Prayer zone for a better, empowering, inspiring, promoting, prospering, progressing and more successful life through Christ Jesus

Posts tagged ‘Association of Baptist Churches in Ireland’

Are Church Leaders Responsible for Church Members?.


Church service

(Lightstock)

Several times, the apostle Paul wrote about the church as the “body of Christ” (Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 4:12; Col. 1:24). While this image is only one of dozens of images of the church in the New Testament, it is a most helpful one.

Thinking and applying this image properly should lead us to consider several implications for the church and church leadership:

1. The church is God’s, not ours. This point is clear in 1 Corinthians 12. Everyone in the church is empowered by the same Spirit (vv. 6, 11). We were all baptized into God’s body through the Spirit (v. 13). God arranges all of us in the body as He chooses (v. 18). He appoints leaders in the body (v. 28), and He can do so as He desires because the body is His body. This simple truth reminds us that while we may be the leaders, the story is not about us. God can, and will, raise up other leaders if we decide the church is ours.

2. We really are family. The body of Christ is genuinely family, even if we do not share a physical lineage. All of us hurt when one of us hurts; all rejoice when one rejoices (vv. 25-26). God somehow takes people who previously worshipped mute idols (vv. 2-3) and makes them part of His body. We then share the love so beautifully described in 1 Corinthians 13.

3. Every member matters. The body is made up of many members, but all of the members form one body (vv. 12-13). In fact, God gives spiritual gifts to each member of the body (vv. 4-11), and the body needs all the gifts. No person is insignificant in God’s eyes. That means I must love even the church member who seemingly can give little in return.

4. The seemingly less significant need more attention, not less. It’s easy to focus on only those members who are equipped, ready and willing. Those less ready to serve require time and energy. On the other hand, Paul said that God gives attention needed to the “less presentable” so they fit well in the body. We must do the same. Sometimes the “less presentable” are that way because no one has given them time.

5. We must be comfortable with diversity. If everyone were an ear, there would be no body (vv. 17-19). We need ears, eyes, noses and arms to be a body. Let’s be honest, though: If I’m an ear, I’m more comfortable hanging out with others who are also ears. That kind of thinking only hinders the body.

6. Every member has a role in the body. He may be an eye, or she may be an ear—but each one has a purpose. This truth has huge ramifications for the church. Not only must we assume that each member has a purpose, but we must also help these members find their place in the body.

7. We learn to serve within the body. We have different gifts, but the same God grants these gifts (v. 4-11). By implication, we help one another recognize these gifts as we serve—that is, we do something—in the context of His body. The ear serves, others recognize and affirm his abilities and gifts, and he begins to see how he fits in the body. Hence, we must have in place a means to help people serve in entry-level positions. We must help them discover their giftedness.

These next two implications, I suspect, will raise some questions. I separate them here to encourage you to give them some extra thought.

8. We are responsible for uninvolved church members. I hear it all the time: “My church members just won’t serve. They just won’t get busy.” Here’s my response to that thought: If church members come to our churches and “only sit,” they do so because we allow them to do so. They do so because we have not done our job as leaders to help them find their place of service and then hold them accountable.

9. We are responsible for overworked church members. We love the members who are committed to serving anywhere, anytime, doing anything. We appreciate the person who is willing to be an ear, an eye, a hand, a leg and a nose—perhaps all in the same week. Here’s the problem, however: God does not intend for one church member to play all the roles. Our members get overworked, too, because we fail to lead our church to understand and live out New Testament “body life.”

Perhaps I’m overstating my case, but I don’t think so. Let me know your thoughts.

Written by Chuck Lawless

Chuck Lawless serves as professor of evangelism and missions and as dean of graduate studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on both Twitter and Facebook.

For the original article, visit thomrainer.com.

Advertisements

How Avoidance of Church Discipline Is Like Doctor Shopping.


How Avoidance of Church Discipline Is Like Doctor Shopping

Law enforcement officials use the term “doctor shopping” to refer to the way those addicted to prescription pain medications seek to avert accountability. If you go to your doctor to ask for Vicodin, and your physician refuses to prescribe it, you are doctor shopping if you then seek out multiple doctors until you find the one who will prescribe the Vicodin. Sometimes an addict will have multiple doctors going at once, all prescribing different medicines, often those that are dangerous to mix. I’ve noticed the same thing going on when it comes to church accountability.

The truth is, there’s a certain type of personality that doesn’t want accountability, but affirmation. If one wants to divorce someone one shouldn’t divorce or marry someone one shouldn’t marry or do something one shouldn’t do, he seeks out a pastor’s “accountability.” When the pastor tells him the opposite of what he wants to hear, he leaves and goes to find a pastor or counselor who will. And this goes on and on.

This isn’t being shepherded. It’s the same old autonomy of the self, that first manifests itself in the life-cycle of a child saying, “But Dad said it was okay…” except now grown up into something with a far more malevolent motive and a far more dangerous outcome.

Sadly, there are too many ministers of the gospel out there willing to empower this sort of behavior. If you have a church member who has been warned or disciplined by another pastor or church, you have a responsibility to investigate what’s going on. True, it might be that the old church spoke where there is no authority to speak, disciplining a parent for not homeschooling, for example. But, even then, if you will give an answer for the soul of this person, you bear the responsibility to find out what exactly is going on.

If you’re the kind of minister who refuses to acknowledge the discipline or accountability structures of other churches, you might simply be more enlightened than those churches and leaders. Or you might not know what you’re dealing with. And you just might be fighting against a word spoken by Jesus himself, handing over an unrepentant soul to Satan, with the hopes of ultimate repentance (1 Cor. 5:4-5).

Your affirmation of an unrepentant and fugitive-from-discipline church member isn’t an act of love or mercy. It’s an act of hatred. You are empowering the unrepentant to “bear the name brother” or sister (1 Cor. 5:11), to assuage a conscience that should be convicted by the Spirit. If so, you’d be better off just prescribing an addict another round of Percocet.

By Russell Moore, Moore to the Point

Russell Moore is Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and executive director of the Carl F. H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement. Dr. Moore has authored and contributed to several books, including: Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ, The Kingdom of Christ: The New Evangelical Perspective, and Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches. He blogs at www.russellmoore.com, and you can follow him on Twitter@DrMoore.

SBC Condemns Church’s Refusal to Marry Black Couple.


Baptist church

The Mississippi Baptist Convention is condemning one of its churches for refusing to marry a black couple.

Stan Weatherford, pastor of First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, informed Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson that some members opposed holding the wedding at First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs.

The couple, who are regular attenders, say they got the bad news just days before their wedding.

“The congregation had said because we were black that there would be no black wedding at the church,” Charles Wilson said.

He said it was tough to explain the situation to his daughter.

“My 9-year-old was going to the church with us and how would you sit around here and say to your 9-year-old daughter, ‘We cannot get married because, guess what, sweetie, we’re black!'” he said.

Pastor Weatherford performed the July 21 ceremony at another church in the area.

“I didn’t want to have a controversy within the church,” he explained. “And I didn’t want a controversy to affect the wedding of Charles and Te’Andrea. I wanted to make sure that their wedding day was a special day.”

Meanwhile, Mississippi Baptist Convention executive director Jim Futral called the church’s decision a “sad thing.”

“It’s not reflective of the Spirit of the Lord and Mississippi Baptists,” Futral said. “It’s just a step backward … it’s a sad thing.”

Some church members say they oppose the decision. Church member Casey Kitchens said she and others are outraged. She said most of the congregation knew nothing about the decision to cancel the Wilson wedding.

“This is a small, small group of people who made a terrible decision,” she told The Clarion-Ledger. “I’m just ashamed right now that my church would do that. I can’t fathom why. How unfair. How unjust. It’s just wrong.”

WLBT-TV is reporting that church officials now say they welcome any race and will hold internal meetings on how to move forward.

The Wilsons said they are speaking with attorneys.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

By Heather Sells/CBN News

Tag Cloud