Posts Tagged ‘denominations’

Organic or Steroids – What does your church sell?

December 12, 2008

Usher: Hey Deak, brilliant post here – couldn’t help but tout it! Since we had such a good conversation because of it:

http://kingdomgrace.wordpress.com/2008/12/03/disciples-or-converts/

and Mark’s post shows it affected him with a slight twist (of lemon) hehe

http://mark-bymaswell.blogspot.com/2008/12/would-you-like-some-cracked-pepper-sir.html

Conversation that ensued after reading these:

Usher: Hey Deak, I’m not sure I take issue or not regarding the comment on “birds and imprinting”, but no bother.  I just wanted to bring out the point of how foreign “organic” mindsets are in today’s human western culture.  Is it any wonder that the church is so much a reflection of the supermarket?

 

Deacon: Go on, I’m listening.

 

Usher: There’s no place for “ugly carrots” in the produce section of today’s markets.  God forbid an ugly apple, pear, banana, mango, off color head of broccoli or anything else for that matter.  The first inclination to choose is that which is pretty and uniform and without blemish.  Taste, longevity and danger are all secondary.

 

Deacon: What brought all this on?

 

Usher: Most likely TV and the press I guess.  Ugly people don’t make it onto TV so the world strives to be thin and pretty and perfect, just like the stars and their air-brushed magazine covers.

 

Deacon: Your point?

 

Usher:  Churches have followed suit.  They’re full of “gifted” orators, professional musicians, accomplished businessmen on the committees and so on.  Entertainment and accommodation are the criteria the humans migrate to.  In the meantime, the “leaders” have to have ways to measure.  They migrate to numbers.  Numbers can be substantiated and boasted about.  The laypeople want pretty programs, shows and great music along with gifted sermonettes.  The pastors want accolades, money to add staff to share in the work and build job security as well as grow their careers.

 

Deacon: So where is discipleship in all that?

 

Usher: My  point exactly! 

 

Deacon: Can discipleship function in today’s church in the midst of all the other stuff?

 

Usher: Not if leaders are bent on measuring their success.  This is where the problem starts.  If you take away the programs (you lose the crowds).  Take away the great orators (you lose the crowds).  Take away the money (you lose the crowds and the buildings).  Take away the professional musicians (you lose the crowds).  Take away the money (you lose the career-oriented staff) and voila!  Now you haven’t the distractions, nor the expectations, nor the crowds. 

 

Deacon: So you’re saying that crowds = success?

 

Usher That’s kind of what it all boils down to.  Ask the televangelists.  Crowds equal numbers, numbers equals money, money equals success and thus, God must be in it.

 

Deacon: So if there are no crowds, then there is no money, how does the church grow?

 

Usher: Christ had only 12 disciples.  He didn’t say things to the crowds to attract them or their money, in fact the largest crowds he attracted, he fed.  And then he said tough things to the crowds and the crowds left and he went about his discipling.  Scriptures say he wasn’t a “special” or “beautiful” person.  Maybe this was because he knew if he came to earth a beautiful being, then we would all feel insecure because we are all imperfect when we compare ourselves to “beautiful” people.  (Even beautiful people have proven this is true.) He discipled imperfect people and the church survived all these years without “perfect” people.

 

Deacon: So this is why the church seems to be portraying itself to be the “perfect” or “blessed” one?

 

Usher: A discipler works with the ground that he’s on, with the people God gives him.  He sees everyone a precious gift from God.  He is challenged to bring out God in these people no matter their lot in life.  Every member has a place in God’s kingdom, but not in man’s.  Today’s church seems to “market to the people who want to be like us” creating sects and divisions and exclusivity.  Thus the 35,000 denominations.  In an environment like this, everyone strives to become like the leader, the perfect carrot if you will.  Except they don’t know he is just like them if you take away the steroids, the pesticides, the pretty packaging and the artificial coloring.  In essence, the church normalizes and cripples the body and discipleship empowers the body.  If pastors didn’t care about credit and measurement and they truly wanted the kingdom to prevail, they’d do all within their ability to empower the kingdom.  This would eliminate the focus of one pastor to many and bring on the every man a minister.  The church would then become the all-powerful organic vehicle it was in the first century.  A true discipler as mentioned in comments above operates under the radar.  They seek no glory.  They thrive on seeing the kingdom multiply itself.  They rarely take titles, they urge their disciples to follow in their footsteps and become disciplers. They are often unrecognizable in a crowd.

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Denominational Reviews

November 2, 2008

Usher: Deak, what if people did reviews on the Internet after they “shopped” churches? 

Deacon: I don’t know – what would that do?

Usher: Well, first of all, you could find out what they were really like as the names don’t mean a thing to people today.

Deacon:  Sort of like churches would be actually described in the reviews by their true behavior – what would they really be called?

Usher: That’s really interesting.  I wrote a couple below that relate to churches I’ve been to or belonged to:

The church with the free bagels and coffee (during service in case the sermon sucks)

The Church of Bad Coffee (the urns must be from the 60’s)

The Church with the Wal Mart greeters – better yet how about Wal Mart West? (I belonged to a church where the town actually nicknamed the church Wal Mart because of all the stuff they had to do to get permitting to build it)

The Church of the insecure pastor – the sermons have 6 clarifying stories or scenarios for each point made

The Up & Down Church (from standing up and down so many times)

The Church of the old pews (where you’re afraid to sit down for fear they’ll break)

The Assisted Living Church (No one under 50 ever seemed to come)

The Church of the blue hairs (this one was about 30 people and they were living on an annuity – no reason to evangelize in today’s society because they had nothing to offer to families and there were no kids in the church)

The Church of the intinerant parking attendants (I swear they never step inside – this particular church was in the northeast and had two huge parking lots and about 20 attendants every Sunday)

The Church that wouldn’t change it’s sign out front (ever see a sign that has those replaceable letters but they’re too lazy to change it from week to week?)

The Church of my grandfather (and still is)

The Church of the pretty windows and empty seats (this is a problem worldwide where people are trying to preserve the buildings – to heck with the furthering of the gospel)

The Church with the smelly hymnals (because the one’s in the pews where we sat hadn’t been opened in years)

The Church of the Windy Pastor (sermons went on and on – everyone has been to or belonged to one of these if they’ve been a christian for any amount of time)

MCMass (church with masses every hour and drive-up confession)

The Weaker Seeker Church – you know the type – 40 minute services with 20 minutes of rock and roll worship

The Church of the Suburb Soccer Moms – where fellowship is about kid’s sports, decorating the homestead and braggin’ about the new SUV they just got!

The Church of the Pastor’s Friends – the church that has the perfect pastor and the perfect deacons (that no one knows except from the pastor’s sermons or their lengthy prayers) and no one knows where the pastor goes or what he does outside Sunday services.  Interestingly enough, they’re great at referrals and aloof when it comes to anyone outside their immediate circle.

Usher: Maybe some of our friends can share about the real impressions of the churches they’ve been to or belonged to…..