Matthew R. Perry

Posts Tagged ‘church membership’

“The Triangle of Christianity” Sermon Is Now Posted

In church, Church Life, church membership, Sermons on August 25, 2008 at 3:41 pm

I am in the midst of preaching a four-part series of “Getting Our Church in Shape.” The first sermon dealt with the Straight Line of Christianity in that we are to maintain continually our relationship with Christ at all times and at all costs.

This Sunday’s sermon was on the Triangle of Christianity. This sermon explores the reasons why we should join a local church. Here’s an excerpt from the first point dealing with “Growth and Maturity.”

God gives children to families so that we may be instruments of his to help them grow and mature. It’s amazing watching children grow and flourish how curious they get. Sometimes that curiosity is cute, other times that curiosity is quite dangerous. Being curious in watching the parents do something and then imitating them is cute. Being curious to see how a knife works or what happens if you jump from the fifth step of your stairs can be dangerous. Parents are there to help young children grow and mature to stay safe and to set an example.

We join a local church family so we may grow and mature in the faith. That commitment and investment in itself helps develop focus and disciple. We read in the New Testament how God used Paul, Barnabus, Silas, John Mark and others to plant churches all over Asia Minor. He intentionally planted churches in specific locations so people in those communities would have a place to get under the gospel.

Paul told the Colossian church in Colossians 1:28-29:

Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

God has placed pastors and churches in specific locations to proclaim Christ. Paul says that I’m there to warn and to teach with all wisdom in order for Christians to grow and mature in Christ. This was where Paul’s struggle was — pouring himself out in local churches so that they would pursue Christ and cast off every other bondage and hindrance.

This is why Mark Dever, an expert on church matters, notes, “The preaching must be faithful to Scripture, personally challenging and central to the congregation’s life. You will only grow spiritually where Scripture is treated as the highest authority.”

Do Church Attendees Want to Blend In or Dig In?

In church, church attendees, church membership on March 17, 2008 at 10:28 pm

Recently, we had a couple visiting our church who truly love the church and loved the people. They had even expressed interest in joining. They had left their former church because of some turmoil and felt God was calling them to move on. Over a two-hour lunch one Tuesday, I explained to them the vision of our church and the direction I felt God was calling us to go. They seemed very interested — but ended up not joining. I was told later by someone else that they wanted a place where they didn’t feel they were expected to actively contribute at this point.

Others have left our church in order to attend bigger churches that have a more “dynamic” worship time and more activities for the children. As a church, we are considered small (160-180, depending on the time of year) which means our budget is limited in certain areas and our workers are limited as well. The bigger churches offer more — in some aspects.

In a conversation with a Sunday School teacher this past Sunday, she mentioned that some go to these bigger ones because they just want to “blend in.” Bigger churches, for all their pluses, are places where people may be able to attend, but where there is more of an opportunity to “hide.”

In smaller churches that seek to be a true “family of God” guided by the New Testament distinctives and geared by the faithful proclamation of the Word of God; in smaller churches that seek to provide a greater amount of accountability because we are, like the theme song to that old show from the 1980’s, a place “where everybody knows your name.” Once we get too close and the biblical church starts getting to “personal” or even deemed “intrusive,” the temptation is to move on.

My question is “Do church attendees want to blend in or dig in?” Over the next few days, I will be posting on the temptations and trends of too many in evangelical church attendees. But do any of you smaller church pastors struggle with this? What are you doing to address this issue?

I look forward to hearing from you!