The Preacher’s gone to meddling!
The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor of Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
For a Christian, one of the most important activities is to find a church family in which to invest himself.
Over the years, I’ve heard many Professing Christians say, “I’m looking for a church in which I can…” Some of the criteria I’ve heard used are: I want to find a church in which I can be fed. I want to find a church where I have something in common with those attending. I want to find a church that has something to offer my children. I want to find a church that has uplifting music and the pastor preaches relevant sermons.
Rarely, if ever, have I heard a professing Christian say, “I want to find a Church where the God of the Bible is worshiped and His word is systematically preached and taught.”
This article is intended for those who have been born again by the Spirit of God. In other words, the search for a godly Church Family is a necessity for those who confess Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead.
God has revealed that it is the organized church wherein His elect grow up into Christ. He has commanded that His people invest their gifts and talents in a local church. He has ordained that there is no ordinary possibility of salvation outside of the visible church because the church is commanded to proclaim the gospel which is the power of God to save! Finally, He has commanded His people to worship Him alone, both individually and corporately.
Those who have been made “new creations” by God don’t go to church; they are the church!
Still there is a challenge in our Western Evangelical World. The Church has incorporated a business model to attract people. Christians are faced with a smorgasbord of “Church Offerings.” Churches seem to produce a never-ending array of programs and methods. People, even Christians are taken in by snappy worship services that employ skits and entertaining music. Christians have come to assume that the purpose of Corporate Worship is to lift them up.
Churches have segregated congregations by age groups. Worship Services are designed for Youth or children. There are even churches that offer worship services for the elderly.
Many elders in churches that have elders are young Christians. There is a sense that Church leadership must be a part of the Youth Culture in order to be attractive and relevant. The idea that the wisdom of gray haired men might actually be a blessing has fallen on hard times.
Now, please don’t think that I am speaking against the giftedness of young men. On the contrary, I believe that as Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus, the young can learn from their elders and thereby grow in their giftedness.
So how is this meddling Pastor advising the believer in his quest for a church in which to invest?
May I suggest that the believer searching for a church should look to the word of God to light his path.
Most importantly, we all must understand God’s revealed purpose for His Church. In the Old Testament, God commanded the church to be holy, Leviticus 11:44. The Apostle Peter repeated God’s command, 1Peter 1:15-16. “But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”’
Let me offer a radical statement. The church is not about us; it is about God! The church is commanded to direct us to God. The church worships God. He speaks to us in His word. We are convicted by His Holy Spirit. We gather with others who have been set apart by God to worship Him.
God does not want to make you a better you. God wants to change you to be more like Christ, that is, if you have been justified (declared right with Him). God will not make you feel better about yourself, if you are living in opposition to His word. He may indeed humble you and bring you to your knees.
My meddling advice is to seek a church where God is glorified. Join a church where you can learn the truth and be convicted to “grow up” in Christ. In summary, seek a Church Family that pursues godliness and equips you to join God as He extends His Kingdom!