Recently I wrote a short essay on, “The importance of the Local Church” in the life of a believer. Apart from the local Body we cannot mature like we should as followers of Christ. I think that we all would agree with that (All in favor, say “aye”). But a question that has haunted me for years is this one, is the Local church for unbelievers? I not advocating NOT allowing unbelievers into our gatherings, but should we structure our ministries with them in mind? The Seeker sensitive movement of the 80’-90’s was one of the worst things that could have happened to the church, in my opinion. What think Ye?
I read your article on your blog ‘The importance of the local church’. I could not agree more that Christians need to participate in a local church, and not as just pew warmers but to try to get involved to help others.
I would hesitate to say that so called ‘seeker-sensitive’ churches have it wrong. If non-believers are not made to feel welcome and feel loved when in the church, why would they want to take exploratory steps closer to knowing Christ? If we put ourselves into a newcomers shoes - especially the ‘unchurched’ - church attendance would seem really daunting and probably weird. The only church someone may have seen is the Hollywood/movie version of it.
I enjoy a variety of preachers, and years ago stumbled on this article below. Preachers don’t know people’s hearts, some that appear to be a born again Christian may not be, and those that are Christians and are a little rough around the edges may be; who knows that… only God knows the heart.
If your question is ‘who would be welcome into church membership’ then that is an entirely different question of course based on a statement of faith/doctrinal position/constitution etc. I think all churches should be sensitive to people seeking to know more about Jesus Christ, but perhaps it’s just a preference difference in the style of the service (contemporary vs traditional).
A good question maybe to consider for all Christians is ‘who lead us to Jesus Christ’ and what was it that initially caused us to start to take steps closer to see what it was all about before committing completely.
hopefully some helpful thoughts…
Matt thanks for your response. As I reflect on my question, I’m saying to myself, "I know the answer to my question. The Local Church of course is for believers. I should rephrase my question, "Who is the Local church Service or weekly gathering for? If you look above, I corrected my question…Again, I think I know the answer to my question. When the body of Christ gathers It is for Worship and Instruction. But when the body of Christ scatters into the world it is for evangelism and good works.
I found this article interesting.
Great article. What really resonated with me was this line below which is so true.
However, the majority of members in these churches have abandoned personal responsibility for showing and sharing the truth of the gospel. Instead, they expect the church services and the paid professionals to accomplish the evangelistic ministry of the church.
If we, Christians, attending a local church thinking ‘what can I get out of it’, rather than ‘what can I put into it’, then we all can so easily slip into being benchwarmers who may eventually become critics of the leadership of the church when the novelty has worn off. We think ‘oh the pastor gets paid, it’s his job to reach people’. Not good!
My Father in law is a pastor of 30 years and I help with behind the scene type things and not in church leadership and please note I’m wanting to encourage you!! Pastors need all the encouragement they can get!
Be encouraged in your work - you’re banking eternal rewards in heaven…
Amen, my brother.
Many blessings on you and yours
I think you tow a line with how a body of believers present themselves to the local community. I think, in some scenarios and with the best intent, people try to create a demand for Christ that they don’t have to. People already need Christ. Service should be geared toward creating disciples and not at our next best sales pitch to bring people in. The need for a savior is already written on our hearts and can only truly be filled by Christ. So my 2 cents would be to never exclude someone for their non-belief, because we are called to be patient with everyone in Paul’s letter to the church.
Hey Joshua thanks for your input. Ive been reading through the book of Acts and it has been eye opening. To look at the church today compared to the mother, I’m calling for a D N A test. My question is not about “presentation” but more about practice.
I understand that. I often wonder, if the apostles were to see our corporate worship, what would they say? I don’t think how we worship is bad, but I wonder what they had in mind. These men died for the cause of Christ, save John. We are upset when someone “sits in our chair”. I exaggerate, but I hope you get what I mean.