the road ahead


Christian Variety
April 10, 2009, 10:01 pm
Filed under: business, ministry, spirituality

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A recent Leadership Journal study came up with some very interesting conclusions. Among U.S. citizens, approximately 70% to 80% call themselves Christians; however, the study determined there are five kinds of Christians within this group: Active, Professing, Liturgical, Private, and Cultural.

The study also revealed some issues the Christian community is facing:

  • The local church is no longer considered the only outlet for spiritual growth.
  • Churches must develop relational- and community-oriented outreach.
  • Laypeople have to be better equipped to be God’s ambassadors.

Interestingly, 60% of all Christians surveyed worship in churches with fewer than 300 people in attendance, but they also have higher expectations for the role the local church should play in their spiritual development. The rise of media and technology has created the use of personal spiritual growth guides in addition to local church help. There is also a growing number of Christians who are not attached in community to any local congregation.

So for those of us in Christian publishing the challenge to work alongside the local church and the individual provides a real opportunity. Personal spiritual development has always included both personal and corporate elements. But never have there been so many personal media options to enhance and guide an individual’s Christian development.

On this easter weekend I say to  you all He is Risen!!!!!!!!!

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6 Comments so far
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He is risen, indeed! 🙂

Comment by thejellies

The need for the church is as great as ever. People may think they can do the “Christian thing” without the church, but God promises in Ephesians 3:10 that his plan for the ages is being worked out through the church. The privatizing and individualizing is as dangerous as anything the church faces today.

Comment by Steve

Excellent insights. As a pastor of a small local church, my observation is that we spend too much time refining the program and not enough time sharpening the blade. I am convinced that the only way the body of Christ will reach the potential God desires is when we begin setting higher expectations of personal spiritual growth. We must establish means of individual mentoring/discipleship relationships for “every” person who claims the name “Christian”. Only then will our blades go beyond sheen to sharp.

Comment by Scott Maxwell

Resurrection – He has Risen, the Celebration. What Christ did for us, the world. Magnificent!

Church, what is exactly meant by this, where one or more are gathered? Where the Pastors/Teachers, apostles, evangelists and prophets teach congregants to share the good news, the gospel?

Is Acts 4, along with James 1:27 the best examples of what church is? How about the leadership decision of the new church from Acts 15? Timothy and Titus state that men need to be approved, and this is so, to lead a church, but does this mean putting knowledge, education above heart and passion. Paul encourages Timothy (and pastors, etc in general) to study and show themselves approved. But where does God’s calling of people figure in? One may have all the tell-tell signs, gifts, speaking ability, and seem like they would be a magnificent pastor, but has God actually called them?

To share another view of church, and what I long to see, and something that para-church organizations can look more into in helping the local church is establishing the body of Christ to be the church. 1 Cor. 12 describes the body, that is has bright shining members, and members who are unattractive, less honorable. Have we as a church whole and individual church bodies been doing the opposite of this. Giving more and more glory to the bright shining members, rather than practicing what Paul encourages, giving more honor and glory to those less, those weaker members? What about what Paul mentions in Eph. 5:19-21, and Col. 3:14-17? Are we really practicing Philippians 2:4, let alone Philippians 2:1-6?

The question is than put out there, how are we to do church? How should the church community look? How shall it thrive? What are the relationships to look like? What are relationships not to look like? Is it that God is doing a work in His church (universal), in accordance with 1 Cor. 3?

Yes Mike, we do need spiritual development, i.e. transformation – Romans 12:1-3 in us as individuals, and in many churches. But we must relate to the individuals who make up the body, and this is where we are lacking. All the gifts need to be implemented in the body, however, few are. God loves the simple-minded, God loves the astute, God loves the feeling/emotional. We must implement these varying concepts. And stop throwing things in each others face. Are not all believers accepted? Is one member greater than another? Is the church universal in unity? Do we still have divisions? Yes, we can agree, to disagree, but we need to stop the departing from relationships and being a community.

Lastly, how did Jesus say the world would know the church, that is believers? By there love for each other. This is church, this is Christian relationship and community. And one may ask what than is this love. 1 Cor. 13 answers this!

Thanks, He has Risen! Holy Spirit rise in us!

Comment by David Brownlee

Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us to join together so we can encourage one another.
The disciples physically met together and the purpose for that is clear throughout Scripture.
Technology is great and certainly is one avenue to help people grow in their faith. The trap some fall into is to rely solely on media and neglect meeting face to face with fellow believers. Having come from a non-Christian background, I question the wisdom of this. I wonder, should we embrace this new trend and neglect the example for the church so clearly described in Scripture?

Comment by kathleen kohler

When believers bypass the local church they miss out on the opportunity to develop to Spiritual maturity. Being an active servant in a local church provides opportunities to develop relationships and tolerate relationships and expand relationships. The diversity of the body supplies the raw materials necessary to sharpen every believer. I am who I am in Christ today, not only because of daily personal time with God for decades, but also because of the opportunities and challenges that have come to me through the local church.

Comment by Earl Stephenson




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