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Your Church May Not Be a Church If . . .

July 24th, 2010
Marketing Advertising Blog — VuManhThang.Com

A thought-provoking post from “Gospel-Driven Church” blog. I think this is spot-on true. What do you think?

Your Church May Not be A Church If . . .

You rarely, if ever, hear the word “sin” there.

When you do hear the word “sin,” it is only only briefly mentioned, or redefined as “mistakes.”

You can’t remember when you last heard the name of Jesus in a message.

The Easter message isn’t about the resurrection but “new opportunities” in your life or turning over a new leaf.

On patriotic holiday weekends, the message is about how great America is.

On the other weekends, the message is about how great you are.

There are more videos than prayers.

People don’t sing during “worship,” but watch.

The pastors’ chief responsibilities are things foreign to Scripture.

There is more money budgeted for advertising than for mission.

The majority of the small groups are oriented around sports or leisure, not study or service.

You always feel comfortable there.

Church membership just appears to be a recruiting system for volunteers.

You only see other church people on Sunday mornings at church.


WARNING: If your church meets one or more of these, it might be a spiritual pep rally, a religious performance center, a Christian social club, or something else entirely, but it is probably not, biblically speaking, a gathering of the Church.

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  1. George
    July 24th, 2010 at 07:31 | #1

    You asked — I think it’s dangerous to say that your church might not be church if _you_ observe certain things.

    That said, any of these, if true, is very dangerous. some of them — although certainly indicative of a church which has problems — do not necessarily make your church a non-church.

    Think of the marks of the church — then go through the list and see which statements indicate a lack of those marks.

    E.g. if you don’t hear about sin (or it is redefined) then you aren’t hearing the Law (part of the Word of God)

    On the other hand, if you only see other church people on Sunday mornings at church, that doesn’t make your church non-Church. It means that your members likely don’t have a good sense of stewardship of their time and the 3rd commandment

  2. Mike Baker
    July 24th, 2010 at 07:47 | #2

    Or

    ….If what your church is about COULD still make sense and still minister to people even if Jesus had never died on the cross and rose from the dead.

  3. Mike Baker
    July 24th, 2010 at 12:16 | #3

    Or

    …If you want to study deeper into God’s Word and that holy desire is publically mocked by members of the leadership as being selfish or the intelectual equivelant of gluttony.

    …If secular multimedia and generic church logos are considered to be an asset to the church while religious symbols are sparse if not all together missing.

    …If your church is so enclusive and accepting that there are no belief boundries that make it distinct from the general public of the greater community.

  4. wcwirla
    July 24th, 2010 at 16:14 | #4

    Yes, but….Our confessions would say the church is not where the Gospel is not, namely, where the Gospel of the justification of the sinner by grace through faith for Christ’s sake is absent or the sacraments instituted by Christ are missing. These are the divine marks of recognition of the church.

  5. July 24th, 2010 at 17:59 | #5

    I would add:

    - The pastor constantly urges you to write Congress about this-or-that political issue. While I would stop short of saying churches should never engage in secular politics, such activity should be viewed as the theological equivalent of nuclear weapons: to be used only in the direst of emergencies, in fearful trembling that the collateral damage will potentially be massive, and with the knowledge that it may well cause far more harm than good.

    - Members and clergy use the phrase “speaking Truth to Power” without wincing. Beyond the obvious hubris in that statement, a staggering amount of mischief has been done in the church because of those words. Make sure you are actually speaking Truth (and not your own version of it) before you get in Power’s face. And even then realize you could still blow it.

    - There is a vast array of “social concerns” activities in the church, but little Bible study. While we are commanded to feed to poor and minister to widows and orphans, it has been my experience that the larger the power of “social concerns” the more likely the church is dying.

    - The motto is “Come as you are.” What they sometimes mean is, “Come as you are and leave unchanged.”

    - In the name of “diversity” non-Christians are called upon to preach and proselytize from the pulpit. This is pretty close to a sure giveaway you are not in a Christian church.

    - When a new pastor is called, members ask, “What will you do for us?” rather than “What can we do to help you?” The ELCA congregation that my wife and I left went through a horrible fight when the long-time pastor left. During the call process I felt sick to my stomach listening to variations on “What will you do to heal this congregation?” What did they expect: magic words and pixie dust? Shrunken heads and a voodoo ritual?

  6. Rev. Kevin Jennings
    July 24th, 2010 at 20:34 | #6

    Hi, Paul!

    Perhaps the most striking of the criteria above was a lack of preaching about sin. A few years ago, I think, Newsweek published an article in which the news magazine said there is less of a sense of sin in today’s world because churches don’t proclaim it. If an unbeliever is saying that about the Church, Egad!

  7. greg demuth
    July 24th, 2010 at 22:08 | #7

    Paul, I would also add: “We don’t get involved with doctrines, we just teach the bible…”

  8. July 25th, 2010 at 18:11 | #8

    Following on from Pr Cwirla’s comment, which was spot-on, we could also say that your church might not be church if Christ is preached there primarily as an exemplar/lawgiver and not as Saviour. Or, more simply, if the Christianity preached there is primarily about what you can do for God and not what God has done for you. This error extends across the spectrum of Christianity, from popular evangelicalism to the most outwardly pious Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

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