Friday, March 6, 2009

Back to Basics

What should churches do when ministry programs fizzle again and again? When fellowships have little or no participation? How does a ministry deal when it struggles to gather volunteers for outreach efforts? How can we remedy vast inconsistencies in attendance? How does leadership address growing cynicism, destructive criticism with no constructive ideas offered, and if ideas are given, a refusal to actually contribute to its success? What can be done when professing Christians all but abandon their duty to witness to the lost and invite people to church?

I say: Get Back to Basics. Sometimes we can get so bogged down with the "extras" of modern ministry that we neglect the most important thing: being Spiritually Disciplined and growing closer to Jesus Christ, both personally and as a congregation.

How do we go about getting back to basics? Let's look to the Word:

We must be honest about our current condition. "Psalm 12:1 Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases to be,For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men." - From the positions of leadership on down, it is sometimes necessary to admit that we are worn, tired, dry, listless, and in need of rejuvenation. Until that confession is made, revival and renewal cannot take place. This is perhaps the hardest step. Too often, leaders equate an admission that something is wrong with total defeat. As a consequence, they attempt to portray an unyielding optimistic outlook that is understandable, but not genuine. But there is no benefit in avoiding the truth. Rather, confession and repentance (yes repentance) is an awesome experience that brings freedom from private shame and frustration. In fact, it is something that should happen regularly in the Church.

Commit fully and passionately to vital spiritual disciplines. "Acts 2:42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." It is a hard thing to face, but sometimes we need to release ourselves of the many obligations we've created for ourselves in modern ministry. That could mean suspending all other programs, ministries, fellowships, and clubs in order to focus exclusively on Prayer/Fasting, Worship, and Teaching/Preaching as a congregation. This period of focused commitment is certain to result in the restoration both of individual faith and renewed congregational vigor and excitement as God revives and refreshes the Body of Christ. To be sure, no one desires to abandon the various ministries that all serve a good purpose, but the Church must make clear what is most important according to the Word of God. Besides, not now doesn't necessarily mean never.

Re-Engage in those other ministries with wisdom and creativity.
"Galations 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." It is amazing what an extended and focused communion with God will reveal about us. In fact, we would be rather surprised to discover those things that we invite to bind and hinder us as Christians who are active in ministry. Perhaps some of the ministries we feel are absolutely necessary really aren't and we are too concerned with appearing busy and active or being seen as important or needed. Maybe we simply need a fresh approach to how the ministries of the church can be implemented.

I believe that these times of serious reflection and seeking God's direction will not only restore the Church to active engagement with God and our community, but also allow us to see what He desires for us to do and not what we simply think is a good idea for ministry. Like Jesus' encounter with Mary and Martha, God has His own way of showing us the "needful thing".

elder todd

Note: Psalm 12:1, Acts 2:42 (NASB); Gal 5:1 (KJV)


  1. It sounds like the leadership should re-communicate the core values and the vision. Our church has been in this position before where the majority of the congregation has forgotten why the church exists. Not "the church" in the biblical definition of being the body of Christ (i.e. christians), but the church as in Agape Assembly Church. AAC can not exist merely for its own sake, otherwise it would make sense to join that church down the street that has the same biblical values as you do, and pool resources. Why do you want someone to come to AAC as opposed to the church down the street?

    You have to ask yourself why does our church exist? (Marketing gurus call this product differentiation.) Who has God best positioned and equipped us to reach? What is it going to take to reach these people; what are we wiling to start doing – and stop doing to reach these people? You got to come to the place where you corporately say "we are not a church for everyone."

  2. Thanks for your comment, JB. Yes, as the Church we accept everyone into the Kingdom of God, but from there God places each member in the body (the local church) as He sees fit.

    God Bless,

    elder todd

  3. It is not that the leadership of any Church has to or should ask themselves why is our Church here instead the question should be what are the people looking for that we as leaders are not providing. It must be understood that God has placed each member in the body as He sees fit, purely because He wants new teachers,preachers well as to have His word hidden in the hearts of those who earnestly seek His face.Therefore we have to seek out what is actually hindering the people of GOD...I agree on getting Back to the Basics.. taking away some of the glitter that has been added to the gospel and get down tothe hand clappin foot stomping old time Religion.