Is God’s Institution of the Church Failing?
Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 23, 2006
I get so tired of hearing so-called “Christians” saying and acting like God’s institution of the Church – a congregation of born-again, water-baptized believers, called out for His particular purpose– has failed or has become obsolete in our day. These same ones will forsake God’s plan and program of evangelizing and discipling through His churches and turn to some sort of para-church ministry, siphoning out congregations, and then “rejoicing” in what God has done…
Now I truly believe this happends because there are a bunch of wolves running around in sheep’s clothing. But this deception and disobedience becomes viral, and it affects the sheep that hear the Shepherd’s voice. What’s going on? How can the lie that God’s institution of the Church is failing today be allowed to be propagated among true, New Testament congregations? Why does it seem that there are those Independent Baptist people being attracted to ecumenical, para-church “ministries”, and thereby contributing to the perceived “power-dilution” of the Lord’s institution?
Here are some rambling thoughts:
1) Could “the family” be contributing to the propagation of this lie? Pastors and preachers are criticized too freely in many homes. The ministry is not respected as a whole. Also, the children see Mom and Dad doing “what they want to do when they want to do it”, instead of submitting unto the Lord and to the leadership that He has instilled in that congregation. If “Roasted Preacher” is served for many meals, why would anyone want to “follow the leader” or why would any young man want to surrender to God’s call into the ministry?
2) Could churches be contributing to the lie about them and to their perceived weakness? In-fighting, cold hearts, apathy, and indifference do not assist in seeing God’s will accomplished. Men who think that the pastorate is a career and not a calling preach for a paycheck and not because they have the power of God upon them. Congregations who believe in word that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, in practice buy into the “entertainment-driven” philosophy and program that “brother, you can’t get them in without pizza, pop, playin’, and pickin'”!
3) Could the “Church-growth gurus”, statistics, and surveys be contributing to the lie? Why do you listen to them…because they told you that they know what success is! But ask yourself this, “Do their definitions of success line up with the Lord’s definition of success?” “Yeah, but…”; no buts! Are “numbers” a Biblical benchmark of success? So if the church I pastor runs 150, and yours runs only 75, are we twice as successful? Then, if we are compared to a church with 300, are we not as successful??? Be careful…success is not in the numbers.
I don’t believe God’s institution of the Church is failing. I do believe that we are being bombarded almost constantly on what others think we should be and of what churches should be doing. I believe we as Independent Baptists look too much at other beliefs, see some superficial result, and try to mimic it by adding a Baptist flavor. I also believe what the Lord Jesus Christ said about His institution, the Church: “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”.
God’s work never fails…people fail in God’s work because they fail to follow God in His work.