Tag Archive: family


mFTU2t6[1]In the West, a consumer mentality is often fostered in us even when it comes to church. We, unfortunately, all too easily have a “What’s in it for me?” attitude. And, where this exists, little is required of every member to grow in real love and care for each other. And, we like it that way!

Unfortunately, as a result of this, we experience a shallow form of what church really is. While we go deeper and deeper in knowledge with our countless programs, teachings and seminars, we remain poor in true fellowship where genuine love is fostered.

A Family, Not a Business 

Our family is currently planning a trip to Disney World where a bunch of professionals do a superb job of running around in order to make the visitors happy. Isn’t this what church has become for many of us? In contrast, church life should be like family life where flexibility and sensitivity is fostered among every member toward one another and their needs.

Small Groups

Church cell groups, as well as organic, simple and house churches all contribute to making church more real, intimate and participatory for many and I would say are probably less prone to being consumer-oriented. And, I would also greatly encourage everyone to participate in a group of this nature. However, having said that, these groups often struggle to know how to adequately incorporate children with their needs into their gatherings.

Chidren

What to do with the children can easily be a bone of contention and as a result it is probably ignored rather than addressed. Isn’t it strange that, “leave well alone” is the adage followed when all isn’t well. In this case, not addressing this issue of properly incorporating our children is at the peril of a healthy church life, the children’s best and their desire to remain attending when as adults the choice becomes theirs.

Let’s remember that children who have come to faith are a part of His Body. They need nourishment and are even able to nourish. The joy of successfully incorporating everyone should be our goal, especially those that Jesus demonstrated He would never turn away.

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Recently I read a post called, “So Whaddaya do With the Kids” at http://www.home-church.org/voicesdocs/whaddaya.html  that demonstrates a wise, incorporative and selfless model worth considering.  I put it to you as an example “…so that you may know how one is to behave in God’s household, which is the church of the living God (1 Tim 3:15).

Rob Morley

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Growing or Cloning

On “joining a church” believers may be in the early stages of discipleship, unaware of what the teachings of the new group really are or mean. Should they later discover something that another group holds to be true and important to have become important to them too, it seems sad that often the only way to embrace the new truth is to leave where they are. This is because denominations and many churches give “their members” little room for exploration, and even less to accommodate different persuasions and practices. Their minds are generally made up on their accepted practices and beliefs.

Granted, denominations and churches have been strongholds of truth, but it’s the manner that they stand for their so called “truths” that becomes divisive. The “Our way or the highway” mentality generally exists and it creates a forced and false unity within the groups all the while creating disunity with other Christians! When we divide over “truths,” aren’t we denying the members of the body of Christ the opportunity to learn to love the whole flock, despite differences? Isn’t our focus wrong from the start? Do we really need to agree with each other in order to happily gather with each other?

In today’s scenario, we are expected to find a “church” that we feel best accommodates our personal beliefs. Do I believe all of Billy Graham’s views? No, but it would be sad if on Sunday I sat in a church down the road from where he was and even sadder if I was his son or daughter. Imagine the Sunday morning when your family is divided all over a town because of beliefs that divide. We can’t! So why do we divide God’s family!

Signs outside church buildings read “All welcome!”, but in truth mean “Clones welcome!”

Rob

What is Church? – Part 2

What is Church? – Part 2 (Click here for part 1)

Just as family is people connected in relationships with the purpose to love and nurture one another and to multiply, so too, the Church of Jesus Christ is people connected to one another in relationships with the purpose to love and nurture one another and to multiply.  The difference is that family is people connected by blood relationships, while the Church is believers connected spiritually.

Just as family needs to get together to have fellowship and serve one another in love, so too does the Church. Ideally, the believers interact with God and one another in prayer, fellowship, breaking of bread and sharing God’s word. This can happen both locally and globally. Locally, where as little as two or three members interact, through to globally, where members interact via all forms of media.

Also, believers learn to understand the mercy and grace of God that they have received in Christ and in the light of this are free to be known for who they really are (like members of a family). Through the Holy Spirit, and through their lives, their spiritual gifts and by means of God’s word, they share Christ with one another and the world, bringing about personal and corporate growth.

However, just as a dysfunctional family doesn’t cease to be a family, so too the absence of healthy gatherings, prayer, breaking of bread and sharing God’s word doesn’t cause Church to cease being. Also, if members act in a dysfunctional way, say for example by never meeting with the other members, they remain part of the Church. Like family just is, church is.

You can be more of a blessing in fellowship and effective in service the more you know who you are in Christ and discover your anointing in the Holy Spirit. God has made you a minister in His House. It doesn’t matter if you have a theology degree or not. It doesn’t matter how old you are or even what race or gender you are. What matters is that you are in tune with His Spirit working inside of you and you bring something to the table. No one lords it over you. No one has the final say. Only His Spirit and the Bible have the final say. If Christ has set us free, then let us stand firm in our freedom (Gal. 5:1, see also John 8:36) to be active members in God’s family, the real Church.

Rob & Tina

What is Church? – Part 1

One Sunday morning, almost 17 years ago, my husband and I were driving home from church. In the car we were having a discussion about our experience of the service. The church we attended had vibrant worship and a wonderful message. However, we got to pondering on the term “church” and felt that naming any Sunday morning service “church” was not accurate.

To better understand where we were coming from, you’ll need to know more about our background. Rob and I had met on the mission field where we had been active servants of the Lord. Coming off the mission field and getting married brought us into a season where we visited churches in our area. We became frustrated with the importance that people placed on a Sunday service, as if this was the real deal.

When God called believers to gather together and to fellowship with one another, it did not look anything like a typical church service of today. The Bible states that the word must dwell in us richly for teaching and admonishing through the sharing of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Col. 3:16). This verse was not meant to be an exact list, but rather an example for the believers to follow. If you are an artist and God has given you a spiritual picture to paint, then share your painting and explain its meaning. The point of the verse is to make it clear that we are all meant to participate, not just stack the chairs or serve the tea at some venue. If we don’t participate, then we don’t grow. Growth comes by sharing with one another what God, by His Spirit, has taught us.

The Sunday service is only a small slice of the pie. It should not be viewed or taught that this once-a-week event is the main event of a Christian’s week. This gathering, no matter how wonderful, is hardly what real church is all about. A better name for this type of gathering would be to call it a “Celebration Service.” Think of it like going to a concert. When lots of people are gathered with the same heart and mind, there is a dynamic happening. The vibes are good.

The Sunday gathering should not replace Church, because Church is when the family of believers gathers together. If you base your family experience on a Sunday morning event, you don’t have a true family experience. The reason is that there is no time for good fellowship. You don’t really get to know one another in a meaningful way. You also don’t have time to share what God has been teaching you and to hear from others. Also, a family should share each other’s joys and sorrows. We need to make time for all of what Church is meant to be.

by Tina Morley

Click here for part 2

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