Friday, October 7, 2016

Is Your Church On the Right Track? How Can You Tell?

In order for a sick patient to get treatment an individual must admit that he/she is not well.  The same principle is true with regards to "sick" churches.  In a previous blog post Dr. Rainer suggested some of the warning signs that often reveal that a ministry is unwell.  When a sick church lives in denial over their true spiritual condition they are often only "one stage away from becoming terminal."  Many ministries slowly but surely whittle away (numerically, financially, and most importantly spiritually) because they are unwilling to humbly admit that genuine repentance and biblical change are drastically needed.  Pride and apathy often make people blind or indifferent to the words of Christ.

Having said that, many ministries that appear to be "successful" on the outside are often plagued with stage four cancer on the inside.  Not everything that glitters is gold.  Just because a church is packed each and every Sunday does not necessarily mean the people are growing spiritually (note the warning given in Hebrews 5:12-14).  Or just because a church is the talk of town does not mean it is a model ministry.  In fact, many evangelical churches that are a mile wide are often only an inch deep.  If you think "bigger always means better" in the eyes of God than you have not carefully read through the New Testament Scriptures.

Revelation 2-3 is one of the most important passages that is routinely ignored by the contemporary church today.  Few things are more relevant than the Lord of the Church providing seven spiritual report cards for seven local churches.  Of the two churches Jesus' praises how financially prosperous do you suppose these praiseworthy congregations were?  These two churches were poor, faithful (persecuted) but of infinite worth in the eyes of God!

Whether your local church is big or small their is no better place to go to receive a full body examination than the Word of God.  Psalm 19:10 tell us that the Scriptures are intended to warn and correct us according to the Divine standard.  Like a perfect mirror the Holy Scriptures expose our blemishes that we might run to Christ for grace and forgiveness.

Semper Reformanda is the hallmark of every ministry that is growing spiritually.  A healthy New Testament church is always being reformed by the Spirit of God through the Word of God.  In future blog posts I want to examine what things King Jesus commends and blesses when writing seven inspired letters to seven local churches.  I also want us to consider what the Lord rebukes and condemns as we respectively examine our own ministry kitchens.