Embracing the Role of the Church

Embracing the Role of the Church

Hard to believe. But it’s true. I can’t sing. I remember first learning I couldn’t hold a tune. Charlie and I were in our early years of marriage when the sad truth was revealed to me. While at the end of a church service one Sunday, the announcement came for auditions for the worship team. I don’t know if he saw me lean forward with excitement or a smile came across my face, either way, I felt his hand on my shoulder when he leaned over and whispered, “Hun, you can’t sing.” Shock and disappointment went through my body.

What? How did I not know this? In my own mind and in my own wisdom, I could sing.

Much like my own blindness to singing, we as Christians can become spiritually blind to sin in our life. But God has lovingly provided a means for our protection against this danger and it comes in His design for the local church. The Christian life was never meant to be done alone but rather in the context and company of other believers. Ephesians 4:11-16

Left to ourselves, we can rationalize, justify, minimize and eventually become desensitized to sin. 1 John 1:8 sends a dire warning about self-deception, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” This same passage teaches us that a believer’s life is one characterized by ongoing fellowship with other believers, confession of sins and obedience to God.

We are naturally prone to see the good highlights of our lives and completely miss the areas that are self-focused and self-seeking. The Bible shows this pattern of blindness and self-deception: David needed Nathan to expose his sin (2 Sam. 12:7), Peter needed Paul to confront his sin of fear and exclusion (Gal. 2:11-12), and Euodia and Syntyche needed Paul to charge them to lay aside their differences and get back to work of the gospel (Phil. 4:2-3). We all need other Christians to help us to see ourselves clearly and to stay on mission.

The bible is written with an expectation that we, as Christians, will live in close community with one another. There are over 50 “one another” directives in the New Testament.

“…Love one another…” (John 13:34)

“…Serve one another …” (Galatians 5:13)

“…Forgiving each other…” (Ephesians 4:32)

“…Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)

“…Encourage each other…”(I Thessalonians 4:18)

“Confess your sins to each other…” (James 5:16)

“…Pray for each other.” (James 5:16)

Bottomline, we need one another to mature. This is God’s plan. A community gives us an environment in which to see the blind spots we otherwise wouldn’t see. It serves as a safeguard from self-deception and sin which can easily pull us away from the Lord.

Have you embraced God’s design and role of the local church in your life as a believer?
Settle in your heart that it’s God’s “protecting and growing” plan for you as a Christian. Then prayerfully seek out a discipleship or bible study group that will provide the community you need as a believer.

Let us endeavor to live out the gospel together and stay on mission for His glory.

Until the whole world hears,
Louise Moulton

Can I get a church clap?

Can I get a church clap?

 

Pastors, such as myself, are not oblivious on how to get their church fired up with countless Amen’s and the occasional person shouting, “Preach it brother, preach!”  Here are a few ways to achieve this in my home church:

 

  • Say something positive about President Ronald Reagan. For some conservatives, Reagan should be part of the monument at Mt. Rushmore.
  • Say something negative about liberals.
  • With much bravado and intensity say something like, “We need to fight to keep prayers in our schools, let’s not let “them” take what is ours.” (Funny, call a prayer meeting at church and see who actually shows up.)

 

This is hardly articulate, I know, and perhaps a bit of hyperbole; however, I trust you get the gist of my approach here.

Pastor Jim Cymbala said something from the pulpit one time that floored me. He said, “I did not come here today to get amens, I have a bunch of those stored up from the last time I preached.” His point was, think about what gets you fired up and I did not come here for man’s approval.

Can I get real with you?   

What if your Pastor said Matthew 28 calls every single believer to make disciples. How are you doing with this mandate? Step right up, each one of you in the congregation, and give an account of who it is you are currently discipling. That’s right, step right up to the platform and provide names.

Ephesians 4:11-12 says that the church, the Christians, are to equip and train the other Christians to do the work of the ministry. How is that going for you today? Step right up and give an account. Who is it you’re training? Give me names.

I doubt the hallelujah choir would give you a church clap. They may, however, pick up a stone and hurl it at you. Now, I know we would never actually throw a stone, but we may consider getting into our cars after the service and say to our significant other things such as:

-That was a bit harsh and legalistic.

-It’s a busy season for me, but I am all over that once things slow down.

– That’s what we pay the pastor to do. It seems as if he is asking us to do his work.

-Maybe the Pastor woke up on the wrong side of the bed. He will go back to being normal next week.

 

The reality is each one of us will be held accountable to making disciples and training those same disciples for the work of the ministry. It has been said that disciples make disciples. Is that you? Are you making disciples? To bottom line this, if you’re in Christ and you’re NOT making disciples you need to start.

Here are ten things you can do to move toward obedience.

  1. Get discipled yourself and have the person discipling you train you on how to disciple as well.
  2. Be praying for a person or two that you can disciple. Ask God to reveal that person(s) to you.
  3. Have a plan? Time, Location, approved resource from your church.
  4. Have a prayer partner and mentor that will help you to develop as a leader/discipler.
  5. Select a resource that is gospel saturated and has questions to be answered at the end of short chapters. This is helpful to providing structure and guard rails.
  6. Start on time and finish on time. (My groups last one hour and fifteen minutes.)
  7. Allow ample time for questions, and not just questions about the resource.
  8. Be patient. It takes time for relationships to develop.
  9. Listen intently and take notes. The person you are discipling may need some help in certain areas, such as finance, sexual sin, anger, conversion, etc. Find and locate bible verses and articles that will support this person and, of course, begin teaching your disciple how to hunt and gather for himself.
  10. Thank God for the joy of being in gospel ministry. What a privilege it is to be used by God!

I like a good church clap just like the rest of us, however, better than a church clap is to hear the words of my Lord and Savior, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Faithful servants and faithful to the word of God, and the word of God is crystal clear as it says, “Go, and make disciples!”

Let’s Go!

Charlie Moulton

10 Things this Pastor had to learn about Church Attenders (The Hard Way)

Planting a church has been, and continues to be, a wild ride. We have a beautiful church and we have fun together. Because of that, I thought it would be fun to share 10 things that this rookie church planter did not know about the people he would be asked to lead. Enjoy!

  1. I have an agenda! People will attend your church to push their agenda. These are often noble things, however, it’s their agenda, not yours.
  2. Ronald Reagan sits at the right hand . . . say what! The best way to get Amen’s and the Hallelujah chorus singing is to bash the Democratic Party and of course say something nice about Ronald Reagan. After all, nothing brings them to a blood stained cross like Red & Blue politics.
  3. Hello, Critics! You will have a handful of critics that meet regularly to discuss what they don’t like about you or your leadership team. Some are even open to sharing it with you!
  4. Pastor, you got a minute? Minutes before the Sunday service you will be asked to do numerous things. Here are a few requests I have had; make an announcement (today) for me, show a video, sing Happy Birthday to my mom that is visiting.
  5. Better Late than Never. For some, the Sunday morning service starts in the middle of the third worship song.
  6. Giving is so Old Testament. On the subject of giving, many have worked out that tithing is an option. You will even have a brave one from time to time let you know tithing is Old Testament and we are no longer under the law (code for, “I don’t give”).
  7. Busy, Busy, Busy. Some people have been too busy to serve for several decades.
  8. Social Media: Some in your church will let it rip on Social Media removing all doubt about their maturity and their Christian witness!
  9. First Time Visitors: Some believe that first-time visitors should immediately stop smoking, dress modestly, and clean up their language.
  10. I don’t want to let you down. Key volunteers, Elders, and Deacons will have seasons of unexpected busyness. Because of their commitment to the church, or even a person, they may be inclined to keep the plates spinning in the air. Don’t let this happen! You must step in and assist or the plates will hit your church in the head.