Posts tagged ‘salvations’

September 7, 2011

I Can’t Hear You!

by pastortimfowler

When I was a kid one of my favorite TV shows was Gomer Pyle USMC. Gomer was a dufus who got on his sergeant’s nerves because he smiled at everything. One of the things that you heard from Sgt. Carter every episode was, “I can’t hear you!!” Old drill sergeants were always yelling to get you to yell back.
So, this morning I was finishing up reading the OT book of Nehemiah and toward the end, when the city walls had been rebuilt and the people were moving back to the city, it says that the people of God were praising and worshiping God so loudly that folks outside the city could hear them. In the book of Ezra it says that when the foundation for the temple had been laid, that the shouts of praise could be heard far away.
Last Saturday I went to the opening game of USC Gamecock Football season. I love college football and have to be careful how I act. We had an obnoxious fan from the other team sitting in front of us for this game and he was very loud when his team started winning early in the game. But once we got on track, things changed and the crowd went crazy and so did I. I was told that you could hear the cheering all throughout the downtown area.
In our church we have a children’s area that is separated from the worship center by a greeting area. It is not a very large area, but it does provide a buffer so that the babies in the nursery can sleep and the kids can have their lesson taught without the teacher having to yell. Our praise band is incredible. They are talented and inspired to make music that sings out praises to God. They do play loud and that is another benefit to having that separation from the children’s area. We have a great sound system that can blast out the music like you wouldn’t believe.
Every Sunday we try to follow the biblical command to “build the church”. We are told that this happens one soul at a time as people get saved. I can’t tell you how blown away I am as the pastor when week after week, new people come to know Jesus as Savior. I can’t remember the last time that we had a Sunday worship time that someone did not join the family of God. So here is my dilemma.
Why is there not an earth shattering outburst of praise every Sunday? Our band is great and the music is in worship to God, the lover of our souls, and He responds to our praise and the preaching by adding to the family. There should be an overwhelming emotional response, right? Please don’t take this as fussing, I am really wanting to understand this lack of enthusiasm. There is absolutely no biblical evidence that we should be reserved in our response to God. I can list time after time of instances in the Bible where people were praising God so enthusiastically that folks heard them over everything else that was going on.
We don’t have a problem cheering loudly for our team when they win. We don’t have a problem cheering our favorite band at a concert. We don’t have a problem cheering at our kids play at school. But at church we become very refined and unresponsive to what is truly a supernatural move of God. I am as guilty as the rest, some times. But I do try to lead by example. I have been accused of getting a bit rowdy when I preach, and I will clap and lift my hands while the band plays. But at the end, when the invitation is given and people make that life changing decision to trust God for salvation, the silence is disturbing. I know we need to be reverent to the immediate time of response, but afterward, I think the celebration should begin. I think it is time to wake the babies and cause the neighbors to call the police. Wouldn’t it be wild to have the news lead off with the story of churches all across America disturbing the peace each Sunday around 12 noon?
Let me challenge you to put your game face on Sunday. Become a cheer leader for Jesus. Forget about the refined people in church and act like those in the Bible who were truly thrilled to see God do something. If you want to be quiet, go to a church where God is not saving a soul, but if you are in a place where He is saving people, CELEBRATE! Because what if God is saying “I CAN”T HEAR YOU!” and we are saying “SHHHH, you’ll wake the babies?

March 19, 2011

Some people are just clueless

by pastortimfowler

I have the privilege of being the pastor of one of the greatest churches that I have ever seen. I know that is said by many pastors, but I think that I have the statistics to validate it. And yet there are still some who find fault and make claims that we are not all that. Some people are clueless.
We average about 120 on Sunday mornings when you count children and workers in the nursery and children’s areas. Today during a work day where we started at 9am and did not finish until 2pm, there were as many as 25 people working at any one time. 20% of your church doing anything volunteer is a lot. We have about 65% of our church attending a small group on any given week. The average church only has about 25% attend Sunday School, which we don’t have, but it is still a small group no matter what you call it.
Last year we had a slow and rather rough year for our church. We only baptized about 40 people. Most churches our size would love to see 12 baptized. This year we have already seen 18 salvations and many of them will be baptized soon. Our membership is growing because people are taking ownership. You see members have rights but owners have responsibilities. Only 1 or 2 Sundays this years have we not seen a new family or person visiting our church. Many of those are choosing to stay and are bringing their friends.
Our giving, which is a sore spot for many churches to talk about has increased by almost 50% this year alone. Ministries are being started and funded and are healthy in all areas. Considering the average age of our church is probably 30-35, and most are people who are new Christians or people who were hurt in a previous church and are just coming back, that financial status is amazing. It often takes people a while to trust God with their finances.
Despite all this and I know I can share more, there are still one or two who would say that we are not doing things right and not what they would like to see in a church. I would like to say that they are not in many of the amazing statistics that I just shared either, so it is no wonder that they are clueless.
My job as pastor is to love the folks that God has given me to watch over. To teach them about the love and grace of God. To encourage them to serve and to tell others about their church and their Savior. But not to kiss butt, babysit, or play favorites. Oh yeah, I have the responsibility of protecting our church even from someone who refuses to see the good and only point out the negative and to try to do so with love.
As long as there are people in churches, there will be imperfections. My prayer is that eyes will be open to look at the good and speak loudly about it, and to see the negative and find solutions if there is a problem and to be quiet unless you are part of the solution. We are different by choice and that can be hard to understand, but we love the Lord and love each other and even love those who think we don’t care.
I hope that you don’t read this and start thinking of who I could be talking about. Most will never know. Many pastors face this same thing but far greater than I ever have at The Body. My goal is to love more, forgive more, teach more, offer solutions to problems and not complain. That is what most everyone in our church does and I can’t be more proud!
But some people are clueless.