Biblically Rethinking the Church
Have you ever asked, "Why do we do what we do?" Does the Bible tell us what to do and how to do it?
One reason for struggles and division in the Church is that believers are not united in their understanding of biblical teaching concerning ministry - why we do what we do.
Most of us would agree that there appears to be some dissatisfaction, discontent, and even discouragement with the Church today. Believers go from church to church trying to find one with which they are more comfortable. Christian leaders try to find better methods and programs to "meet the needs" of believers and attract unbelievers. Expectations of both believers in the pew and leaders are often unrealistic. These unsettling concerns fill us with many questions that beg answers. Interestingly, the Church at large today has more money, members, and activities than ever before, and yet, is spiritually accomplishing less than ever before. Why?
How do we view the Church today? Do we view the Church as God sees it? Most of us would say that we believe we do. The following questions are asked to stimulate and encourage you to reconsider/re-evaluate your thinking about the Church.
- Do believers today really understand the essence of the Church (what it is)? Do they understand the biblical purpose of the Church (why it exists)? Do they describe the Church with terms that relate to property, programs, or personnel? Is the Church an institution, or is the Church an organization... or could it be something else?
- Do the leaders function more as a board of directors than a group of shepherds? Do they spend most of their time dealing with buildings and budgets rather than interacting and ministering to the average person in the pew? Who is supposed to direct the activities and direction of the Church? How does the headship and preeminence of Christ manifest itself in the practical life of the Body of Christ -- the Church? Would the Church still be considered "a church" if it did not have "a pastor"?
- If believers are the Church, then how do they go to church? If they gather as the Church for edification, then why do many/most worship services today seek to please the unbeliever (seeker)? How is the Church to fellowship together? Does the way we "do" church encourage or inhibit the expression of spiritual gifts?
- Is status, or one's level of importance, in the Church described on the basis of organizational performance? Is there a tendency to think of a "good Christian" as one who attends all church services, teaches, serves on the board, etc.?
- Are leaders overburdened with "ministry" responsibilities because they are paid and, therefore, expected to do the entire ministry? Do the weekly meetings resemble performance-oriented spectator events (centered on one or only a few) rather than a gathering of believers for worship and mutual edification? Is there an attitude that "bigger is better?" Is success measured by size? How big does a church have to be to be a church?
- Are people in the Church today truly finding spiritual fulfillment or just emotional pick-me-ups (religious feelings) that keep them dependent on regular attendance? Do their hearts yearn to know Truth so they can obediently apply it to their lives?
- What was Church life like in the first century? Would knowing the answer to that question make a difference to us today? Is first-century Church experience relevant to us today? The first-century Church had a heart for God and His program in the world. Does the Church today reflect God's mission and heart? Or are we just like any other organization vying for the attention, involvement, and financial support of our communities in order to keep our doors open?
Why is it important to consider these things? Because how we think church is how we do church!
Are you interested in exploring the answers to the above questions? Would you like to know how to develop a clear biblical understanding of ministry - why do we do what we do? Continue on to the following information to learn about a series of studies called Biblically Rethinking the Church.
The purpose of this course is to help you clarify your understanding of ministry - why do you do what you do?
One reason for struggles and division in the Church is that believers are not united in their understanding of biblical teaching concerning ministry. This course is designed to help believers to "be of the same mind" by developing a clear and united biblical understanding of ministry.
The Church will not change until the perceptions and values of the Church members have changed. Our goal is to facilitate change by building biblical consensus. This is accomplished by involving believers in a process of developing a biblical philosophy of ministry. This allows those involved to have ownership of biblical truths and principles which establish convictions. Convictions will in turn produce motivation for change.
Our method is to effect biblical change by transforming the heart rather than imposing external programs. The course seeks to accomplish this by guiding students in asking "What scriptural support is there for...." The approach is a mentoring/discipling model to nurture the student through the process.
The following are some sample questions to give you an idea of how we approach our study:
What scriptural support is there...
... that believers are the Church?
... that the Church is an organism?
... that Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church?
... that the "Lord's Supper" is a ceremonial or ritual designation?
... that New Testament believers are required to tithe?
... that there should be more emphasis on spiritual growth than numerical growth?
You are encouraged to download the material Developing a Biblical Philosophy of Ministry in the Resource Page for additional information on this subject.
Session Plan and Schedule
CLICK HERE to view the Session Plan and Schedule
Most likely, the subject matter in this material will challenge your understanding and practice of the Church. For this reason, we have developed this material to be taught in an informal mentoring relationship (in person or by phone/Skype). Rather than providing the complete set of material at the outset, each lesson is studied and discussed before the next lesson is provided.
For our definition, a mentor is a facilitator/teacher who guides you in your study of Scripture through informal discussion, asking questions, and building a biblical consensus.
Things We Expect of You
Here are some requirements we have established for those who desired to take this course.
- You have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as your Savior.
- You are diligently growing in that relationship daily.
- You desire to actively study the Scriptures.
- You recognize your need for personal interaction in your study.
- You will commit yourself to a weekly time (about one hour) of interaction with
your mentor and allow about six months to complete the course.
- You will complete the assignments and the entire study in the order outlined.
- You are willing to either meet with your mentor at a location convenient to him
and/or initiate the pre-arranged phone calls.
- You have a desire to be a mentor in the things you have learned.
- You will not share or teach the materials until completing the course.
Your participation is not guaranteed, but will be considered based on such criteria as scheduling and the availability of the mentor.
Please Indicate Your Interest
Complete this form if you are interest in working
through the Biblically Rethinking the Church material.