Sunday, November 27, 2016

A MATTER OF FAITH: VISITING


MARK 7:13
“making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”


I recently visited a church whose messages I had seen on YouTube. My experience was positive: the greeter engaging, the people were pleasant, and the worship was beautiful. The message was timely and intellectually stimulating, the Pastor encouraged the listeners to study for themselves. I enjoyed everything about the overall experience including the free coffee. I left with an invite to a free thanksgiving breakfast and a bag to be used to replenish the food pantry.
When I talked to the “campus” Pastor I shared with him my reluctance at visiting sooner. I was not keen on the idea of watching a Pastor preach from a video screen. The place I visited was a satellite building the actual message was being preached in another building not to far from where we were but far enough traffic wise that this place was more convenient to many of its’ members. The Pastor was very understanding, he did not offer an opinion one way or another; I told him I would be back. If I can watch the service at home and be OK with it then I could just as easily drive to the campus and watch the service with a few other people on the big screen; hmmmmmmm.
As I was leaving I began thinking, we cant’ see church like we use to. Tradition has it that we have to ‘join’ a particular group and ‘attend’ weekly that group exclusively.
A few weeks ago a woman I know was telling me her Pastor had informed the body of believers at her church that they were going to start having church outside in the park and the events would not be announced. According to this person, her Pastor informed the people: you cannot reach the unsaved if the unsaved are outside of the four walls, they must be ready to share the gospel.
If the purpose of the church is to make disciples then, yes, having a church service outside so all the world can hear the truth is a good idea. Personally, I believe the purpose of the church is to teach the believers so that they can go out into the world and share the good news but if this is how he is going to teach his flock how to do this- more power to him!
I would rather watch a Pastor preaching on a big screen in the park any day than one sitting behind a pulpit preaching a very traditional message that will not help me grow in faith. We are in the final days, rather Jesus comes today, tomorrow or in twenty years there are many people who are not ready. The fruit of traditional church messages can be seen throughout the land, as our children behave in such abominable ways. I walked away from traditional churches long ago but I also see churches that pretend to be new but are still rooted in their traditions.
The message of victory in Jesus is lost in the materialism of many church leaders who need bigger and fancier churches. Mega-cruises, mega-retreats and over the top Christmas pageants have replaced the simple message of salvation through Jesus. In the 80’s and 90’s people had needs and sowed seeds only to realize in the new millennium the needs were still there. Instead of helping people to understand what is really needed denominational and non-denominational church leaders alike made a big to-do about missions: if you can’t go sponsor someone.

EPHESIANS 2:8-9 THE VOICE
For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazing.
I visited a church that did not treat me as a stranger, a person who needed special treatment, but as a sister in Christ coming home and needing a cup of coffee. It was clear that I was a visitor since I was the only person of color in the room but that did not matter. Of all the things that I loved about this church- CHRIST JOURNEY- the fact that I was not treated as a “Black” woman was totally awesome! Yes, I will be going back with a bag full of food for the pantry. Will I join the church? Unless the Spirit of God tells me otherwise no.

  • Today we are faced with the challenge of not only sharing the gospel with those who have not heard it before but in re-educating those who have been taught incorrectly. A Pastor once said:There are two types of people in the world saved and unsaved. I have discovered there are two types of Christians in the world: Those who know the word and no they are saved and those who don’t know the word and think they are saved. It is harder to teach those who think they know it all but while there is time we must do what we can. 


1 CORINTHIANS 2:2
For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.