Posts tagged ‘Body of Christ’

May 2, 2012

Church Denominations

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buou/1541519972/

 

I hear all the time that people are confused about the different beliefs of churches, especially the different denominations, like Baptist, Methodists, and so on. People tell me that denominations are wrong and not what Christ intended for the church. Someone just yesterday told me that they were about to quit going to church because of the confusion. I don’t believe that this is a problem and certainly don’t think it should cause people not to go to church. I think the biggest concern would be why the church can’t give a good reason for our differences.
Why are people not confused about food? There are so many restaurants out there and they serve so many different foods. What about cars? There are so many different car dealerships and they all say that their brand is better than the other. They can’t all be right. Maybe I won’t ever drive a car then. Even football teams are different. They have different colored uniforms and some run the ball and others throw the ball. Some are more focused on defense and while others are focused on offense. Why some even specialize in special teams. This has never stopped people from buying cars, eating out, or watching football. We all know that diversity is good for the food industry and the automobile industry. We all know that football teams have to be different and that it is good for the game. So why can’t churches be different without being wrong?
1 Corinthians 12:12 For example, the body is one unit and yet has many parts. As all the parts form one body, so it is with Christ. Churches are supposed to be different. We have different functions in the Body of Christ. My hand and my foot have two totally different functions but are still part of me. They don’t hate each other, but compliment and support each other. Because they are different does not mean that one is wrong and the other is right. Why we even have doctors who specialize in different body parts because they are so different, yet each doctor is caring for the same body. I am wearing contacts now, and even among my eyes there is a difference. One eye has a contact for seeing up close and the other has one for seeing far away and yet they function together for me to see well at any distance.
Denominations were formed out of the need for different people groups to join together with each other and worship and to serve. Sure there are some minor disagreements on things of the Bible, but that is not hard to understand given the fact that no one can fully understand God. Our minds just can’t fully grasp an almighty and holy God. So we will have some differences. What we do agree on is that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world and God loves us enough to forgive us if we ask. He thinks so highly of our unique needs that He gives us different churches so that we can find a place where we feel comfortable and can best serve the greater good of the Body of Christ.
As Christians, we need to defuse the idea that our differences prove that there is no God and explain that it instead shows the amazing love of God as He cares enough to not make us to be some sort of robots that have no individuality. The Apostle Paul said that we are to be all things to all men that some might in some way win some to Christ. If you need a more strict teaching then there is a church for that. If you need to be more free-spirited and like to shout, there is a church for that. If you need to perform certain rituals in order to feel closer to God, there is a church for that. I love my church. I think it is perfect for me. But I don’t dislike your church because it is not right for me. As long as the Bible is the guide, and Christ is the focus, then there is a purpose for that church.
God is THE Creator. He created different planets and solar systems and galaxies. He created different plants and animals and people. Why is there a problem with Him creating different churches? The answer is simple. There is no problem, yet rather a wonderful solution to the different types of people who He loves and wants to have a relationship with.

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September 23, 2011

Looking For A Church

by pastortimfowler

I know that looking for a church to attend can be frustration no matter if you are looking for the first time as a new Christian or you are looking again as a more seasoned believer. I hear of people who look and stop because of one bad experience or that don’t look enough because they are easily frustrate. So I thought about giving some tips to help if you ever find yourself looking for a new church. Here are a few things that will help if you are looking for a good church to attend.
1. If you are a new Christian, I always encourage people to stay in the same church for at least a year. This gives you time to develop the basics of your new faith and therefore be able to decide whether or not you even need to find a new church. If you are in a church that preaches Jesus and His word and even if you don’t feel like it is where you need to be, hold off looking until you understand better what God’s desire in you life is. It may be that you are right where you need to be for any number of reasons. Get yourself rooted and grounded in your faith first.
2. Pray. This is the obvious answer, I know. But too many times our search begins with emotions not prayer. God may want you stay right where you and we not have allowed Him to convey that to us. Be specific about your motives, your needs, and your family’s needs, but also be sensitive about the fact that God knows our needs and He will never confuse them with our wants. You want to be sure that God is not keeping you where you can be the solution if there is a problem or might be using a situation to teach you patience. The church should be your family and family doesn’t run away just because you are not happy.
3. Do your homework. Too many times people just drive to the next nearest church or go to the latest big thing in churches. Not that either is wrong, but this is not how to find anything else you are looking for and should not be the way you find a church. Decide what you need and are looking for in a church. If you want a large church with lots of stuff, you don’t need to go to a small country church. Visit websites of churches that you think you might want to visit. Be sure that their doctrine and beliefs are close to yours. Look at style of worship, children’s activity, and small group classes.
4. Pick 2 or 3 to visit. Too many times we bounce from church to church to church and after the third or fourth one we are confused and frustrated. But if you have done your homework you should have a better feel of the ones in your area that meets your needs and can narrow it down to 2 or 3. Visit the first one at least 3 times. Attend a small group and go to the evening and or mid-week service. Get a good feel for who they really are and don’t be afraid to let that church know of your intentions. You want to see if they treat people different if they are just visiting than they do people who have been there a while. Make notes of what you like and don’t like. And then visit the next one and do the same. Do not make these visits on major holidays like Easter and Christmas, because most churches ramp up everything during these times and you are looking for what is normal activity.
5. Try to meet with the pastor privately. This will let you see how interactive he is with his congregation. If you are looking for a very personable pastor and one is hard to reach it might not be for you. This doesn’t mean that the pastor is not caring, it may just be that he is busy, so use common sense there. When you get with him, ask questions about his vision, leadership style, and core beliefs. Most congregations are a reflection of the pastor, so see if they match up. Ask him what his policies are for people getting involved in the type ministry that you are interested in serving in. See if he is someone you can follow because he is the shepherd of that flock.
6. Take a day to talk. If you are married, this would mean you and your spouse, involve the kids if they are old enough but they should not be the deciding factor. If you are single, find a good Christian friend to talk to. Pray for wisdom and seek God’s will for this. I would suggest that this time be a Sunday morning. Yep, don’t go to church that day, but rather seek God’s will for this major decision that you are about to make. I believe if God is leading you that there will be an agreement that happens rather easily. Don’t let a minor thing become a stumbling block, because Satan wants you confused and discouraged. Once you have decided which church that you want to make your home, share that decision with they whole family and or friend.
7. Began to attend regularly. Don’t join immediately, although some churches won’t allow membership until you attend a class for new members, some will let you join right away. Hold off for a month or so just to be sure of your decision. Give, serve, and participate as much as they will allow until you join, but let God confirm this in your heart. Once you decide to join, ask for another meeting with the pastor to let him know your decision and ask the best way to make it public. This does vary from church to church and he will give you the best way to make it public. Tell him that you are ready to serve in the capacity as a member and will follow his leader as he sees fit.
This can be a tough time in a Christians life, but can be very rewarding. You can learn how to hear from God more clearly and strengthen your faith. The local church is important to God and you are an important part of that local church. So follow these things and I believe that you will know God’s place for you and be ready to take part in growing the Body of Christ in your new church family.