The Church has Left the Building
Acts 1:8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
A few days ago, I was driving in MD when I saw this van.
THAT IS WHAT THE CHURCH IS SUPPOSED TO BE!
I got so excited. I looked at my son and said, “take a picture.” When God eventually allows me to plant a church, THAT is what I want the church to be about!
How many churches are focused on making bigger or better interiors which are more comfortable for people to come to while the world is still a cold, uncomfortable place for the Christian? It is our job as the leadership in a church to equip our members to go out and bring more people “in.” I put quotes around the word “in” because while we want these new converts to come to our church, we should just want them to go to any Bible-believing church. It isn’t about our numbers. It is about heaven’s numbers.
Acts 2:47 – Praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
It is no secret that a church needs to make its numbers. It needs to bring in tithes in order to support the paid members of the staff. This is precisely why it is imperative for Christians to support your local church. God expects us to give our 10% to the local church. The expectation of God is to support our local ministry. It is up to the local ministry to manage that tithe to support the local community.
In return the local ministry provides much more than a weekly pep talk on Sundays. Your tithe goes to missions work. That missions work can be international or local. For example, my church supports ministries in India, Dubai, Peru, Brazil, Honduras, and many other countries. Beyond that, we support local organizations such as a local elementary school, a food pantry, and multiple outreach missions.
Your tithe goes to support those organizations.
Malachi 3:10 – Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
But then your tithe goes to supporting discipleship training. When I tell someone on the street that I am a disciple, they get this look on their face that makes me think I have a snot ball hanging from my nose. Discipleship training is simply teaching someone how to live a life like Jesus. Yes, we will never be perfect at it. But there is no arguing that Jesus led a life that no one can claim was corrupted. If we strive to live like Him, then we will find that we, too, will live a life that is moral.
Your tithe also goes to supporting programs that will improve the church so that the next generation can be served. My parents loved the church I grew up in. They would take me and go every week. I thought it was THE most boring place on earth. They didn’t allow the kind of music I liked (of course, I don’t know of too many churches that play “Rock All Night” by KISS). I thought the pastor was focused only on the old people with the style of preaching he did.
Our churches are no different. Our kids want to go to a kids program that is relevant. Don’t roll out a kids program unless it is age specific. First graders should not be combined with fifth graders. Yes, they are both elementary students, but both learn very differently. Our middle schoolers and high schoolers should begin having their own Bible studies. But those studies should be targeted to what THEY are going through. Sending an 8th grader to a book study on Song of Solomon is not quite what an 8th grader needs. Perhaps something more on an 8th grader’s life, such as peer pressure, lying to your parents, or working hard need to be the focus of the study. Young adults need a different way to learn as well. Those young professionals enjoy going out in large groups, maybe to a sporting event. Their discipleship needs to happen while life is being experienced. It is how they learn. Crusty, old guys like me enjoy one on one discipleship. We like to remember our past and share it with others. Us old folk like to relive our past, while the young adults like to experience the future.
So your tithe goes to supporting various programs to multiple different demo- and psycho-graphics.
Other than 7-11, how many companies that we spend much more than 10% of our income on are targeting every type of person out there? Shouldn’t we be supporting a church that is working to not just give Jesus to people (that itself is enough to want to support a church) but also striving to improve the lives of every person who sets foot in the building.
To do that, the church needs to have the equipment necessary to reach every person. To do that, the church needs to be able to seat all the people, create opportunities of fellowship for the people, and create some amenities for enjoyment for the attenders.
It is difficult to support ancillary programs in a church. The programs may seem like luxuries. But without some of those items that we may consider luxuries, the next generation will be stuck in a building that will become a burden for them to visit. The next generation will have no desire to go outside the building and bring others into the building. The church will die.
Ephesians 4:11-12 – So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
If you truly want your church to leave the building, then you need to get it ready to equip them before they leave and make it a place that they want others to come.