Adventures in thinking

The following are thoughts I have about the Case Study set forth by Mr. Locke. Please read that first to get the most of this:

First and foremost, it is a difficult situation with much based in traditions and comfort of doing things the same way. I think this church would be best served to look into the Biblical definitions of elders, deacons, pastors (what little is written specifically about that, but take the 5-fold ministry leaders as a guide because pastors are part of that), etc. and be prepared to reevaluate the traditions. After all, we must strive to do what the Bible says and not so much what our traditions say if they conflict. The pastor should be the head of the church and the others should be advisors, not govern-by-vote. If that were the correct method then when Moses came down from the mountain and “everyone” wanted the Golden-Calf-Religion he would have agreed.

It is indeed difficult to move those “set in their ways” into a new thinking, but show what the Word says and give them the opportunity to accept or reject it… then you must act accordingly for your own life. If necessary, be prepared to go elsewhere if they don’t share your love for following the Word. It sounds hard but the alternative is to live in a way that’s untrue to your beliefs and your Lord. Jan definitely has a tough road ahead of her.

The youth meeting definitely allows a unique opportunity to minister to the kids not available in the main meeting… but this doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. The alternate day has merit but the youth leader MUST promote the main service and explain its place in the Body or they will never go.

Do not diminish what Jim does for the kids. It IS important, but how important is the celebration of communion and the message of the pastor God has placed as head of the congregation?

One goal must be to include the youth into the main body and not have this disconnect. One way to do this may be to have the youth prepare the communion and come up to serve communion during service… if the church allows that. Some have different beliefs about communion and who can prepare it and without knowing the beliefs I may be suggesting something inappropriate for that church. I have seen it work well in the past because kids usually respond better to “I’m giving you responsibility and the opportunity to be a part of this big thing.” than “I’m getting you out of my hair for a couple of hours.”

Instead of comparing a “poorly administered communion service” to a Sunday School class I would suggest trying to obtain the excellence that should always be our goal as Christians and improve anything that was poor. If the communion service has the potential to mis-educate then it needs to be stopped, studied, prayed about, and done right. Period. The job of the pastor is to equip the saints and mis-education is deadly.

Youth are indeed less tolerant of hollow tradition and this is the problem with many of our churches today… instead of seeking the abundant life Jesus came to give us they follow their traditions that even Jesus condemned when they are their own end.

Perhaps people see Eucharist as hollow because they don’t understand the significance. The fact that Jesus sat at the place prepared for the Messiah and took the bread from the middle pouch (Jews think of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – Christians say Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) and that He did not partake but will when we are together again, etc. I’m not pointing fingers at pastors but some of them could make it more interesting than just doing the motions.

If the church members as a whole have an apathy and it’s not traced to hollow presentations then it is a spiritual influence that must be broken. Apathy is rampant and deadly to one’s spiritual life. Not everyone will jump up and cheer at communion time but if everyone just doesn’t care then either they are spiritually stiffled or in the wrong place. Again, it sounds hard but not everyone in church is there for the reasons they should be. Someone looking to buy a fire-insurance policy by going to church will not be excited by anything but dying and not going to hell.

One final thing about communion itself is that, in my opinion, many people see it as “something to get through” because it is approached as a thing we have to do. “Oh yeah, it’s the first Sunday of the month so we have to do communion today.” There have been times that I’ve seen my own pastor postpone communion because the worship service was so powerful that it went longer than usual or other things. Communion is an act of obedience and remembrance, not a thing we have to do because it’s a certain day. There have been times that our pastor wanted to serve us or we went up to get it instead of our usual method of the ushers bringing it to be passed down the aisles.

The solution of extending service is a good one, and probably the best for this scenario, but there are many more issues for this church to cope with such as a youth leader telling the pastor “no way” instead of submitting and the “either/or” thinking that the kids will have Sunday School or leave when the truth is that there are many ways to engage them otherwise. Why not let them help illustrate a sermon or do a skit during the worship service.

Of course, if I was a pastor I would probably run everyone off because I’ll believe something unless they can show me in the Word otherwise and churches were never set up for boards to dictate to the pastor what they would or would not do. A pastor in that kind of setting deserves extra honor for sure!

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.