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I have been ponders what qualities make up a good church.  I am refering here to the congregation one joins with on Sunday morning. 

What qualities do you look for?

Is it the character of the leadership?  How they handle their authority?

The prescence or abscence of bible based preaching?  New Testament only...or both Testaments.

The freindliness of the people and how they treat each other and the pastors?

The denomination or maybe even lack of denomination...oversight by a board or elders?  Who do the Pastors anwer too, if anyone?

The style/length of the song service if there is one?

Baptism of Holy Spirit and other languages...views on the gifts of the spirit... prophetc words.

( I know this last one could be touchy.  I am not trying to start a doctrinal debate...so please refrain and put those comments in a different discussion if you feel you must go there.)

Which of these qualities do you find important in a church?  Why?

 

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     Benjamin Franklin said that a religion that needs the governments help is not much of a religion.  The problem with churches in general in the USA is they are corporations, mega churches are like big corporations.  So it would be difficult to convince me that mega churches are not about mammon-even if the state has a non profit role for them.   The new testament tithe or membership due is unscriptural, so if church leaders are respected business people they will be respected by those outside the church and will not be dependant on people to support them.  If in this context,  if mega churches develop I could maybe see it as a move of God, as things are now, I would have a hard time believing that mega churches are serving mammon and not God.    

Lisa said:
This is by Juanita. It fits so I copied it over.

I had a jaded eye when it came to mega church until I read the book Mega Church Myths. It was written by my good friend Warren Bird. He ghost wrote my husband's book. Warren is a really godly person who has complete integrity - he would never write something he did not believe. I came away from reading that book with a fresh way of looking at mega-churches. Yes, there have been abuses of power/wealth. But, the book also showed other cases/activities that have been blessing an incredible number of people.



My personal philosophy is this: WHERE EVER you have people, you have problems. That is why Jesus had to die for us, right? If we could simply just 'be' good people, he wouldn't have had to die. Whatever 'group' or 'organization' of people you look at - you ARE going to see problems. It is human nature. Right? That IS the good news - Christ came to help us overcome this human nature we ALL struggle with. When we become a Christian, he gives us a new nature. As we mature as Christians, the new Christ nature becomes more evident in what we say and what we do. We mature at different rates; if we are not in good circumstances - surrounded by mature believers - this can also negatively impact how we mature.

Lisa,

I am sorry to hear about your personal struggles.   I think I am going to start a group here on Kingdom Insight, A New Kingdom People to explore what it means to live in common unity - community.   I want to pass on what our fellowship group is learning; if churches I had been part of in the past had learned how to be community, they would have been more effective, especially with dealing with conflict.

Lisa said:

Juanita,

  Thanks for your comments on the megga churches and on what you would look for in a church. 

I started this because I just left a church where I felt the leaders were at times controling, not open to feedback, and lacked (were not open to) oversight from other authorities in the faith.   Some with say this is misperception.  Regardless it would be easy for me to focus on just this one area and not look for other important qualities in a ministry.  You are so right that where there are people there will be problems.   Sometimes even the mature or the experienced blow it or get side tracked. 

 A good thing to deal with would be how to remain in unity despite conflict...   The need for open safe forums for member to present things they do not agree with or that they do not understand without feeling attacked or closed out by leadership.    A good leader can hear these things and explain why they stand where they stand both to individuals and to the entire body.  

Had a refreshing return to the basics today.   Maybe I'll stick with it for a little while.

Trying to understand why you feel the tithe is unscriptural.   I believe it is mentioned in both testaments.  There is also the demonstration where Christ instructs Peter to give to Ceasar what is Ceasars and to the Lord what is the Lords.   I know this was reference to taxes.  I see it applying the other way also.  I don't see how small churches in particular could function w/o the tithe or some type of offering.

Steve Belttari said:
     Benjamin Franklin said that a religion that needs the governments help is not much of a religion.  The problem with churches in general in the USA is they are corporations, mega churches are like big corporations.  So it would be difficult to convince me that mega churches are not about mammon-even if the state has a non profit role for them.   The new testament tithe or membership due is unscriptural, so if church leaders are respected business people they will be respected by those outside the church and will not be dependant on people to support them.  If in this context,  if mega churches develop I could maybe see it as a move of God, as things are now, I would have a hard time believing that mega churches are serving mammon and not God.    

Lisa said:
This is by Juanita. It fits so I copied it over.

I had a jaded eye when it came to mega church until I read the book Mega Church Myths. It was written by my good friend Warren Bird. He ghost wrote my husband's book. Warren is a really godly person who has complete integrity - he would never write something he did not believe. I came away from reading that book with a fresh way of looking at mega-churches. Yes, there have been abuses of power/wealth. But, the book also showed other cases/activities that have been blessing an incredible number of people.



My personal philosophy is this: WHERE EVER you have people, you have problems. That is why Jesus had to die for us, right? If we could simply just 'be' good people, he wouldn't have had to die. Whatever 'group' or 'organization' of people you look at - you ARE going to see problems. It is human nature. Right? That IS the good news - Christ came to help us overcome this human nature we ALL struggle with. When we become a Christian, he gives us a new nature. As we mature as Christians, the new Christ nature becomes more evident in what we say and what we do. We mature at different rates; if we are not in good circumstances - surrounded by mature believers - this can also negatively impact how we mature.

Lisa,

Yes, this is exactly what I am talking about.   The enemy of community - real Christian community that should be in every church and ministry is conflict.   Learning how to effectively deal with conflict is not something that churches and ministries know how to deal with...   Our fellowship uses two 'tools'..

1) Shared Standards - we agree to how to get along with each other and how to resolve conflict.

This may seem like a little thing, but it has really made a difference in how we do things!

2) 4 Core Ideals Roman's 12 in shorthand.  ;-)
    * Unity in Diversity.

In your situation, this may apply; how to get along when there is conflict in points of view

    * Popular Sovereignty.

God has created us different an unique.   We each need to be able to grow and fulfil our particular purpose.

    *  Democratic Equality

In the Kingdom, we are all equal in God's sight.   The role of leaders should be to help each person to fulful the purpose God has created them for.

    *  Rule of Law

The precepts and principles in scriputure are the final word.   They are what guides our lives and what we need to test our actions against.   If we are not in line with those, we need to change.

 

said:

 A good thing to deal with would be how to remain in unity despite conflict...   The need for open safe forums for member to present things they do not agree with or that they do not understand without feeling attacked or closed out by leadership.    A good leader can hear these things and explain why they stand where they stand both to individuals and to the entire body.  

Had a refreshing return to the basics today.   Maybe I'll stick with it for a little while.

     The tithe or 10% membership due is not to be confused with giving to support ministers and their work.  God loves a cheerful giver and he never wants people to give under compulsion.  I meet people who leave churches all the time, because they can't afford the tithe, in fact, I just met a woman last night who left a church because of the tithe and doesn't see her family being in any church, because they can't afford to give away 10% of their income.  I taught her the truth of course, so maybe church is now an option for her.  I think a good case could be made for progressive giving to support Gospel operations, 1 Tim 6 vs 17-18 says:  "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;  That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate".  To a multi-millionaire 10 % of their income is pittance, to someone who is barely getting by, 10% of their income will literally put them on the street.  Someone might say, God is looking for people to give sacrifically, but the proverb says:  "To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice".  When people serve mammon instead of God, they will fawn over the rich instead of confronting them to give their fair share to support the work of the Gospel.  The scripture also says that the sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous who will be kind to the poor, I guess you could call this God's socialist redistribution program.  

    

Lisa said:

Trying to understand why you feel the tithe is unscriptural.   I believe it is mentioned in both testaments.  There is also the demonstration where Christ instructs Peter to give to Ceasar what is Ceasars and to the Lord what is the Lords.   I know this was reference to taxes.  I see it applying the other way also.  I don't see how small churches in particular could function w/o the tithe or some type of offering.

Steve Belttari said:
     Benjamin Franklin said that a religion that needs the governments help is not much of a religion.  The problem with churches in general in the USA is they are corporations, mega churches are like big corporations.  So it would be difficult to convince me that mega churches are not about mammon-even if the state has a non profit role for them.   The new testament tithe or membership due is unscriptural, so if church leaders are respected business people they will be respected by those outside the church and will not be dependant on people to support them.  If in this context,  if mega churches develop I could maybe see it as a move of God, as things are now, I would have a hard time believing that mega churches are serving mammon and not God.    

Lisa said:
This is by Juanita. It fits so I copied it over.

I had a jaded eye when it came to mega church until I read the book Mega Church Myths. It was written by my good friend Warren Bird. He ghost wrote my husband's book. Warren is a really godly person who has complete integrity - he would never write something he did not believe. I came away from reading that book with a fresh way of looking at mega-churches. Yes, there have been abuses of power/wealth. But, the book also showed other cases/activities that have been blessing an incredible number of people.



My personal philosophy is this: WHERE EVER you have people, you have problems. That is why Jesus had to die for us, right? If we could simply just 'be' good people, he wouldn't have had to die. Whatever 'group' or 'organization' of people you look at - you ARE going to see problems. It is human nature. Right? That IS the good news - Christ came to help us overcome this human nature we ALL struggle with. When we become a Christian, he gives us a new nature. As we mature as Christians, the new Christ nature becomes more evident in what we say and what we do. We mature at different rates; if we are not in good circumstances - surrounded by mature believers - this can also negatively impact how we mature.

Lisa,

 

There are seven things that the bible says make a healthy church - Love, faith, truth, purity, endurance, obedience, and devotion.  These are not necessarily in an order of importance, but all are aspects that Jesus speaks of concerning the church.  I hope to have my book out next year titled: "Seven Signs of a Healthy Church."  The evaluation today concerning the health of a church centers on worldly principles such as growth, budgets, music styles, denominational affiliations, traditions, congregational size, and a host of others.  I've been in many meetings where denominational leaders and pastors and elders sound more like wall street brokers and wheelers and dealers who are expressing the latest and greatest plans and programs to increase the size of their client base.  I've been in mega churches and mini churches and have noticed the same in both.  We need to evaluate the church according to the standards of Christ and then do as He says when He reveals our failings: Repent.  There are no perfect chuches, no perfect Christians, just a perfect Savior who loves His people with an everlasting love and calls all of us to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."  I would ask all who read this, be patient with the church and be willing to be a part of it's strengthening and growth, because you are part of the church as well.

 

Your servant,

Rev. Michael Duncan

Steve,

   Gotcha.  My personal thoughts are along those lines...give what you can.  If have enough to give 10% or more, do that.  If not do somethng.  I think it is also possible to give ones time.   Have been in the position of just donating hours instead of reporting them and esentially trading the same check back and forth every week.

 

Micheal,

 I am more interested in the practical doing of these things than just hearing or talking about them.  I dislike it when people say "I love you" just because it is the Christian thing to do.  I'd rather they close their mouths and use their actions to speak for a while.   I trust that in your book you have the space to give practical answers that go beyond the theory.

 

Juanita,

   I think # 2 hits pretty close in part.  There is a feeling that no matter how it is presented (private, public) an opposing view will be seen as an afront or challenge rather than calmly discussing or defending why that position. 

Oops I am probably being too specific about church problem here and will try to keep future like comments elsewhere.

 

There are seven things that the bible says make a healthy church - Love, faith, truth, purity, endurance, obedience, and devotion. 

 

There is nothing theoretical about the seven issues I mentioned.  But, for some Biblical application:

 

Love – “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18).

 

Faith – “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

 

Truth – “For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

 

Purity – “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe” (Philippians 2:14-15).

 

Endurance – “Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him” (2 Timothy 2:11-12).

 

Obedience – “If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in His love” (John 15:10).

 

Devotion – “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42).

 

These are the practical aspects of God’s church.  What they are not is pragmatic.  

 

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Michael Duncan


Lisa said:

 

Micheal,

 I am more interested in the practical doing of these things than just hearing or talking about them.  I dislike it when people say "I love you" just because it is the Christian thing to do.  I'd rather they close their mouths and use their actions to speak for a while.   I trust that in your book you have the space to give practical answers that go beyond the theory.

 

 

Thanks.

 

Lets see a good church could be a place where the Pastor is funny, the word is preached but the gospel could be presented more often, there is Sunday school for the kids, bible study for the adults, there is always a class going through another book, song service is led by a band not a chorus, the song service lasts close to an hour, expressive worship is expected, not just accepted (usually there are 1 or more people waving flags...not unlike color guard), the 5 fold ministry gifts are taught (if not always expressed), and least some of the people are friendly. Is that what a good church is too you?

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