Solutions

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Luke2427, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. Luke2427

    Luke2427
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    The gates of hell are supposed to give way before us.

    The Lord added daily unto the early church such as should be saved.

    Our commission, our purpose for breathing, is to make disciples of the nations.

    Is that happening in your church?

    It is not happening in the average SBC church.

    What is keeping us from doing what we were made and called to do?

    If our grip on this country is slipping- Why?

    What are we doing wrong?

    What do we need to stop doing?

    What do we need to start doing?

    I'm not interested in hacking off branches of the poisonous tree. I want to locate the ROOT. What is the ROOT of our problem as the church in America?

    Please don't be vague and say something like "Sin".

    No kidding, right?

    What sin and what do we do to turn it around?

    Don't be vague and say, "We need to love Jesus more."

    Tell us how we get people to love Jesus more.


    I fight on other threads- and I intend to. I really don't want to fight here.

    I want to work these things out with Arminians and Calvinists alike; with teetotalers and moderate drinkers alike.

    We can fight over those things- but we really do need to come together on THIS ISSUE.
     
  2. Don

    Don
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    Ya know, once upon a time, I took all the classes and training for Total Quality Management (what has now "evolved" into LEAN, Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma, Scrum, and several other management fads--er, excuse me, I meant "techniques"--and even got in-depth on the Ishikawa diagrams (fish bone diagrams) to help chart out "root cause." The concept being, if you could identify the root cause, you could improve overall quality.

    What I learned (other than most of these techniques being the fad of the month) was that the major flaw with the root cause analysis, is that there's hardly ever a single root cause.

    Consider where we take the analogy from: plants. When was the last time you saw a tree with a single root?

    There may be a root cause for one part of the problem; but if you do something about that root, how does it impact the others?

    And consider how well that concept fits with what scripture tells us in 1 Cor 12 about how we are all members of the same body, that each member needs the other members, and that no member is of any less value than any other member.

    I think what you're asking for here is worthy of serious discussion. The reason I type all this is to put forth my opinion that, just like you've stated that saying "love Jesus" is too simplistic, be aware that there are multiple causes for what you're describing; and each will need to be identified and addressed.

    So my first contribution to you is: leadership doesn't know how to take advantage of the myriad gifts and abilities available in the body. Too many of our pastors, for some reason, don't seem to know, or want to know, how to train individuals based on their personal gifts, rather than some "cookie cutter mold." Rather than having deacons, elders, lay leaders, senior members, whatever, be responsible for discipling in many different ways, there seems to be a grasping of a hierarchy concept that says "only the 'leaders' in the church are capable or worthy of discipling."

    There's more to that, but that's enough for a start, I think. The next topic I would address is followership...but some other time. I should get some sleep now.
     
  3. Luke2427

    Luke2427
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    Very helpful information, Don.

    Thanks.

    And it makes GREAT sense. A tree does not have a single root- it has a root system.

    It puts me in mind of my history class. We studied what is called a "historical problem".

    An example would be the fall of the Roman Empire. There likely was no SINGLE factor but a conglomeration of factors that led to her fall.

    For example, most reputable historians would reject as over-simplistic the notion that Rome fell simply because she became corrupt morally.

    There was undoubtedly more to it than that. So discovering the cause behind the fall of Rome is a "historical problem".

    But let's concede at least two things:

    #1 It COULD be one primary thing.

    Most trees, although they have many dozens of significant roots, have a single "tap" root if I understand correctly. Sever it and the tree dies.

    Perhaps the goal is not to get to the roots but to THE primary root?

    #2 For certain we don't want to waste time hacking away at branches- which is what I think most ministries do. For example, cursing in school is not one of the ROOT problems of our society. It is a branch that grows out from a trunk supplied life by roots.

    Let's get at THE root or the roots.
     
  4. Don

    Don
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    I'm with ya, Luke (yeah, I should have gone to bed. Oh, well). So let me throw this out: the second part of the leadership problem--as I see it--can be described using the situational leadership model. In that model, the leader matches his leadership style to the type of follower. For example, a follower who has to be told every step of every task, vice a follower who only has to receive a suggestion about what needs to be done and then completes it beyond the leader's expectations. However, we have way too many people in leadership positions who seem to think "one size fits all." Some leaders yell at their followers whether they need to be yelled at or not; and some treat all their followers like the second example, and are disappointed when the followers who need constant supervision don't complete tasks.

    My question for those going through seminary training to be pastors and church leaders: what education and/or training were you given regarding leading and managing the members of the church?

    Situational leadership leads to the second half of the equation: followers. Question: when was the last time you were given any instruction or education on how to be a follower? Or, like most churches, are you simply expected to do what the church leadership says, and honor them at church dinners and functions?

    How are we teaching the members of the church to be followers of those who are leading the local church, much less be followers of Christ?
     
  5. Don

    Don
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    So, my apologies if I sound like a Rick Warren "Purpose-Driven" type (I'm not; and the reason I'm not is because when I read Warren's first book, I immediately saw that he was using management textbook principles; and further, that he was trying to shoehorn a "one size fits all" type structure)...but the purpose of all this ho-hum drivel I've posted is to point out one of Luke's favorite topics: Education is one of the root causes for the problems we see in today's churches. We're not properly educating our pastors on how to be leaders (even though there are plenty of courses and classes towards that end, they typically all teach the same things and tend to produce a certain type of "ideal", rather than capitalize on individual gifts and abilities and help the potential pastor/leader overcome, or find ways to overcome, shortcomings).

    And we're definitely not properly teaching the followers how to be proper followers, to utilize their individual gifts and abilities and strengthen their "weaker" areas.

    Education. Or, as scripture puts it and as Luke recently posted, "studying to show ourselves approved."
     
  6. saturneptune

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    Luke,
    This is one of the most profound threads I have seen in a long time, and really strikes a nerve as far as the reponsibiltiy of one of my ministires. I am a deacon and Sunday School Director, to mention two. Our church is a small SBC church, and runs about 40 in Sunday School on Sunday morning on a good day, and 50 in church. As far as Sunday night, you can divide the 50 in half, and on Wednesday night, about half of Sunday night, give or take a few members.

    The population of our church is 80% over 70. Under 55 is practically non existent, except for a Wednesday night ministry where we pick up a group of children whose parents are basically disfunctional in that role. I am considered a young person at 60. Our members are either middle class or lower middle class. We have no doctors, lawyers or Indian chiefs. There is one member here on BB with me, Tom Butler, who serves as chairman of the deacons.

    In the 1950's, we had a membership of over 600. In the late 70's, the church voted to relocate, and the disagreement over that vote dropped us to 200 (that plus a natural decline) by 1986 when we moved. I actually joined in 1978 about two years after I got married. Since the move, our congregation has experienced amazing unity, love, and avoidance of frivilous debates. The pattern I focus on is why the drop from 200 on the rolls in 1986 to 117 today.

    One could ask, why was there one church with one Spirit in the book of Acts, yet, in 2000 years, we have taken that one church and divided into hundreds of denominations and thousands of sub groups, such as Southern Baptist, General Baptist, Primitive, Old Regular, etc, etc. Everyone of them thinks they are right according to Scripture. One can very vividly see that reflected right here on this board.

    We have tried visitation, mission trips, pack a pew Sunday, pot lucks, etc to generate an interest in bringing folks in to hear the Word of God. Granted, our church cannot afford entertainment centers for young people, but nothing else seems to work today. I have gone through periods of time blaming the general apathy of the community, and periods of time where I blame the lack of participation at visitiation and other programs.

    One must continue to believe that the future of any local church is in the hands of the Lord, as if one takes the results personally or from a worldly perspective, the situation can drive one crazy. The best I can do is encourage others to visit, continue visiting, pray, and put it in the Lord's hands.

    The thrust of your thread is why. It could be we reap what we sow, and maybe churches in general have become more interested in fellowship and chit chat than telling a lost world about Jesus. It could be we do not adequately address sin within our own house. I think one sign is church service after service, endless, without one person responding to the message. It almost becomes a mechanical process. When the pastor presents a sermon asking are we there to worship, or are we there to see our friends, there is nothing but stone silence. Maybe everyone is thinking others feel that way, but I am here to worship, so, no response.

    When people are more worried about kitchen committees, funeral dinners, and who gets what church position than worship and growth, then there is an underlying problem. For example, in one local church, hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent on replacing pews that are almost new. That is the kind of nonsense that is a symptom that the local church is very sick.

    Specifically, our church does not have a problem with arguing about things like Calvinism, communion, and other such issues. We state our position and go on. It is not an endless argument. Also, we have no pocket or cliques of power. We have a united, loving church, yet, the growth is not there. One physical problem is that most of the congregation at this late date is unable physically to do much. It is all in the hands of the Lord. I hope that this addressed some of the questions, but I have no magic formulas.
     
  7. Luke2427

    Luke2427
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    Thank you for sharing that testimony.

    I think we better figure it out or we are going to lose this nation to secularism and other godless venues.

    I have a burning conviction that the Church is the answer. The success of the Kingdom of God in this nation (and world for matter) has everything to do with church life in this country.

    But we HAVE GOT TO figure out what the Church is doing wrong in this country and fix it or, I don't think it's hyperbole to say, we are doomed as a nation.
     
  8. 12strings

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    I think you might be confusing two issues that really need to be separate, or at least I would say one is not directly connected with the other...It might actually be an inverse relationship:

    Here's what I mean. I tend to be very pessimistic about the direction of the nation, but optimistic about the future of the church. I look at the financial, political, cultural trends and conclude: "We're sunk." No matter who wins the next 15 elections...we're sunk. No matter how many times Al Mohler goes on Larry King to defend traditional marraige, the tidal wave of Homosexual appoval is coming to every single church in America. The way they respond will divide the fakers from the true church.

    I tend to think that as the cultural and political climate degrades, there will reach a point at which the true churches will start to grow in Godliness, boldness, love for the lost, and aiming to please Christ. It may take verbal, financial or even physical persecuton for it to happen, but that's what I tend to think it will take.

    The early Christians in Jerusalem huddled together until they began to be persecuted, at which point they scattered, taking the gospel to the ends of the earth.

    So to summarize, I would say you are right that the church has some deep problems, maybe with one root cause relating to our assumption of, or abandoning of, or disconnect from the Gospel...BUT our goal in reforming the church cannot be to build God's Kingdom in America...If it is, I think we will be sorely dissapointed...

    We are never told biblically to "Build" God's kingdom, "Establish" God's Kingdom, or "usher in" God's Kingdom. We are told to primarily ANNOUNCE it, to bear witness to it.
     
  9. Bronconagurski

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    I think you have hit upon something. The persecuted church did scatter and spread the gospel. The church in America has not been persecuted, but the signs are there that it is coming, and very quickly it seems. Announcing, or preaching the true Gospel causes division. We are scared to share the gospel at work, at public school, or even in our neighborhoods. At least, the way the early church shared the gospel, without fear of what would happen should they thwart the authorities and continue to preach in the name of Jesus. Our churchs have become satisfied with a nice building, Christian daycares and schools, and we say we are changing the world for Christ. We go after people like we are, but neglect to go after the disenfranchised, the poor, the druggies, the outcast. Oh, we have a R.U. program at church, but we are not committed to it like we are other ministries. Luke showed Jesus in a little different light than the other gospels. He went against societies taboos, like not educating women, or eating with sinners, or caring about children. One man, and I don't know where it started, called Luke the book of the great reversal. Luke is the only gospel that tells us that well to do women helped support the ministry of Jesus. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus to learn, and was not rebuked. We are doing the ordinary, with great efficiency, but we are not trying to reverse our society like Jesus did. I am not sure how we do that, but it starts with caring and reaching out to people that we may have thought before was beneath us.
     
    #9 Bronconagurski, Sep 12, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2012
  10. Aaron

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    The seven churches in Asia did not have a central failure. They were not all guilty of the same things. Not all are called to preach. Not all are called to missions, but all are called to prayer.

    So if you are looking for the one thing that all should be doing, it is that. It is prayer.

    If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
     
  11. kyredneck

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    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

    AMEN! PRAY FOR REVIVAL!
     
  12. Luke2427

    Luke2427
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    I think you make some very good points here and I agree with most of them.

    It is true that we are not to be so concerned with the government structure of this nation and the preservation of that as we are the propagation of the church.

    Absolutely.


    But I would only say that the Great Commission is to make disciples of the NATIONS.


    Whether the constitution survives or not; whether capitalism survives or not; whether the American flag and the America way stands firm or not- what we ARE supposed to be doing is taking this nation for Jesus.

    And we are simply not doing that.

    The question is- Why?
     
  13. Luke2427

    Luke2427
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    But Aaron, in the very verse you quote to support the idea that all we should do is pray there are several MORE things we are told to do BESIDES just pray.
     
  14. Aaron

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    That's right, and they're all generalities. You said, and I quote:
    What is the ROOT [singular] of our problem [singular] as the church [singular] in America?

    Please don't be vague [make a generality] and say something like "Sin" [or "wicked ways"].
    If there is one thing in which we're universally deficient, it is humble, fervent effectual prayer. Lack of prayer is the root of all problems in the Church, and the hub from which all other operations extend.
     
    #14 Aaron, Sep 12, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2012
  15. Luke2427

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    You may be right- I don't know.

    But what about the Great Commission? It does not even include prayer. don't get me wrong, I think prayerlessness is CERTAINLY a problem.

    But is that why we are not doing the Great Commission- because we are not praying enough?

    And what does praying enough look like?

    And is that where the Scripture puts the bulk of our responsibility- prayer?
     
  16. Aaron

    Aaron
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    It is written, my house shall be called the house of ___?___

    I should rephrase this. Lack of prayer is the root of all problems in the Church. Prayer is the hub from which all other operations extend.
     
  17. Skandelon

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    I agree. Prayer is a manifestation of true faith. Operations, programs and activities of the church not flowing from relationship (prayer), and actively bathed in prayer are likely not being done in faith. And we know anything (even good things) not done in faith are sin.
     
  18. saturneptune

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    Unless it was ordained in eternity past. :laugh:
     
  19. Iconoclast

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    A cause of some of the ineffectiveness of local churches is failing to sanctify and properly observe the Lord's day.

    the people of God in the Ot....refused to let the land rest and they were carried away captive because of it....

    God rebuked them several times for improper sabbath observance;
    No wonder prayer meeting is a ghost town...If they do not set apart one day in seven....why would they want to pray???

    The "church" who has lost any outward focus...will not be blessed.

    Michael Horton...wrote a book called Christless Christianity.which raised other issues.


    One attempt at a solution was offered here in this book, shipping costs more than the book, but it is worth the read;

    The greening of the church
    by Findley B. Edge It only costs .099 cents on Alibris
     

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