Things that ruin a Church: People

Things that ruin and make a church good as far as the people involved and their individual character influences on the church.

“People ” ruin a church? People make a church. Yes and yes. A church really has nothing to do with the building, money, resources, history, nor any other thing that people attribute to a great work of God. What makes or breaks a church is the people that make it up.

Good churches are people functioning in the Body of Christ. Ruined churches are businesses designed to look religious. There is a great difference between the two. When a body functions, especially a spiritual body, it rebounds and bends, is flexible according to the needs of the moment. A business has rules that are never broken. The bottom line of a business is profit, so what is the spiritual “bottom line” of your church? If it is glory, power, control, submission of the people, worldly success, etc. then the church is ruined. A body functions and serves, and at some point, grown ups reproduce. Is your church reproducing? Is it training its offspring to be adult and mature? That is the purpose of the church in capsule form.

Good churches are churches that have good leaders steering the group always into the will of God. Its relationships between its leaders, and between its leaders and members, and between the members is healthy, productive, and spiritual.

Tract: Church14 Finding a Good Church

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Things that ruin a Church: Events that Decay pt 2

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Misuse of Scripture is common among ruined churches

2Tim 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 

Many ruined churches will have their leaders simply misuse Scripture. This is detected by taking any common sermon or teaching and looking at the verses that they use, and then reading completely the context (20 verses before and after the passage) and see if their explanation and use of that passage is logically fitting into what the Bible is teaching in that passage.

The term of “proof-texting” is often used here, and by this, the preacher simply spouts off verses or worse verse references, and those don’t defend what he is saying that they do. The practice of this is very highly bound in with a strong authoritarian style of leadership, and usually these verses come and go in a sermon very quickly, i.e. if you actually open your Bible to the passage they use, read the context, the sermon is now 20 or so passages further along and you are left in the dust. There is no inherent benefit in having 200 verses in a sermon. About all that a normal preacher can explain in 40 minutes is about 2-3 minutes per passage, so that works out to a maximum of 13 passages, and most preachers would be doing well to both read and explain 13 passages in that time and to do all the rest of a regular sermon structure (3 points, an introduction, a conclusion, at least one illustration and an application).

Another mark that the preacher likes to proof-text is that he doesn’t like people asking him about any of his verses afterward, and moreover, his sermons tend to run in about 5 to 10 common themes, and he never seems to be able to break out of those topics. Some preachers are so bad that a list of common themes is only 3-4.

Another aspect of a bad church is that they tend to lean towards the emotional and experimental (what you “feel”) rather than logic based on scriptural exposition. There should be some feelings in Christianity, and God talks about “tasting” the promises of God to see that they are good, but although true Christianity has these emotional and experimental elements, they are never total dominating. In other words, God speaks to our mind and reason, “try, analyze, and evaluate. Then come back to me, and see that my promises are good and true.” True Christianity never crushes the mental facilities; it uses them to build security. A “feelings” and emotional-experimental dominated Christianity is always insecure. There is no security that your emotions and feelings are biblical, is right. If you get very sick, you may get depressed and “not feel saved.” But true Christianity will always subject that “feeling” to the reality that you have believed in Jesus Christ as your Savior, and therefore you are not doubting your salvation. The promises of God always have to go to the foundation of reason first before the emotions and feelings can enter in without corrupting our soul.

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Things that ruin a Church: Events that Decay pt 1

Things that ruin a Church is about events that ruin a church, or decay its effectiveness.

Following the previous post of qualities in the church that ruin it, in this post I will look at events that ruin a church. Let’s broaden this to both events that happen that hurt the church as well as events that should happen and don’t. I think of the passage in Ezekiel 34:2-4 that speaks to the shepherds of Israel, where God rebukes the shepherds for scattering the sheep. There are ministers that draw the sheep into them by love and care, and there are ministers that scatter the sheep to the winds by startling them with brute actions. See my Tract Ch51 Cowboys or Pastors?

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Why I give a written sermon outline to my people

Why I give a written sermon outline out explains the advantages of giving your sermon outline to your people.

Many preachers like to give surprises to their people. Their sermon is one of those surprises. Actually, the people have no idea where he is headed even half-way through his sermon, and by the end, they still are lost as to what he is talking about.

Let your Yea be Yea, and your Nay Nay

Christ taught the importance of not entering into dubious speech. Deceiving speech in one where what is said is not what really is. An example here is when a preacher says that the sermon today is “Once saved, always saved: The assurance of our Eternal Salvation.” Before halfway through the sermon, he hits on Bible versions and talks on that the rest of the sermon. Say what you mean, and live what you say.

Truthfulness, even in the presentation of sermons, should be a characteristic of all Christians, especially preachers.

Don’t Ramble.

Rambling is moving about a lot without any real purpose except to hear yourself talk. You do not really fulfill the purpose of the sermon (communicating your divine message to your hearers). When you say things that don’t directly relate to your sermon, you are rambling. If you record your sermon and then listen back to it, you can identify the parts that “don’t belong”. Be heavy handed in cutting out anything that doesn’t belong in your sermon.

It is frustrating for a preacher to stand up and tell us what we are going to hear today and then he doesn’t spend hardly any time on that topic! He has lied to us, so why should we believe anything he has to say to us!

The central problem here has its roots in the sermon preparation.

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