Reversing The Decline #1Dealing With The Decline, Praise & Harmony / Worship Tuesday, March 13th, 2012
In response to the article Questioning The Decline, regarding the recent rapid decline in the church, I thought it would be helpful to address potential solutions in a spirit of love and cooperation. After all, the church was born at the price of the blood of God’s Son – - sealing her value as inestimable. I have decided to reference your comments and continue our dialog with your prayerful contributions. Let’s examine several topics in this series over the coming days, with the hope of arriving at a better understanding of God’s answers. I was deeply moved by your stories and was reminded of how we need to revisit the mission of Jesus. So. let’s start there. Shouldn’t the mission of the church match her Founder and Head? Are we “majoring in minor things” and “minoring in major things?”
Here’s an example that has impressed me lately. Does your congregation have a “Celebrate Recovery” ministry? Our home congregation has a vibrant CR ministry and I’ve been blessed every time I’ve attended. In fact, my repeated impressions have been, “This is how church is supposed to be,” and “This is how all of us should worship.” One cannot help but be moved by the passion and expression of Christians praising God with a total dependence and abandon — reminding me of the woman with the alabaster jar at the feet of Jesus — Authentic, transparent, heart-felt worship is difficult to miss. I bring up Celebrate Recovery because, much more than a tired cliche’, I believe that the church is to be a “hospital for sinners,” not a “country club for saints.” The CR assemblies (and ministries like CR) are regularly accompanied with serious sessions and effective strategies to deal with spiritual healing.
Our hearts break to hear of precious people who have been rejected and abandoned by the church. I thought we’d start with this topic in our series of discussions. Are churches effectively ministering to the broken-hearted and to those with special challenges? Why do so many feel abandoned and neglected?
16 He (Jesus) went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”[f]
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:16-20
Here’s an article by Bobby Valentine that articulates what all disciples need to hear: http://stoned-campbelldisciple.blogspot.com/2010/10/jesus-mission-our-mission-and-logic-of.html
Are we helping people connect with truly “Good News?” Are seekers finding healing and freedom? In short, do our ministries resemble the ministry of Jesus? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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