A recent study by The Barna Group, a California-based Christian research organization, found that about 13 million Americans whom the researchers identified as being born again were "unchurched ... not having attended a Christian church service, other than for a holiday ... at any time in the past six months."
In Gospel of Matthew was Jesus first use of “church” in Scripture. Jesus stated “on this rock I will build my church?” "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it (Matthew 16:15-18).
When Jesus says He will build His church on this rock, He is referring to Himself, the rock. Jesus Christ is the rock referenced throughout Scripture. When He makes this statement He is merely addressing Peter, Christ is not saying that He will build His church on Peter. The “church” is spiritual; it cannot be built on a man.
The first problem is the church houses of today have been built upon the ideas and organizational skill of man. If you look at most churches there is even a man’s name on the outside building. The majority of church house are 501 C 3 Non-profit which means also that they are under the auspices of the Federal Government and not Jesus Christ.
Click link below to See 501 C 3 church.....
501 C 3 Controls the church
501 C 3 Controls the church
In looking at Holy Scripture the “Church” as presented in Scripture is,
· The body of Christ
· All believers
· All believers, Gentile and Jewish
· All believers, of a town or city
· All believers, of a fellowship
· All believers, Old and New Testaments
· All believers, male and female
· The household of God
· The Bride of Christ
2. The church as presented in our culture is,
· That church building on the corner.
There are over tens upon tens of thousands of church houses in my town which has a population of 1,445,806.
· That Christian denomination.
Barna, cited a figure of 20,780 denominations in 1980 and projected that there would be as many as 22,190 by 1985.
Compare these two meanings for the church.
1. The first is spiritual: made up exclusively of true believers in Jesus Christ, members and leaders.
2. The second is secular: local, national and international organizations with unbelievers and believers, members and leaders.
In an effort to make clear distinctions between the secular church and God's spiritual Church, I will differentiate my references to them by capitalizing Church, for the spiritual Body of Christ.
For example: There is still a remnant of the Church in the local Baptist church on Broadway.
The problem within the church house today
In my new book A Declaration To The Spiritual Soldier I identified several problems with the church house especially in America today.
(Beginning of A Declaration to the Spiritual Soldier quote)
In the last 1900 years we have seen the church degrade into apathy and apostasy. Even through the reformation of old, there remain vestiges of carnal appendages which have stretched their tentacles into the modern day church causing a passive, placating, and politically correct spirit. Many are deceived into thinking that being IN Christ is an automatic result of believing in Christ.
There are two different principles on the path to Maturity in Jesus Christ. For example, in western society most will tell you they believe in Christ. They can tell you which church house they go to, quote certain scriptures, and even pay their tithes on time, but ask them God’s purpose for their lives, or what are they doing for God’s Kingdom, and they draw a blank. Ask them what it means to be IN Christ, and they will tell of believing on Christ.
To look for indicators in this lack of maturity, one could simply look at the dramatic decline of the church population in the past 30 years, or the staggering statistics regarding divorce amongst church going Christians in this day and age. There is also the active and practiced engagement of homosexual and sexual misconduct, including pornography, adultery, and fornication. These are but mere precursors to a host of debacles which the church suffers to persist in its Holy Sanctuary today.
These ailments show a maladaptive behavior in the church of Jesus the Christ, not conducive to what Christ had in mind when He first built His Church.
At first glance, the church today appears to be at a zenith in purpose. In any city in America, on any street corner whether urban, rural, or a suburban location, you can usually see a building with a cross or some Christian insignia indicating a place of worship. But upon careful observation, this is where all continuity ends. The worship of Jesus Christ has taken on a circus like atmosphere.
The main purpose is designed to not help bring about true conversion, but to say the right words to get the pews filled on a week to week basis. This equates to a consumer mentality.
The reason for this is clear. The world has changed and most pastors struggle to keep up with it. If they have a loyal following, they feel it necessary to teach according to the dictates of that crowd and not offend. If they don’t have a loyal following, then they understand the dynamics of trying to reach people who were raised without a God consciousness, people under 30 who don’t know God or the church at all. These pastors understand that we live in a pagan society meaning people don’t believe in Jesus, Jehovah, or the Holy Spirit.
Ask any member of a church organization today why they go to church, and what they believe is the function of the church. You will receive just as many answers as the people you asked. There are those who look faithful, but only use the church as a social function. Many times these men and women are placed in leadership position because they are often times more than twice a week attendees.
Then there are the serious men and women who may not attend Church but once a week. They may be teaching Bible lessons at home or volunteering their time in services to the LORD in some other way as directed by the Holy Spirit. There are those who may not even attend traditional church service as you know it at all. I personally know hundreds of people who operate in this manner, and they are just as, if not more, successful in reaching out to the lost.
There is also the problem with scandals which have rocked the church leaders in the last 20 years. Because of the shifts and changes in the world, pastors, men and women, are not entering the ministry as before, and those who do, face a host of problems and issues that would make any CEO executive balk. Even so, it appears that the power of God is not as evident as a string of high profile divorces, and moral failing have weakened the public’s view of the church.
There are many other factors of course which show the necessity for NewVival in the church today. There is of course the catastrophic decline of church members in the past from ministries which once flourished to now average traditional denominations being in crisis.
(End of A Declaration to the Spiritual Soldier Quote)
The first step in reversing this crisis is to listen to the call of Christ. His Word of grace calls us to obedience, to follow Him unconditionally with a faith-formed trust in His leadership. We trust the word spoken to His disciples before He ascended into heaven when He promised “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
It’s time to repent, get honest and take a look at the spiritual character that is lacking within us all and take a stand to allow God to move within us.
I have listed 3 principles which should propel us into a dynamic new area for Christ Church.
Hebrews 5:11-14 (NLT) "There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don't seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others.
Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God's word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn't know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong".
As believers, we are expected to grow like a child does. When you are young in your faith, God only expects for you to get the "milk"; there's more room to make mistakes because you're growing, learning, just like a child does. Verse 14 tells us that as we grow in life and in Christ, we have developed the "skills to recognize the difference between right and wrong" as a result of "maturing".
If you can say that you've been a believer for x-amount of years and you're still making the same mistakes, you haven't grown as you should. Just imagine if my 13-year-old Son was still wearing diapers and eating jars of Gerber: wouldn't that seem strange? How much more, then, should we grow year to year in our walk with Christ? (1 Peter 2:2, 1 Corinthians 3:2-3 supports this)
In recent months, many Christian leaders have found themselves in hot water when the lives they lead behind closed doors suddenly were exposed to the public. From Eddie Long to Pastor Zachery Timms and many other leaders in the Body of Christ, this year has been a year of exposing -- that age old adage "what's done in the dark will always come to light" has reigned true for many in recent months. Some would argue that we are all imperfect, just fleshly beings that can't be regarded so highly that those who follow these leaders should fall and stumble because of their imperfections.
I beg to differ!!!
The bible tells us that leaders in the church are held to a higher standard – 1st and 2nd Timothy both explore the expectations of church leaders (I Timothy 3:11) noting that their failure to be in right standing with God can have a greater impact beyond their own personal lives.
We have a responsibility to people. Yes, we are imperfect, but the charge to live upright even when you think no one is watching is clearly stated in the Word.
Ephesians 5:10-14 (NLT) says: Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible."
We have a responsibility not only to God, but to the people we lead. If for any reason we are found to be living a life of perpetual sin behind closed doors, we have the responsibility to shine light for the sake of repentance, not ridicule and judgment.
In Revelation 3:19 (NLT), it reads, “I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference”.
The great and most important part about reproof and reprimand is that it should evoke a spirit of love and repentance to God and a sense of responsibility to the people to make things "right" with them. We (the body) are charged in James 5:19-20 to love people back into the fold (which would require us to acknowledge the wrong publicly, right?) and guide them back to their original standing in God.
We are even told to "confess ours sins to one another" so we may be able to address our issues and be made whole. How else do we do that lest we publicly confess them?
At the same time, leaders (and yes, even us regular folk) are supposed to set themselves apart -- be different from the world -- in order to be used by God. No amount of talent, gifting, or anointing can replace the power of obedience and holiness.
In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work. (2 Timothy 2:20-21)
What sin does is make it harder for us to be used by God. Had I never had a child out of wedlock, it would have been easier for me to navigate my purpose; certain hurdles I wouldn't have had to overcome had I been obedient to what I knew to be true. Thank God for grace, mercy, and second chances.
What does God want?
God is very concerned about winning souls -- and will win them at any cost. He will use the broken, beat up, and damaged to reach people to bring them into the kingdom. He will use singers, ministers, bishops, pastors, clerks; stay at home moms, firemen, bankers, anyone who is willing to use their life as a testimony to win souls.
He is also excessively concerned about our personal lives and wants to see us do and be better. He expects for us to grow and change in Christ every day. He will always deal with our personal lives privately before allowing our sins to consume us and embarrass us publicly.
Even then, He will use people to draw us back unto Him in order to get ourselves right and be more effective than we were before -- but we must be willing to grow, take responsibility, and be obedient to his direction.