Dissect this Church

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Earth Wind and Fire, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    OK, I find a church within 50 miles of me that is both Baptist & Reformed. The new pastor is 50 YO & his background in Edu is Christian & Missionary Alliance ...they were the ppl that took him from Jamaica & got him into seminary (their own) in Nyack NY. Since then he gravitated to Reformed theology & a year ago took the position as Teaching & Preaching Elder & Pastor. I will give him that he is exceptional as a Preacher & has been used by Banners of Truth to represent Black Pastors in conferences. I like the guy too.

    Now the church he pastors was in the 90's very active with a school, Berean bookstore, as adjuncts. Somewhere though the head pastor who appears to have built it sinned mightily & was driven from the pulpit. Also a big & modern Evangelical Free Church moved in taking with it substantial families (mostly the younger folks) so they closed the school, & lost lots of people. Whats left is about 20 remaining families....mostly empty nester/ mom & pops (lots of gray hair).

    My concern is that the church being elderly doesn't go out to the community & their comfortable in themselves. They just lost a young family with kids because they never supported them..... for example the town this year had a 5 K Run so the Husband took initiative to be a water station & hand out water & he set the whole thing up & asked the church to support him. He told me that with the exception of the pastor, nobody in the church came out to support him. He also started a Christian Boy Scout troop with the church as sponsors but nobody supported that either. My fear is that the members have grown complacent & the church is shrinking rather than growing. What can I do to change this around?

    Thanks
    Steve D.
     
  2. freeatlast

    freeatlast
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    Why do you feel the need to change it? You said it is not the only church in town so one would assume people are hearing the word. If God wants it to die the death it will die. If He wants it to thrive He will send people into the church.
    Those families who cried that they did not get support in worldly activities need to support the church instead of asking for support from the church for those activities. Why didn't they go out witnessing to build the church instead of trying to build secular venues?
     
  3. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    OK Im sorry....they did do that via knocking on doors. Interestingly enough Free, you sound like a Hyper Calvinist. Thats funny!
     
  4. freeatlast

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    Well no one has ever accused me of being hyper Calvinist before. :laugh: My point was if those people who wanted help had hung in their to build the church, which is the real calling, instead of secular activities then perhaps down the road there might have been some members who could help, but with only 20 families in the church and all or most not having children what did they expect?
     
  5. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Guess they hoped to grow church membership & have 30 something with younger families come to it. These older types seem stuck in their moment of time. I mean with that said, Is it a good place for me?
     
  6. glfredrick

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    I suspect that the church is just what you want in a church -- and what you want in a church is no longer sustainable in today's culture. :thumbs:

    Slow, stodgy, ancient hymns, older congregation, no extra noise or stuff distracting from the sermon, etc.

    Sounds dead to me. I'll take messy, loud, kids running all over the place (we have over 100 at every service), people with weird hair, and yes, sermons straight from the Word, worship from the heart, and God moving in our midst, because "healthy things grow."
     
  7. revmwc

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    You start helping to bring change by praying and asking that the Holy Spirit guide you in ways to accomplish the changes He leads you too not what you think needs to happen.
    Seek God's will and His guidence in what is occuring. You say that one Pastor sinned a grevious sin has the church healed from this, better yet is the community over it? The Evangelical free church must have support for those who want to help the community and ways to include the younger folks in activities. See what they are doing and pray that the Holy Spirit leads.
    The problem may be the churches reputation in the community and that is a hard thing to overcome. Second how do the folks feel about this pastor in the community again this can adversly affect the churches growth.
    When things like this happen to churches the community is hard to reach and those mom and pops you describe may be tired of being hurt and need some healing, pray the Holy Spirit guides in how they can find that healing.
    If God wants the doors closed He will close them and should give you peace of its closing. If you get a strong burden to work with the Pastor to get the church alive and thriving then follow his leadership as he guides the church as lead by the Holy Spirit.
     
  8. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    I dont think the community at large is conscious this church even exists.... they seriously dont go out to anyone. The reformed interim pastor kind of took them to the woodshed when I visited them by saying that because they were so good at bringing food in & cooking that they should perhaps offer cooking classes to the community & invite people in. That went in one ear & out the other.

    But yes I do like a orderly service & Im not particularly fond of praise music....neither is my 20 YO.:p
     
  9. abcgrad94

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    Whoa there, EWF! One step at a time. You finally found a church you agree with doctrinally and already you want to change it??? Why not just attend a few services and see how YOU can be a blessing to the church, rather than changing them to suit your expectations?

    Not trying to sound snippy or anything, just want you to see this from a different perspective. They are old, set in their ways, and you're the new kid on the block coming in. You can walk in softly and get to know and love them, or you can barge in like a bull in a china shop and tell them how to get their act together. I guess it's up to you to decide which way is more profitable.

    Also, who cares about the past and who is mad/discouraged about this or that? You don't have a dog in that fight. Focus on the future, not the past. What's your purpose in finding the church? Is it to worship with them, learn and grow and teach each other, etc. or try to mold them to fit your preferences? My advice is to love them first and let the Lord do the changing.
     
  10. Salty

    Salty
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    Do you currently have any position in the church?

    How many kids are in SS, say age 16 and under - how many teachers.

    You may want to consider becoming a SS teacher. Start small - one or two kids - disciple them and as others have said - pray.

    and as ABC said - dont go charging like a Bull.

    (thats what I like about overseas military churches - most folks are only there for about 3 years - so they expect you to come in like a bull!)

    Seek counsel with the pastor - in fact he may need your support - he could be disscouraged himsef, but may not want to admit it.

    Salty
     
  11. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Yea, thats sound advise.....though no one except the pastor is in my age bracket.....that causes me some concern.
     
    #11 Earth Wind and Fire, Aug 9, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2011
  12. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Salty....there are no kids except one family with toddlers.
     
  13. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    In other words Guy, instead of being like most churches...conforming & becoming more normal, you want churches to become weirder...:laugh:
     
  14. preacher4truth

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    You have to determine if God wants you there. But that should be as under your pastor, not some separate calling to come change things, but in harmony and in unity, as a servant of God, and to your Pastor. Who knows, maybe God will use you to reach some couples that you desire to see in the church?

    - Peace
     
  15. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Excuse me but isnt the real reason to go to church in the 1st place to interact .... I dont see that going on here....Im not a member of the old boy network & at 55, Im looked at as the young wipper snapper. I counted the names of those who are members & the number is 25. Hardly encouraging when you realize these people are either going to die or move into nursing homes or move away. Im a little freaked out about that.
     
  16. preacher4truth

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    Maybe relax a little? No one is "on" you here, I simply made a suggestion that maybe you could reach some people into the church, but if that isn't your cup of tea...

    Looks like God has given you no vision for this body, you're looking for a place to plug into that has everything you want already there in place, then you'll feel comfortable. I mean, in America, it must be comfortable and convenient, then it seems right.
     
    #16 preacher4truth, Aug 9, 2011
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  17. freeatlast

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    I have no idea what the church you attend is like as I have not been there. I have looked on the net and see as much as I can about it, but still without actually being there and meeting the people it is impossible to tell.
    However the fact that a church is loud, has kids running all over the place (out of control), and people with weird hair and is growing in numbers does not constitute a healthy church and it is extremely unfair to suggest such. A healthy church is one where the people leave there weird hair do's for ones that honor the Lord, controls their children, lowers their voices to some normal tone, changes their music as well as anything that smacks of the world all because they become godly Christ honoring people.

    While it may be acceptable for the church to become like the world in our post modern culture I don't believe it is acceptable the Lord.
    The church is the one that is suppose to set the standards for the world not the other way around and while we certainly have to take into consideration culture and changing times we are never to allow those things to be our standards when they contradict the standards of godliness.
    So in all you mentioned as a growing vibrant church I think the Lord would dismiss. A growing vibrant church is not necessarily one that is adding weird hair-do's, out of control children, and loud music and numbers any more then one that is stagnate. A growing vibrant church is one where the people are growing and maturing and it is seen as they put all those things you mentioned off for a life that honors the Lord they claim to have met.
     
    #17 freeatlast, Aug 9, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2011
  18. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    You haven't answered my question..... Isn't church about developing relationships? So if I cant do that, whats the sense of going....I can get the guys sermons on line. Why drive for an hour, waste time & gas. It bothers me that I have to drive to get to this mess.
     
  19. preacher4truth

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    You know, I was reading about this "Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise on your own estimation."

    I know you're looking for interaction, and that is good, and as one young in the faith I believe this is especially necessary, as you need to find a good ministry that will help you grow in the faith.

    But at the same time you're a little confusing. You said something a while back about perhaps starting a church (if I recollect correctly) but I would advise against that due to how long you've been a Christian, and that it seems you really have no proving ground right now in an active role within a body.

    What I gather is that you would like to start a church from scratch, but going into a body that probably could use someone with vision to reach others, you're not into that, nor willing to do it at all, because of the people that are there.

    I think it all boils down to a couple of things: 1) You need a church home and some accountability and approval of good men of God and of a good local body prior to and if you are called to start a ministry (some may disagree, but that is my advice to you); 2) You need vision and the will of God leading you, and then when you have that, you'll not look at circumstances as you do now as negative, but as opportunity. All of this will of course only come by Gods leadership.

    The first church I pastored had 3-4 people on Sunday morning. We got a heavy burden from God to take it anyhow, so we did. This tiny church sat 60 people total. God filled this up Sunday after Sunday, and led us to merge with another church where the minister was willing to resign and we would "inherit" a larger facility and other members.

    This pastor that desired this merger contacted me about it by phone call leaving me a voicemail. I listened and hung up telling my wife he wants to meet me and talk. I also told her I have a feeling he wants us to merge with his church. Upon meeting him for breakfast, he asked if I knew why he wanted to meet. I told him God had impressed upon my heart that he wanted to merge our two bodies. We were both in awe of the whole thing, and he asked how I knew. I didn't know, God did though, and impressed it upon me.

    I think part of the issue here with you is a lack of clear vision, and an embracing of a local body within that vision. Once you have that clear will of God, you'll be able to look past the surrounding obstacles within that body. Right now you are not able to do that. Romans 12:1-3 perchance? No local church will be perfect, and perhaps God will give you a certain burden and direct you where He wants you.

    - Peace
     
  20. nodak

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    freeatlast--thank you for your post!

    You hit the nail on the head.
     

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