Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Let’s Start a New Church!

There are many good reasons for starting a new church. New churches win most of the new converts to our faith, for one thing. They can often respond quicker and more efficiently than older churches to new needs within a given society. And, of course, missionaries who wish to establish a beachhead in a nation without many Christians must establish new congregations.
Sometimes, Christians must start new churches because the old ones have become apostate or grown deaf.

In the book of Revelation, God warns some of the churches of “Asia” (modern day Turkey) that they were in danger of moving outside the borders of His kingdom. He did not want to "remove their candlestick"[1] (or refuse to recognize them as churches.)

The Lord’s words to these seven churches show us how God keeps working within His Church, even when it operates far beneath His standards.

The church, like ancient Israel, is a community made up of individuals in various stages of spiritual development; tares and wheat, sheep and goats.

So these reasons, starting a church because one wants to finally attend a REAL church, where TRUE believers SOLD OUT TO GOD create BIBLICAL COMMUNITY – well, knock yourself out! If the church succeeds, it will take about a generation before you will face some other prophetic zealot leading an exodus out of your beloved church with the very same cry on his lips.
It is never a good idea to throw away something good in order to grasp something perfect. Why not? Because the perfect thing is only in your head – or in heaven – or in the coming Kingdom Age. Its certainly not here. Not now. Not with people like you. Or me.

As we grow to love the body of Christ, we must also become mature enough to remember that God has “incarnated” it within visible, fallible and earthly bodies – probably like the church you presently attend.

In the Church, you will find people of great spiritual power and purity of life coexisting with the most twisted and corrupt individuals imaginable. To some extent, these attributes even coexist within each believer!

Therefore, we can’t determine what a “real” church is just looking at the name over the door.
Of course, we would all like to belong to a “real” church.

In every era of the church’s history, believers have walked out of corrupt church situations to begin a “New Testament” church (by which they mean a church that will be on this earth all that the universal church is described to be in the New Testament. The only problem with this impulse it this: even the churches in the New Testament era were not “New Testament churches” at least by that criterion. Otherwise, why would Christ have threatened the churches of Asia with excommunication? )

All attempts to “begin the church again” have ended up as new denominations, groups that later generations leave in disgust to try yet once more.

You will save yourself much heartache and disappointment if you realize the following unassailable truths: believers are forgiven but fallen, men and women. Some who call themselves believers are not really born again. Those who are born again are at various levels of spiritual maturity. Those who are spiritually mature are still fallen human beings. Believers make mistakes. Leaders of churches are fallen people.

There is no other kind. At least not yet.

Does this mean that we just excuse bad living? Of course not!

Men and women who claim to follow Christ must be expected to live like the Lord taught us to live. We must hunger to live a godly life. We must believe in the Ten Commandments. We must believe in the Sermon on the Mount. Being a believer means to come under the authority of God and His word.

And yet, and this is worth repeating: we must not reject a concrete good simply because it has not yet reached the level of an abstract perfect.

God’s Word gives us an abstract image of what a “good” Church looks like. We must keep reaching for it, both as individuals and as local churches. However, we must also believe that God already sees us, and sees His Church, as it will be in its glorified state.

Individual believers must view themselves that way too.

We should thank God for the extent to which we (as individuals and as local churches) reflect God’s goodness and grace even in this life.

We should not reject the good that individuals and churches do simply because they have not yet reached the perfection that we long for – and that our Lord promises us will one day occur.

The place where all expectations are reached is called Heaven.

That does not happen here on this fallen plant.

Keep that in mind as you start that new church!

[1] Revelation 2:5


James Smith said...

Pastor Dan,

This is good stuff, for us to think about. I hope I do find that perfect Church someday soon, but until then, I will just hang out with you. I know you are following the Holy Spirit, as I see it in all you do for the Church.

Where He (the Holy Spirit) leads me, I will follow. Until that day, and that seems to me to be the same path you are on.

"for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."

All blessing only come by the peace in Christ Jesus.


The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.) (2 Ti 1:12). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc."

Anonymous said...

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