Truth,
But We Think Our Lies Are True
Truth is a precious gift that God gave to us, but over time we have misinterpreted and tried to change it to make us look better or even more inviting. Therefore, we need to provoke a revival in our action and silence our tongues, or just let the word of truth speak for us, because Truth is God, and God is the Word and the Word will change your life and the lives of others. Through truth the Gospel can be brought to many nations and change the world one life at a time. But if we were to keep following the traditions we started, we will tear the body of Christ apart. At the end of our days, Satan will not only have won the souls of many creations of our Lord, but there is a possibility he will win the souls of some of our pastors because he has corrupted their minds and converted them to believe more in the traditions they are following than the God who saved them.
In the book The Christian in Complete Amour, by William Gurnall, it says, “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made upon salvation,” (34) but talking with many pastors and youth pastors in the last couple of months I find that this is an aspect that we seem to have forgotten. I do not want to say that all pastors don’t confess the faith or truth with their mouth, but I think some of them have been blinded to the truth because they think too highly on one subject and not a different one. When a pastor does not agree with something in the Bible it is easy for him to make something up and preach it as truth. It is also so easy for a pastor to get prideful in what he is doing because “he is the leader” and he can never be wrong, for if he was wrong then who would follow him? They are under so many heavy burdens; it is easy to become overwhelmed sometimes. So they will change what they are saying, or just say something that sounds good to keep people in their seat of the church building. But yet, what is the church? Is it an organization, or a body of people? 1 Corinthians 12:13 says, “For we are all baptized by the Holy Spirit into one Body – whether Jews or Greeks- slaves or free- and we were all given the Spirit to drink”. This can be thought to say the people inside the building are the church. But in reality, it is everyone who is living every aspect of their lives to passionately pursue Christ. We are a mobile body that is working to change the world, for Jesus Christ is Lord. If we are to do this, we need to be a loving family and united among our brothers. But yet, when we go in to different churches you can just look at the congregation to see if there is a loving attitude in the church. Jesus, when he was in his ministry, would look for the broken, the sick, and the criminals. But some of our pastors today look for the ones that have it all together. They think unless you are a good, white American you cannot be a good follower of Jesus Christ. Wherever this thinking came from it needs to be forgotten right away, because that is the opposite of what Jesus did. We have the truth about everything we need to do, but yet we misinterpret it so it will fit our little world that we want. Instead of following what Jesus did and living our lives to follow him, it is like we are breaking one of the commandments: do not create an idol among the lord. We think of ourselves as great, but yet God is the great one.
Paul was also very clear about what we should be doing with each other while we are in the body of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 2 Paul talks about how, as bodies of Christ, we should not be divided with worldly views. I was at a church in Sandusky, Michigan, and there was another small church on the other side of this small town. But the church where I was doing the concert and this other church did not have anything to do with each other. There was a fight that happened in the past that forced people to leave one of the churches, and the elders of that church felt that they were attacked when the other church on the other side of town was planted. They were divided by their denominational differences. One church felt pride in the number of people and thought that was more important than God, when they should have looked to the truth of what God was doing to draw the lost and rebuild the church (meaning the people, not the building). This is one of the many examples of a truth that is plain and simple in the Bible that people have lost sight of the purpose and thought of themselves instead of the Lord. We have so many other different denomination and church styles. You have a different type of church for every kind of man. But wait, I thought we were supposed to be changed when Jesus came into our lives. There are some pastors who I know who will say, “The American church is like a shopping mall; there is a different style for every type of American in our country”. The pastors of these churches will only talk about the parts of the Bible that will attract the people to keep coming to their building, to make the offering plate bigger so they can impact their city better. But yet, if you are following what God wants you to have your church do and learn, won’t the true followers of Jesus Christ be drawn to your building and join your church family? If we were to follow the Bible we would take to heart Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed any longer to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The body should be transforming the world and not the other way around. But the pastors of our churches are too afraid to lose the number of people; they will teach half truths or not talk about the deep and condemning parts of the Bible. We just make the Bible say what we want instead of saying what the Bible says and conforming to this world. People do not understand how big the gift of truth is, so they just do with it as they wish.
As future leaders who are being influenced by the leaders that are heading the wrong direction, we need to realize this is happening. We need to realize when a pastor is wrong and help him be turned back to the truth. But we need to not condemn them for what they are doing. When we confront like that, we as Christians get the reputation of being a condemning religion and not the loving one we are. We need to understand this life is all about sacrifice. We do not matter. If our bodies want to sin, we need to tell them no. If we are attracted to people of the same sex, we need to say NO. If we want riches, we need to give most of them away and look to God for more blessing. It is really all about having nothing because God has everything. So there really needs to be a revival of truth in the church. We need more leaders that will lead people to Christ and not a building. We need leaders that are not lost in the teaching because they need a quota in their offering plates, but ones who will understand that God has everything, so if you are doing His bidding He will keep us here. If it is God’s will for you to have a church there, then it is God’s bill to keep it up. Look to Him to provide and teach all aspects of the truth of what we are reading in God’s word.
I am not saying that I am all wise with what we need to change, or to say that I have all the answers to our problems. But I do think that people are so used to hearing the Song of Redemption that they need deeper truth. We need to start teaching the Truth of God’s wrath and how we need to live a life of excellence because mercy is not there to let us do what we want, but to make up for the few times we do wrong. If we had to live with just the law and judgment, well you have read the Old Testament so you know what they had to do. Why don’t we let truth speak for itself? As Paul stated in Corinthians 2:1-2; “For I did not come to you with eloquence of speech or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you testimony of God. For I resolved to know Christ and Him crucified.” Just let the truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection speak for itself. As we bring people in to are buildings and get them “saved” a lot of the time we will never teach them to get past that part. We say the Christianity is a journey but do not teach past salvation in are churches. Service after service we are showing more people how to be saved over and over again but never bring them to the next level. Because we never show reasons people need to live with excellence and the real reason for grace, and reasons to read the Bible they never do. So, our preachers will falsely teach them and their souls will fall into the never ending fire in the depths of hell. They will not even know where they are going because they were thought wrong. Then when followers of Christ come to the end of their days, what will the Father say to us when He judges us. Do we want to be responsible for thousands of souls that were sent to Hell because we never brought unity to the Body of Christ and confronted the preachers? How is our high priest looking at His bride when He sees homosexual pastors or pastors that are holding anger inside? Are leaders sending their people to hell? It is something that breaks my heart. What are we doing about it? What are we going to change about the body of Christ to bring it back to the white and spotless lamb that Jesus is coming back for?
In conclusion, I do not want it to seem like I am another heretic that is blasting the church because of what is happening in the world today. I also do not want you who are reading this to think I know all the answers and I am trying to fix the church to what I think it should be. I just know what God has been showing me on how He wants His bride to be. If you were to ask me more, I would probably just look in the Bible to answer your questions and then ask you to check me on it. That is the main source for all knowledge, under the Holy Spirit and God himself. But the issues that I bring up are breaking my heart because it is turning people away from the truth of who God loves. Also the false teaching that “Christians” are saved and can do anything they want because they are under grace, as long as they go to church on Sunday. So, I write this in warning and love to the Body of Christ because I have heard unsaved people dying and we’re not going crazy about it. I really think we should. Jesus said in His last order to his people, “GO and make disciples of all nations”; not people that go to church. My heart goes out to the church leaders that have been looking at truth as a lie and trying to change it to make them or their building look better. I pray that they might look at their own ways and come back to be a true disciple, a follower of Jesus and His word.
Metaphor: “Satan patches the fox’s skin of seducers with the lion’s skin of persecutors.” (32)
Imagery “Christ opened his heart; you would soon see the foundations of the prison shaken, its doors thrown open and the chains falling off.” (44)
By Ben Burns, 2009