Thursday, December 11, 2014

Which way?

Which Way?

Proverbs 16:2(NIV)
All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.
There seems to be an epidemic in many churches today and that is are we doing things the way we've always done them because they are the way "I" like them done or are willing to do things in a way that honors God's commands of seeking and saving the lost and making disciples?
Too many christians and churches alike spend way too much time fighting unnecessary battles over traditions, worship music, programs, etc...when what we really need to look at is the root of the problem and that is the selfish motives behind them.  Many times people refuse to change or cling to things because "they like them" or "they want them" and not because that is what is best for the church or even God's will.
While singing old hymns may not be wrong and can glorify God if it's not reaching lost people or attracting the younger crowd it may mean its time to sing some new music or blend in something that relates a little better to other generations.  We forget singing is not about "our" preference but worshipping God.  God can and does accept worship of all styles of music and songs, even if we don't. If it works in your church keep it, if not change or adjust your music styles.
While having revivals, vacation bible schools, autumn festivals, or some other annual events may have been done in our churches for years, if people have stopped supporting them with their feet(showing up) , then it doesn't matter if we like them or always done them, it's about whether they are effective, worth the time and money, and whether they are fulfilling the purpose of even having them.   Again, God isn't interested in our traditions and events as much as he's interested in us being good stewards of our time and His money and putting on events that are helping the church grow by reaching the lost or helping members grow.  If it works keep doing it, if not end it and do something new.
Every church has their own set of traditions, programs, events, and things they do in their local church and while some are great and continue to be a great ministry and effective for the kingdom, others have taken their toll and run their course and it's time to find another way to be effective and another method of reaching out and making disciples.   It may be time to start new traditions or find new or different ways to help the church grow.  As culture and the world changes we have to change our methods of doing things. Changing methods of how we do things isn't changing the message of Jesus Christ. The gospel message is always the same, but we have to find different methods to share that message with different people at different times.
I think we all can agree that what I liked as a child was different than what my parents or grandparents liked as a child.  I think we can all agree that we all have difference preference on the types of music we like, the type of sports teams we like, and the types of clothing styles we like.   And the truth is there is no one right or wrong, it's just what we prefer or fits our personality.  However, all the sudden we come to church and we start making our preferences gospel and the only way. Jesus is the only way, but there are many ways to reach the lost for Jesus and many ways for people to worship and serve Jesus.
I think the root of the problem is this,  Is it about your way or God's Way?  Do you fight, challenge, resist, push, or gripe if something is not the way you want it or like it not because your worried about offending God but because your worried about your own feelings, desires, wants, or preferences.  I think we are selfish when we try to hold our churches hostage with being "set in our ways" or always resisting any new or different changes.
We have to ask ourselves a very tough question, are we being selfish? Are we trying to get our way or are we trying to follow God's Way  Now, before we're quick to say our way is God's way, which many claim, think about it, if our way isn't working, making a difference, fulfilling the great commission, helping the church grow, reaching lost people or younger generations, then maybe we are being a little selfish or narrow-sighted.  I think this is an issue of the heart, because our heart should be like Jesus and Jesus wasn't selfish, narrow-minded, or one-sided. 
Jesus cared about people and gave us a model of being a servant, being unselfish, and sacrificing.. Do you think maybe we could make some sacrifices of our personal preferences for the greater good of the church?  I am a Pastor of a church and even as a Pastor, I do not get my way in all things(nor do I want my way in all things), we don't sing all the songs or styles of music I'd prefer, and we don't do some things I'd like to do and we do some things I'd like to do different, but it's not about me.   The church is God's not Jason's.  The church is the body of Christ and it's about building up Christ not me.  It's about doing things for God's will not my own, so naturally there are things that are better for God or better for the church overall that I may not prefer or would do different, but I sometimes have to set aside my wants, wishes, desires, and ego for the greater good of the kingdom.  Are you willing to do that?
After all, if the church never changes or does things different what happens? The church eventually dwindles and dies, they lose leaders, servants,  young people and families, and what is left is a bunch of elderly folks who eventually die off and the church closes. Even many churches may still have their door open today, but in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years? Many of them will be gone because they allowed a few people to dictate selfish ways and preferences and stopped being about the business of the kingdom and  refuse to change some things and now the church is dying a slow death.  Why? because people care more about their way than God's.
I want to challenge you no matter where you go to church, to be a positive part of that church.  Be open to the Spirit's leading, be open to change, be open to ideas and things that are bigger than you or you preferences.  Realize the church is bigger than you and the church must be about reaching the lost and making disciples or the church is nothing more than a religious social club of tradition. I want to encourage you to do your part to be a positive part of the kingdom in your local church. Help. Be supportive of the pastor and leadership.  Serve. Give. Lead. Come up with new ideas, methods, and ways of doing things to do things God's Way for God's will.   I'm not saying all old things or traditions are bad, if they are still working and effective keep doing them, but evaluate all you do on a regular basis and if what you are doing is not longer effective or working or productive than be willing to put your feelings aside and do what is best for the kingdom.
Sometimes we have to sacrifice our egos, our personal preferences, and feelings in order to do greater good and to see God's church grow, isn't that what its about to begin with? God's glory not our wants? God's will not ours? God's commission not our comfort zone.  So, always ask yourself this question is this about my way or is this God's way? Don't hold the church back. Don't run people off. Don't be selfish or self-focused.  Always keep in mind the church and Christianity is about Jesus not us, His way not ours.  Let's be about the Father's business and all we do be about His Kingdom.
Philippians 2:3a(NIV)
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.

No comments: