First, an admission. I am a skeptic. I am one who questions the “Status Quo” in every arena of life. For example, when I receive a forwarded email that makes some claim that doesn’t ring true in my mind, I at once try to find out if my intuition is correct. (It usually is.)
Just because “this is how we have always done it..” does not equate to being right or best. I question public policy, and even contemporary Christianity. I think it is very healthy to read the label before you ingest some substance into your body. And, I think it is profitable to follow the same logic about what you allow into your mind. So, I have questions…
Does it bother anyone but me that not one of the people we read about in the book of Acts would qualify to be a minister in almost all of our churches?
This week I read a want ad from a church seeking a youth minister. One of the first requirements was “a minimum of 5 years experience”. Peter wouldn’t qualify, he only had about 3 years experience in ministry when he preached the powerful sermon where 3,000 were saved. Paul would’t qualify, he had no ministry experience when he began his ministry to the Gentiles.
Most all churches now require a degree from some Bible related school. Paul had about 3 years alone with God. He was schooled in Judaism but wouldn’t qualify on educational grounds. Even Jesus himself wouldn’t pass muster.
Maybe it would be beneficial if we would spend some time thinking about how and why we got so far off track. Could it be that culture has crept into our churches so that we are operating more like business than like a living organism that is solely dependent upon God to exist and function in the world?
Could it be that the reason numbers are shrinking in most evangelical groups is that Jesus is no longer the central message?
Read the book of Acts sometime and you will see a noticeable difference in the message of those early preachers and what comes out of most pulpits today. I am certain that multiplied thousands of regular church goers have never once heard their preacher give a clear presentation of the gospel.
Several months ago I read about a dozen sermons by a fellow whose self description was “Gospel preacher”. Amazingly, not once did this guy explain the gospel. He made reference to the word “gospel” several times but oddly failed to preach the gospel. How can you logically give an invitation to people to become Christians if they haven’t a clue about the gospel?
We would do well to get back to preaching Christ and the good news about what He accomplished for sinners.
Can “Ministry” become an idol?
Think long and hard before you answer. Only each individual can answer from him or her self. I answered the question and was not pleased with the answer… Granted, my feeble ministry pales in comparison to many who will read this post. But, what we do have in common is an ego that keeps fighting for the front of the line. The praise of men too often takes the place the glory of God should occupy in our “ministry”.
Do I first seek God’s approval for what I do? Do you? Or, do I want to hear words of praise from others? Our honesty, or lack of it, about such matters is a measure of who we really are.
Oh that all of our teaching and preaching and ministry models and community activism and charity give Christ glory and honor! If when at the end of the day Jesus is the center of attention, and not us, we will have succeeded.
Manage your ministry well, don’t allow it to manage you.
Dare to be different
Tens of thousands of ministers and other Christians are running about clamoring for attention, rushing to this conference and that one, looking for something new and exciting. We believers are fascinated by new books sometimes at the sacrifice of the Old Book.
Surrender to Jesus is not glamorous. Holiness will not get you invitations to a lot of parties. And, being Christ centered at all costs will not pay off by the world’s standards.
He must increase and I must decrease. His strength is made perfect in my weakness. Only in my brokenness is His wholeness on display to a watching world.