The Slippery Slope P IX

Entertaining without Substance!

If your church leadership’s desire is to merely entertain the people, and your people just want to be entertained, you have a huge problem.

The church is not to be about entertainment; rather, the reverence, worship, and supremacy of Christ are to be the first and foremost concerns.

It is OK to be creative; it is not OK to compromise His message! You must rethink who you are as a church, and what your purpose is. We have helps for you in our “Church Leadership” Channel. Take the risk and challenge your leaders and people to grow in Christ.

The Slippery Slope P VIII

 

Chasing Trends and not Following Christ!

As a Church Growth Consultant, I stay current on the latest trends. I have started some, followed many, and found that most are absent of truth, longevity, and effectiveness, whereas honoring Christ builds a real, strong, and healthy church.

All too often, we forget why we are doing church and slip into a concession to what we think may work better, looking for the latest and greatest personalities or programs and following ideas rather than His Word.

Yes, we can glean some good stuff. But, any church that has a problem with compromise or is not discipling, teaching, or operating in the Spirit and Fruit are failing. Such a church must repent, drop to its knees, seek His face, and get rid of anyone who refuses to comply with His Way. We must get rid of the weeds to grow healthy wheat and, of course, do it in love and in Matthew 18.

The Slippery Slope P VII

 

Forgetting about Discipleship and Replacing it with our Pride and Ideas

We pastors become the problem as our lust for numbers supersedes our call and ability to equip and nurture those we have. This means we are neglecting them to chase after others and thus, we create a shallow church of a compromised message and an absence of relevant biblical instruction.

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Eph. 4:11-14 

First of all, it is His role to send people; we do invite and make our church comfortable, hospitable, and such. But, never cheat His Word or negate discipleship, for doing so does not bring more people. In fact, most of the growing churches are not watering the Word down, but quite the opposite. When we fail to disciple our people, we fail to honor God, obey His imperatives, and serve Him. Even if our church meets in a former sports stadium filled to the rim with people, if we are not equipping people in their spiritual formation and honoring His Word, we are failing His call and our real purpose (Matt. 28:18-20; Eph. 4:11).

The Slippery Slope P V

Embracing the Postmodern Mindsets of Political Correctness

Our virtue leaves us when we start to reject moral absolutes and forsake accountability to our Lord. This forms a void that we fill with all kinds of things meant to fulfill people’s “felt needs” except solid Christian formation that is essential for their “real needs.” Even if the doctrine of a church is rock solid, moving off the Cornerstone can be replacing what the Bible teaches with trends. Or, it can be just administering the business of the church as the main function of the church instead of discipling. 

This is about our growth in Christ! We need to hear His call. Christ calls us to take up the cross and deny ourselves; this is extreme discipleship, a call that is to cancel out our will so we can submit to His. When we confess Christ as our Savior, it means He is our Lord. We are to surrender to His direction, call, and purpose. When we claim to be His, we need to commit and follow, leaving behind all that hinders and causes us to go astray.

This subject is an aspect to sanctification meaning our growth in Christ, this encompasses how and why we grow in our faith. Why do some people grow in their faith and maturity while others go about it very slowly or not at all? This is what “our part” is in our relationship with Christ. As His Work and the work of the Holy Spirit saves us and our part is responding by faith and obedience.

(Psalm 118:18-27; 127:1; Eph. 2:19-22; Col. 3:17; 1 Thess. 5: 12-18; 1 Tim. 5:17; 6:1;1 Peter 2:4-17; Heb. 12:28-29)

If you do not have faith and obedience at work in your leaders life and church, then you are a club and not a real authentic church!

The Slippery Slope P IV

Prayer is Seen as a Last Resort Rather than at the Forefront.

The leadership of a given church is not praying. This transpires the mindset that we want to direct our church our way, without His help, and be independent in our thinking, with the belief that this is maturity and progress. In fact, this is regress and apostasy. Sounds like, who would do that? Well, most churches with whom I have consulted in the last ten-plus years that are failing had no prayer life, either in groups, in the pulpit, or in the leader’s homes.

From my doctoral research, I found that none of the churches that failed prayed, and the ones that did pray were often superficial and prideful. Perhaps liturgy and ceremonial prayers were spoken, but not the heartfelt seeking of God. Real prayer starts in the homes of the pastor and leaders; then, the leadership comes together to pray.

There is prayer in the pulpit, in the service, and in all groups in the church, both scheduled and not scheduled. A church must always seek His face reverently and passionately! If we try to run our churches without prayer, we are running them without our Cornerstone. We cannot do His call, His work, or our Christian life without His lead and relationship. Prayer must be utmost and foremost for His purpose to be in our churches.

(Matthew 6: 5-15; 7: 7-12; Luke 3:21; 5:16; 6:12; 9:18, 28; 11:1; 23:46; John 15:4-5; Romans 8: 18-30; James 5:13-18)

The Slippery Slope PIII

Not being Good!

Goodness is the Fruit with which virtue and the rest of the characters combine to produce endearment. It is the character that makes people liked and even loved by others. When we as a church are not being good, such as refusing to care, being unforgiving, not operating in the Spirit and Fruit, it leads to dissention and strife. When we fight against one another, we have to see how hurtful and even pathetic it is in God’s eyes!

By the Spirit’s empowerment, we can model the character of Christ. We can be positively responsive to others; God is concerned with how we are with one another as well as how we are with Him.

We readily confess our faithfulness on Sunday, but by Monday, our confession is gone. We desire God to be a blessing machine, while we are impatient and disrespectful to what He wants us to learn. When we have confidence in God and in His plan and purpose for our lives, we can then act on faith

(Prov. 25:22; Matt. 7:12; 19:16; Luke 6:27, 35; Rom. 8:28-39; 12:17; 2 Cor. 5:20; 1 Pet. 3:11; 2 Pet. 1:2-12).

The Slippery Slope PII

 

The Failure to Love!

Churches fail because they forget that Christ is the Ultimate LOVE! He gives us the ultimate assurance! We have incredible assurance that nothing can separate us from God’s love. Thus, if God is for us, then we need not fear anything such as trials, troubles, problems, setbacks, highs, lows, the devil, or even death. There should be no reason in our lives to keep us from growing in His love and living the triumphant, full Christian life, full of passion and conviction in serving for the glory of our Lord, no matter what we have been through or will go through!

Our failure to obey God by not loving Him and others will cause us to lose out on so much in life and in eternity.

Our diligence to remain faithful and obedient with virtue will help enable others to do so, too. When we obey God, He will reward us beyond our ability to fathom. The solution is simple; pay attention to Christ, not to falsehoods or pride (Psalm 86:5; 145:4-13; Rom. 8:31-39; 1 Cor. 13).

The Slippery Slope

The slope upon which we slip into a Church of Perfidy is the hill of compromise, where we weaken our beliefs and doctrines, and fail to love. This can easily happen if we fail to apply Christ and His guidelines to our lives.

Moving Away from the Centrality of God’s Word.

The foundational error many churches make is the rejection of God’s Word as the authority for their lives (Acts 17:11; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Rom. 1:16; Titus 2:11-12; 2 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 4:12). This is the kind of thinking that leads to the rejection of essential doctrines such as the deity of Christ, the Trinity, salvation by grace alone by faith alone, and so forth. This can be anything from outright rejection of the inerrancy of the Bible to just ignoring His Word and concentrating on other things. If we ever water down the Bible, thinking we can attract more people, we delude ourselves. This is in essence saying that the Holy Spirit is not good enough or powerful enough and we must invent stuff to get people into the Church. The Church must preach the Word with passion, compassion with conviction, with clarity, and in truth—without compromising or diluting it. We can be more entertaining, make our messages more relevant and applicable, and become better communicators, but not replace teaching with entertainment! If so, we are deluded by our dilution. A church will stand or fall on the truth of His Word; water it down and it will fail. If by some chance you grow, take careful heed; a big, weak church is not good in His sight but a small, strong church is glorifying to Him. Even if people leave, we are still to preach and teach powerfully and in truth. Even if we suffer financially and personally, we are not to ever, ever water down God’s most precious Word! Never, never, never! And, if I have not made my point yet, here is another— never!

What makes a Church Healthy or Unhealthy?

This comes from a big problem we have in most churches today, that is the tendency of leaders not effectually growing in the Lord and thus do not practice their faith and this dispenses down to the congregation. And the outcome is a church that has missed its point and reason for being; as its people, who Christ has brought in, go without being taught or discipled because the pastors and leaders are not being taught or discipled. Being mature means you know not just Who Christ is, but His impact has gone deep and has occupied all aspects of our life and faith. Life is all about Him and not about selfish ideas or perceptions. We have gone to His throne and His priestly duty has been received, our Milk, and then the meat is feasted upon, His wondrous precepts and Truth. So our faith is real, personal, fully transformed and becoming fully engaged followers of Christ seen by a life well lived. If we want to be an impacting Christian pastor or lay leader in a church that impacts its community and world, we have to be eating the meat of God’s precepts with passion and conviction, in love and in truth and then sharing it with others.

Healthy churches have a deep love and gratitude to Christ and desire to equip and empower the people He brings them!

They seek to serve in humbleness and effectual faith. They value people and do not depend on their programs, rather on Christ; they allow Him to produce what He wants, when He wants. They grow from the inside of their faithful journey before it is exercised outward. Inward faith is formed before outward faith is expressed. The average healthy church is where people feel good about God and others; they display personal, spiritual, and relational maturity and have hope and life in Christ, all because they are growing in the Word and Spirit. Gossip is absent and conflict is dealt with; spiritual growth is glorifying our Lord, and the Fruit of the Spirit is at hand. The pastors and leaders model to the people a faith that endures as they look to Christ.

© 2008, Research from 1998- 2007, R. J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org

Other Significant Growth Factors that come from these top Seven

That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5: 19

8. Healthy churches that are growing in Christ have leaders who focus on Christ and serve Him. Their leadership style is not by will; it is by being a servant. “Servant Leadership” is modeled and practiced.

9. Healthy churches that are growing in Christ have people that are disciplined and growing in Christ. This is the reason they are loving and caring, practicing the “one another” passages. They are enamored by God’s presence in their church and life, and thus place Christ first, acting on His character and call! They are not selfish or inwardly focused, but care for others and focus on their community and world.

10. Healthy churches that are growing in Christ have a system of pastoral care. They train their staff and leaders to immediately respond when they hear of a church member in need. They hire licensed, qualified people and/or train and assign trained deacons or care workers; also, a key person is in charge.

11. Healthy churches that are growing in Christ have effective evangelism, stewardship, and discipleship. These programs come from those top seven factors! As people are transformed, they can be taught and motivated. They also tend to spend at least one-third of their resources of budget and talent in outreach and missions.

12. Healthy churches that are growing in Christ have a well thought out, biblically empowered vision and mission statement. This is clearly defined by a purpose that points to Christ, and strategies on what God has called them to do and be. In addition, the people know this and are willing to act on it. It is one thing to write it out, but another thing to act it out. The vision does not lead the church; rather, it s a motto that encapsulates the work of the Spirit and the precepts of Scripture that calls, empowers, and employs the church. A vision is a sign to show what is happening and help others see the direction of the church so they know where to go. A vision will not motivate or lead, just as placing a label for soda on a can of water does not make it a soda.

13. Healthy churches that are growing in Christ tend to organize and mobilize their people according to their Spiritual Gifts! The people are more content and motivated so serve in a team manner when they serve in their area of their giftedness. The quarrels and apathy will dry up as the energies are redirected and channeled in a godly way. People will function less in their own strength and more in the power of the Holy Spirit.

14. Healthy churches that are growing in Christ empower the people in their care. They are training, discipling, recognizing, and encouraging their people, especially those in critical roles. They do not see or use volunteers just as helpers or as people to control and manipulate, but as the essential tools and prime resources with which to glorify God, enablers of the goals of missions and needs to be reached. These churches see the pastor as the trainer for the congregation. If the senior pastor feels they do not have the gifts and abilities to equip and train others to do ministry (what the biblical principle of a “pastor” is), the church hires or build teams around them that do! If the training is not done, the church will fail! Some pastors are great teachers, but cannot do anything else. A pastor must operate in his gifted area, and encourage others who will compensate for him in the areas where he is weak or does not have the time.

15. Healthy churches that are growing in Christ are willing to and do confront sin, evil, gossip, slander, manipulators, and heresy in the church—immediately! The leadership puts down gossip and solves conflict quickly. Healthy churches move ahead in purpose and unity.

16. Healthy churches that are growing in Christ have pastors who are real, joyful, and authentic, and lead healthy, disciplined lives. Their leaders are learning and growing in community with one another, willing to go beyond their prejudices and fears and embrace Christ. They are willing to publicly repent, apologize for past mistakes, make improvements, and change. They do not have thick skin as much as loving hearts, and they give people grace and room to grow. They are not afraid to step on the toes of others, but remain loving, listening, and firmly uncompromising to the Word.