Sunday, February 05, 2006

When the Church Becomes Like the World

Over the past several months I have visited a small Baptist church here in Columbia and the contrast between it and the program-driven churches in our area is amazing. First, there is no band or expensive sound system in this little church. Secondly, there is an air of reverence that seems to missing from many churches today. Also, people do not appear to be dressed like they are going to the beach or the mall in this little church. In this little congregation of 20 or so they sing the old hymns of the faith and the central focus of the worship service is the preaching of the Word. The preaching in this little church is not centered on "felt needs" nor is it designed to make the worshippers feel good about themselves. The pastor is young and most in the congregation are 40+ in age.

By the world's standards this church is a failure, and since most of our churches view matters through the lens of the world, they would view this church as a failure as well. They would be the first to offer pragmatic advice to ensure that this church does not die. "Bring in a band to attract the young people in the area. Emphasize fun and a casual approach to worship without making it sound like entertainment. Get rid of the hymnals and appease the traditionals with a few hymns played in an upbeat tempo by the band. Make the youth group exciting by taking them to concerts and not focusing on spiritual growth."

This advice should be appalling to bible-believing Christians, but sadly many Christians no longer trust God to grow His church His way. This little congregation of 20, like small churches that dot our landscape, are being faithful to the One that called them into fellowship. Let us all pray that they will continue to trust in Him and His ways and not succumb to the daily pressure coming from "worldly" Christians.


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