THE PAGAN DRIVEN CHURCH
A look at
"But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth:
for the Father seeketh such to worship him." John 4:23
For the record, I have always been against amending, or canceling a worship service because of a sporting event, or in general, the promotion of sporting events in church. I believe that this compromise in the name of “reaching out” backfired on many churches that sponsored the Super Bowl this year. Unfortunately, they ended up “edifying” many males in a way that was inappropriate in the House of God. But I don’t feel sorry for them. I hope that it is the wake up call that these churches needed!
The popular Purpose Driven Church model centers the style and efforts of the church on people that are not saved instead of around God and His people. It is a church growth scheme that has no basis in Scripture. It is market driven, and not Spirit driven. This I will discuss in a little more detail as we move along.
The idea that in order to reach people, we should make our services non-threatening to them so they can come and hear the Gospel. This is basing evangelism upon marketing and not spiritual movement. Churches will grow using this model, that is a fact! They will also be weakened in other ways. The “new” model sacrifices our senior saints comfort and sense of history for people that don’t care about you, your church, or its people. It makes the unbeliever the center of the church, and not the believer and their God as center.
“What is the problem with this?” many people may say. “The people in the church are already saved. Our mission is to reach out to the lost and get them saved!” This is the justification that they use. It is based on a concept that many churches are already built upon, i.e., the purpose of the church meeting is to evangelize; It is a hospital for sin-sick people. In these churches, members are often viewed as nothing more than prospectors and money-cows. The purpose of the people is to give money so professionals can run the show, and to locate and invite people to come and hear the Gospel in the church service. But let me ask you, what does the Bible say is the purpose of the Church? You see, almost all of us have pre-conceptions about the nature and purpose of the church, but few have looked to see what that purpose is according to the Scripture. Let me say that for most of you, I will probably be stepping on some cherished traditions that you have been raised with.
The Church is to be driven by a purpose, and the Word of God should dictate that purpose. The Worship service is supposed to be just that… Worship! The center of every service revolves around the corporate connection of God’s people with Himself. The worship service is where we adore Him, and submit ourselves to Him. It is where He renews our strength, and speaks to our hearts.
Ephesians 4:11-12, states the secondary purpose for our meeting. “And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” The purpose of the church is for these leaders to equip the people so THEY can do the ministry! Wow! What a strange concept to many! You see, the primary purpose of the preacher during the gathering of the body is to equip, not to evangelize! The purpose of preaching is to equip the body to do the work of evangelism! Now, it does not hurt to be refreshed on the Gospel in a service, nor is it inappropriate to reach out, but it is a misuse of a gift if the center of its preaching is towards the lost instead of the saints! You see, the church was never intended to be a place where its people were little more than cash cows and prospectors that invite “friends” to come and hear a professional preach the Gospel. The Purpose Driven Church model which has become so popular, also has its focus on the wrong purpose. It directs the purpose away from worship and equipping, to entertaining and evangelizing. This is not the purpose of the Church, no matter how "driven" they are about it.
The Church used to be much more on its purpose. Because of this, Christians stood out as being different. People used to hate Christians because of their faith and morals, and when hard times came, they saw what these Christians had, and desired to have that peace too. That was the drawing nature of the Church at one time. But now, we seem to think that we must become as the world in order to draw people to the Gospel. My friends, it is not anti-evangelism to be against the Purpose Driven Church model! In fact, it is more pro-evangelism, and it is undoubtedly more Biblical. It may not give the massive increases in church membership that the Pagan Driven Church model will, but the qualitative spiritual results will far outweigh any benefit that this numerical scheme will. There is no advantage in adding the unregenerate to the Church!
We need to refocus ourselves on the matter of our true purpose. We need to center the Church upon the worship of God, and upon the Saints. When someone “joins” the Church, it is the newcomer that should adapt to our culture and tradition, not us to theirs!
We need to be equipped; not entertained. We need to bring common spiritual sense back into the Church. We need to purge ourselves from substituting pagan arena sports for the time we should be in worship. “Well no one would be at the service if you did that!” Possibly so, and it would however, indicate a misplaced priority of the one choosing a pagan sport over fellowship with the Saints. If they were being equipped and trained as they should, they would see that their purpose in the body was more important than worldly pleasures.
I am not against sports in general. I am however troubled by how Christians loyalty is so easily divided between God and sports. I am even more troubled that many pastors of churches have introduced secular entertainment into their sanctuaries, and replaced worship services, all in the name of appeasing those that desire the secular over the spiritual. Somehow, compromise is now legitimized and given a new name; evangelism!
Because of the misplaced emphasis in the modern church, I’m not sorry to hear that Janet Jackson exposed herself in the sanctuaries of thousands of churches across America. It is not a tragedy or misfortune; it is justice! It is a wake-up call for the Church! If you choose to replace God in His house, you shouldn’t be surprised by the results.
We are to "come out from among them (unbelievers) and be ye separate saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you." 2 Cor. 6:17.