Having worked in vocational ministry for the last seven years, I'm constantly perplexed by the lack of investment and involvement in church by those who attend and consider themselves followers of Jesus. I'm wondering if my expectations are wrong or if we've done a poor job communicating with people in the church what the biblical and practical expectations of them are.
Please expand on that and give us some examples of investment and involvement that are lacking?
The first example that comes to mind is (and not meaning to open a can of wors here) financial investment. Over and over we find that approximately only 20% of people in the church are giving...
Let me be clear...I'm not supporting churches where the pastoral staff is way overpaid, lives in million dollar homes, and lacks any financial accountability. I'm speaking more of churches who have shown that they are about seeing people learn who Jesus and disciple them. I guess, if someone is regularly attending a church and refers to themselves as a follower of Jesus, I would expect that they consider themselves on board with the mission of the church. If that's true, I would expect them to be contributing to that mission but the VAST majority of Christians do not. (Again, I'm not supportive of churches that just want more money but am fully supportive of giving to churches who are reaching those far from Jesus and discipling those who follow).
There is also an extremely practical side to giving to your local church...when you're there, the lights are one, the heat is on, you use the bathroom, drink the coffee, and eat the donuts...if someone is a follower of Jesus, I'd think they would understand the need to also contribute to cover the cost of these things. (I hope none of that sounds harsh - I do not mean it to.)
That's one example....others might include, being in small groups, mentoring younger younger Christians, etc.
I'm not saying people should be giving up everyday of the week...not even close. But I do wonder why some people who consider themselves followers of Jesus are content to simply show up to a service and leave.
Maybe, people shouldn't be giving money to the churches at all?
Maybe, we can learn about Jesus on our own and don't need to be discipled especially when there are tens of thousand of Christian denominations with their own way of discipling. Obviously, they can't all be right so it would stand to reason that you yourself could be wrong, too.
As opposed to just following the teachings of Jesus?
But, isn't that what you're talking about, that you and your church want more money? How much money is enough for churches when they continuously ask for more?
That's odd, there are bazillions of donut/coffee shops littering the landscape where we could do all of those things and we won't get discipled.
Why not just hold meetings at donut/coffee shops instead?
Uh, yeah... mentoring.
Are they under any other obligations to not just show up and leave? Is there a cover charge to get in or a check to pay when they leave?
Unfortunately, churches are businesses and have to run like a business even though they don't pay taxes, which is a HUGE benefit for them to survive. I really don't think you're in any position to complain about revenues for your church when you don't have to worry about giving one third of it to the government.
Since it is a business, it would behoove you to begin thinking about it as such instead of sitting there waiting for handouts. In other words, you better start getting real good at fund raising. And, don't think for a second that is going to be an easy thing in these economical times when many good folks are losing their jobs and their homes.
In fact, you insult those who have. Perhaps, some of those folks you indignantly dismiss out of hand for showing up and leaving could very well be those who are in financial distress themselves.
Think about it, pal. Get off your butt and do something constructive for a change. Bathrooms , donuts and coffee are not it.
Hope this helps.
DeadChurchRising: The answer to your question depends on your definition of "CHURCH". The true "CHURCH" the church as Jesus Christ saw it never was a building, but, referred to the people. That's why Jesus said he could destroy the temple and then rebuild it in three days.
I think it's a cultural thing. People feel no connection to the church because there is no personalization, usually.
I think that there are a core group of people within the attendees at any church that make up that local body. They understand that the pastor is their spiritual head with authority over them. They understand the signifigance of their position and just as a body has different parts so does the church body and so different people functin in each aspect.
People come and go but the body is evident and work together effortlessly.....usually
I don't know the exact responsibilities you expect them to engage in, but I suggest that you try to organize different activities and events. I moved to a new town when I was young and my family decided we needed to attend a local church to make friends and engage in the community.
My mother became the leader of a women's group that met weekly and my father started a men's group that met at the beach for fellowship. These groups created a solidarity within the church, which allowed them to feel more of a connection and engage themselves in activities like pot lucks and fundraisers.
By creating groups and events, you can encourage fellowship and solidarity.
I think your expectations are wrong; not everyone thinks the same way as you.
I was Church treasurer for three years having been cajoled and pressurised into doing it on the back of an assumed interpretation of a dodgy prophecy spoken over me. The job consumed far too much of my time, prevented me from spending time with my wife and son, and I was obliged to be at every Church service and midweek meeting. When I told my pastor I didn't want to do it anymore, I was surrounded by shocked faces and a belief that I was reneging on some great prophecy that this was God's plan for me and the Church.
There are those who love Church and want their whole lives to revolve around it. Others like me would much rather invest themselves in family, hobbies, or relaxing via some pointless occupation that is much more fun and interesting than Church.
Sorry to hear about your experience being Church treasurer...that's no good.
I am a bit curious about your last paragraph though...but just to be clear...I'm not advocating that people be consumed by "doing church" if that simply consists of busy work and pointless activities. However, if the church is working hard to share Jesus with those who are far from him and disciple those who choose to follow...isn't that something that every Christians life should revolve around? Shouldn't that be a higher priority in life than "hobbies or relaxing via some pointless occupation"?
Really not trying to sound rude...just asking.
It seems that if Jesus really did die for our sins, if following Jesus is really the best thing ever, and if people really are going to Hell for eternity if they don't know Christ then it should be something that we spend a lot of our time investing into.
I know that sometimes people get overwhelmed volunteering at Church and no way should that time detract from the quality of family time but do think that as Christians we have a responsibility to support the mission of the Church.
There really is no need for Churches to be any more than simple house churches and that's the model the apostles left us with. A simple weekly gathering in a home or network of homes allows discipleship on an intimate level. Without a church building there is no mortgage or other bills to pay and no need for full time pastors. So the members are not weighed down with burdens of tithing. Jesus can be shared by people talking to their neighbours, family, and work colleagues, so there's no need to fund overblown "outreach" programmes.
I'm just not a believer in big church. It is not a model represented in the bible or apostolic church history.
God intended us to enjoy life, which may well involve hobbies or pointless but fun occupations. I think the church has sold us a distorted view of the gospel and laid upon its members a burden that all their friends and familly are going to hell unless they spend all their spare time in "increasing the kingdom" activities.
As to whether God tortures people in hell for all eternity, that's a whole other argument. It's not a feature of Judaism which being the 'mother' religion is conspicuous by its absence, but it was a common feature in Egyptian/Roman/Greek mythology. So just where did the church get its ideas of hell from?
The church is your body which houses the spirit.
Therefore each person is responsible to keep their house clean, healthy;
To cleanse it daily with the water of Eternal Life;
To offer it a living sacrifice;
To fill it will goods things -the things of Life;
To protect it from the thoughts of the thief (ha-satan), who would steal the joy of things in the holy of holies (the heart);
kill its spirit and destroy even the temple/body itself.
To summarise the answer, I recon it's much like being in a family.
Everyone is "related" to one another, so the responsibilities placed on individuals is that we work together to achieve a desired goal, or mission. In a family, it's life. One may work to produce income, one may run the household, one may maintain the building, another will raise the kids (not a sole person job) etc. Each persons talent and ability somehow adds to the overall task of living as a family.
Perhaps what you are articulating has more to do with human nature, wanting to be served, rather than communicating.
Those who want to be served are usually not well disposed to serve others. They may ace heard the message (communication of the needs) but don't care to carry any of the responsibility.
I remember, years ago, I was head of the children's ministry in a church of around 400 members. We were short of one "sunday school" teacher. I/we, presented the need to the congregation for (just) one teacher, who was only expected to help for 6months, and for the entire time I was leader, NOT ONE person came forth to offer.
I need up doing it myself, along with the other responsibilities I had. (Not a complaint, and I did it willingly).
What is a Christian's responsibility to the church he or she attends?
A truthful Christian should bring the Church out of its mythical and false creeds that were invented by Paul and try to follow the teachings and character of truthful Jesus.
Long time no see Paar! Still not happy with lying Paul and corrupt scribes though I see.
So as a Muslim, what do you think is a Muslim's responsibility to the local mosque? Does the Quran instruct Muslims to tithe to the Mosque? Do you also have mega-Mosques in the Islamic world with celebrity imams on rockstar salaries?
Jesus said: "Luke 12:34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also"
People put their money into things they agree with. If i want to sponsor a child in India i will send money there. If i really like my car i will buy stuff for it. So if church is not their treasure they will not give and therein is the heart of the matter.
People need to find a church that sings out to them, "home!" and the rest will follow. They will be attendant, they will give, they will support in all sorts of ways and be uplifting and joyous.
People need to treat their church like any other thing in their lives that they enjoy. They pick their jobs, houses, cars, hobbies all because they like those things. Church should also be "shopped around for".
Church is important. christians do a lot of growing in churches. They fellowship with other christians. Hear the word. Go home with stuff to ponder. chat with other christians.
1 Corinthians 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
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