Ephesians 4:14-16 – “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” NASB [Please read verses 1-16 for the greater context]
Today I want us to focus on the deficiency of development in the modern church. Tragically our approach is to spend too little time in the development, fitting, framing, and joining together the body into a Covenant Family and a Covenant Community. In years gone by we would meet twice on Sunday and then have a mid-week service, now maybe once. We had prayer meetings, various other functions to unite and link people. Today much of the Church world meets on Sunday mornings and that is the extent of their gathering together.
I suggest that the only organization that is willing to accept that approach is the Church. The many secular or cultic religions of the world do not allow that. They develop train and seek to link their people to each other for function, not just identity. They demand more. They demand a certain level of discipline and discipleship.
Whether you have one service per week or a service every night and day, is not the issue, the issue is discipleship and incorporation into Covenant Family and becomes a Covenant Community. The Early Church was noted for their daily gathering together in pursuit of becoming one.
A danger in today’s church is that we have become an institution that is designed to be self-propagating and self-sustaining rather than a community. The result of that can be seen in numerous realities.
The church has, in a large measure, become Program Oriented rather than People-Oriented. Programs are for people not people for programs. Too frequently all the energy and focus of the pastoral staff is keeping those programs going and hoping that somehow those programs touch lives. It is tragic when programs become more important than actual ministry.
Today’s church, has become guilty of Pulpit Pastoring rather than Personal Pastoring. That is expounded when the local congregation has an unbiblical understanding of the idea of The Pastor. If it becomes a clergy/laity distinction that is a weak position and condition spiritually. Many today view the minister as a professional rather than a sheep leading sheep and a man or woman commissioned following a call, not a vocation.
If we are to enforce the victory of Jesus at Calvary, we must follow the biblical prescription and engage in ‘equipping the saints for the work of ministry’ and becoming ‘fitted and framed together into a body, a family, and a community.‘
Today’s church sometimes often becomes an Assembly Hall rather than an Assembly Line. We hear about God rather than hear God. The church must become a place where people’s lives are put together and where that which is missing is restored and replaced. We must cease gathering to gather and become united in purpose growing together for edification, exhortation, comfort and allow ourselves to be equipped, developed, trained, commissioned and sent forth for the work of the Kingdom.
That cannot become a reality until and unless we are ‘Assembled Together’. I am talking about far more than meeting for meetings. I am talking about being assembled as putting together a building or a machine. That assembling must be consistent and regular else the continuity of the effort is doomed to fail and leave the people with a sense of defeat, disappointment, dissatisfaction, and disarray. We are a Body and an Army!
The church sometimes becomes an Orphanage rather than a Family. Everybody must be fathered naturally and spiritually. It is difficult to raise children in a group. Imagine one or two parents with fifty children. How would they ever develop an intimate relationship or fellowship with those fifty children? The children would, likely never feel close to one another or the parents. Parenting or fathering must be done in small groups focusing on the person, the problem, the potential, and the promise.
It is needful to remember that Jesus chose 12 and out of that group had 3 that he had the closest intimate relationship with. Think about that. If Jesus did that, He is our example and pattern, what makes us think we can parent a thousand or ten thousand?
Sometimes the church becomes a Ministry Center rather than a Ministry Factory. It becomes a place where we think ministry happens rather than a training ground for development and release. It encourages Spectator Christianity rather than Involved Disciples.
I have identified a significant problem. It is good thing to identify problems, but what is the solution? Is there a solution? What can we do? We will deal with that in the next devotional, so we pause here.
God bless you as you enjoy His beautify day!