In my last post I shared my burden for young men in ministry who are tempted to look outside the Bible for answers regarding local church philosophy. While there are many voices and many attractive models—the fact is, God still blesses the biblical model. It is vital that we exercise great discernment and wisdom in an age where so many are shouting for our attention. May nothing move us from employing Biblical methods and models as we plant and establish local churches.
We are examining three areas—local church polity (last post), local church passion, and local church purity (next post.)
Passion of the Local Church
The passion of a local church is “what a church does and why it matters”—for instance when and how often it meets for preaching and teaching. All around us there are seeker sensitive, mega-churches, whose contemporary Christian music and laid back style promotes a loss of passion and a very self-centered, casual Christianity. The message seems to say, “you can exert less energy and still have a great product.” Those who are looking to please the seekers or to please themselves (rather than the Saviour) will often accommodate the church’s schedule to their own whims.
My concern is not so much the frequency as it is the fervency of ministry. In other words, fervency will result in frequency! When you are fervently in love with your “soon to be wife,” you want to be with her as often as possible. The frequency of your time together is determined by your fervency for the relationship. When we are in love with the Lord and His local church, there is a desire to meet together more and more. In this Laodicean, self-centered ministry age, one of the indicators of the loss of passion is simply a lack of desire to gather around the Word of God. Those seeking to have less and less church in their weekly routines are simply not displaying a fervent love for Christ—and they are disobeying Hebrews 10:25.
The Bible is clear that we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together… and so much the more as we see the day approaching. I’m not talking about those who─for lack of facilities or practical reasons─cannot have the traditional Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night schedule. It’s not wise to be critical of someone for simply not having a familiar service schedule. I’m referring to those seeking to provide a more convenient church format by having less teaching, less preaching, and less gathering. This model simply isn’t found in the Bible.
There are many philosophies, authors and educational movements that are de-emphasizing the importance of local church and telling people that they can simply have church in their home or wherever they please. These unstructured gatherings lack biblical authority, often lack proper doctrine, and certainly lack the passion for soulwinning, missions, and Bible preaching. Often, these less passionate ministries emphasize teaching, but prefer not to hear passionate preaching. While teaching is vital, and the pastor is commanded to teach the Word, he is also─according to 2 Timothy─commanded to preach the Word. This is the biblical model, and godly Christians will gladly hear Bible-based messages.
Where are you when it comes to passion? Is you fervency for the Lord evident in your desire to teach and preach the Word—faithfully gathering with your church family? Or are you falling prey to the more casual, passionless models of the contemporary church? In these last days, we don’t need less and less church—we need more and more.