jump to navigation

The Greatest Gift We Have January 13, 2014

Posted by worshipconvergence in Christianity, Church, devotional, Leadership, ministry.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Image

This is not the result of some divine vision, where I was lifted to Heaven or shifted to another realm. This is not the result of a voice, plain as day, calling out of a bush or thin air. No, this comes from a tug at the heart of a worshiper, a heart that thought worship services were a collective display of approval, commendation, love, and adoration to God from His believers, not just His children, His believers; and that heart’s  experiences as a church staff member.

What’s odd, and by odd I mean disturbing, is how many Christians don’t see the problem, don’t see it as a problem, or deny it exists because it supposedly “works.” What is the problem? For one thing, “true and proper worship” is discipleship (Romans 12:1.) Worship and discipleship are supposed to happen within the believer regardless of circumstance or setting. Worship, as a gathered community, has certain Biblically inherent principles, such as returning the Word to God, singing praise to Him with gladness and bowing down in worship (2 Chronicles 29:30.) I’m sure people who make it through this reading and disagree will argue that I must also wish to include sacrifices and burnt offerings too, because that was also part of that 2 Chronicles passage. So I’ll state right now that no, those were made obsolete by Christ’s death on the cross. The new offering and sacrifice is your time and skill, heart, mind, soul, and strength: your love. Returning to the Romans 12 passage, self is the offering which is Holy and pleasing to God.

Problem- part 2: When did “go forth,” or as modern church calls it, “outreach,” become about how effectively you can get people to come to you? Many Church leaders claim a heart for seeking the lost, yet preach it from the pulpit (stage, to the modern church folk) on Sunday mornings and talk of it in meeting after meeting, leaving themselves little if any time to set the example. They spend their lives in havens of the found, where they know those they seek are not flocking. So, rather than meet them where they are, the example they set is to turn the church property and worship services in to magnets to attract the lost to them. This makes the non-believer and those new to the faith leaders in the church, whose opinions shape what is or is not worship (not that veteran Christians never make it about themselves.) It is written in 1 Timothy 3:6,

“They (church leaders) must not be new followers of the Lord. If they are, they might become proud and be doomed along with the devil.“

The leadership resource churchleaders.com has this to say of pride in the church,

“Unfortunately, many Christians and churches view their “brand” of Christianity as the only true or most true type of Christianity. They may not think they are the only Christians, but they do think they are the best or most right ones. This is a prideful and sinful attitude that grieves Jesus and dismembers His body.”

To segregate the Body, even just within the local assembly, because veteran Christians and/or new converts demand it be about them before they’ll attend the collective display to God from His believers, drips with pride like a tomato freshly cut with a butter knife. There are a whole lot of individuals in the assembly, but few members of His body.

If there’s one thing I believe the Church needs to be told, its found in Galatians 5:7-9,

“You were doing so well until someone made you turn from the truth. And that person was certainly not sent by the one who chose you. A little yeast can change a whole batch of dough.”

These days, the Church is so pridefully leavened, so fluffy and puffed up from the yeast of personal satisfaction and business-defined successes, that one can look through one side of the loaf to the other without obstruction – there’s so little Bread anymore, so many air holes like the space between a spider’s webbing. Its time for outreach ministers to GO forth, let go of the worship services, and seek those who know they are sick (Mark 2:17.) Instruct these people in the meaning of true worship, so when they come, they do so not as consumers, but as those who brought gifts to Emmanuel.

All it takes is the generations proclaiming through words or action, “Its about me, my pleasure, my satisfaction, my professional resume, and my sub-culture,” for the whole loaf to need started from scratch. Sadly, church leaders around the world who aren’t causing it are letting it happen.

Our selves: lovingly, unconditionally, and collectively offered, may well be the greatest gift His believers can commission. Who is willing to go in on that gift?

The Pastor and the Prostitute May 20, 2013

Posted by worshipconvergence in Christianity, Church, Leadership, ministry.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

A woman approached her pastor one day, concerned with theological inconsistencies in the church. After several moments explaining where her heart was and her love of learning and living the Word, the pastor, showing a slight irritation at perceived resistance to his visioning, explained that the church was a business, and that the marketing and casting lots of young adults into high profile and high visibility positions such as youth, hospitality, and music ministries was all part of the business to attract their own kind, and that sometimes it is necessary to bend lessons in order to not offend people, such as stating that the Word consistently says something but Jesus never actually said it. The woman replied, “But the Word became flesh, Jesus is the Word. It isn’t like the drinking issue, where some of the Bible says not to drink at all while parts say to not drink to the point of drunkenness, and Jesus turned water in to wine, so the latter has to be considered the Word. If you can say the Word consistently says something, Jesus’ existence is simply the period at the end of the statement.”

The pastor looked on with discontent. “But we can’t say this, modern society doesn’t see it that way. Its better for business to keep the numbers up and doing it as you say might scare people away.”

The woman, seeing the pastor’s steadfastness toward his visioning, asked the pastor, “How much do you charge for sex?”

The pastor had to contain his outrage at such a distasteful question. He responded, “That’s a little out of line. Prostitution isn’t something to talk of lightly or so brashly.”

“That doesn’t really answer the question,” the woman said, “is there a price, monetary or otherwise, that would convince you have sex with someone other than your wife?”

The pastor curtly stated through a clenched jaw, “No.”

The woman wrapped up her concern in one statement, “The Church is the Body of Christ, and the Body of Christ is a temple, and temples are not to be turned in to businesses. So, pastor, if you would not turn your body in to a business, why are you turning His in to one?”

Dig Deeper, Worship Wholly February 9, 2013

Posted by worshipconvergence in Christianity, Church, Leadership, ministry.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

I always find myself frustrated at the lack of depth, or, the superficiality of music in worship services. While I’m not against using songs that are popular, I believe in presenting more than the best selling songs of the day. I have compiled, into 2 Amazon listmania lists, a small assortment of songs fit for use in congregational settings, yet most are rarely heard in worship -too new, too old, too obscure, too fast, too aggressive, sound more like background music. Many excuses to mask the truth: most modern churches are businesses and thus are consumer driven, therefore they use topical, superficial. “accessible”  songs that occupy the Billboard Christian charts to attract “seekers,” i.e. trend-seekers..

There are more than these 80 songs, but this is a start. Not all of these fall in the categories I mentioned above.

http://www.amazon.com/Praise-amp-Worship-for-all-generations-part-1/lm/R1LOICE00GXE3T/ref=cm_lm_byauthor_title_full

http://www.amazon.com/Praise-amp-Worship-for-all-generations-part-2/lm/R1T6KXM8OIZFYX/ref=cm_lm_byauthor_title_full

I hope these songs bless you and your congregation.