My former church is intertwined with Dan Southerland and his methods. Groups of churches in the area have teamed up for sermon series and for work in metro area. It seems such a good thing to get churches together and work on issues in a larger community. However, if churches are being taken over and being lead away from scripture, this linkage can be very dangerous. Please visit Fighting for the Faith and listen to the message I have linked below:
Archive for February, 2010
I ran across a woman who went to another church in our area. She and her husband began to get uncomfortable with small group studies, and also with some of their church teachings. They thought, after their eyes were opened to the misuse of the bible in these studies and in teachings from the pulpit, that discussing it in small group would be a good idea. From what the woman said, they were not trying to cause division but were attempting to point out errors as they had great faith in their church leadership. They brought things up to the leadership, as well as continuing to share their fears with the group. They were shocked the day they were asked to leave their church.
She said that in their next church it was five years before they really could trust enough to serve. They had been shunned by many in their former church, many who had been good friends before the issues were brought up. Some later did apologize to them, and some have left over time.
We had a different experience in that we did not share our issues with many people. We did tell some things to a few friends, and we’ve known a very small number who have left. We do feel though, had we been open to our small group or to more of the leadership we would eventually have been asked to be quiet or leave.
Being shunned hurts. When a person begins to understand how leadership teaches from men’s work rather than from the bible, or uses many methods rather than relying on God’s word and the Holy Spirit, it’s a hard thing to decide what to do. Do you share with others? Will you find someone who understands what your are saying? Will you be accused of being divisive? Will you be asked to leave?
I believe it’s of utmost importance that each person who encounters poor or bad teaching pray first. Spend time thinking how to handle things. Then, don’t worry about the consequences to you so much as what will your voice in this accomplish? Is it about getting even? If it’s about you and your pride, you really have to pause. If it’s about trying to restore people to truth and good doctrine, and you are hoping to help others in the long run, then move forward in wisdom. There are times for open mouths, and times for closed mouths.
We weren’t perfect as we proceeded, but we did try very hard to do the right thing. Looking back, I can see areas we could have improved upon BUT in the long run, I believe we did the right thing overall.
I feel for this woman I met who has gone through such pain in her former church. I pray for other men and women out there just trying to point out the errors and do the right thing.
It happens to pastors too. This article is a great resource.
Our new church has worked out well so far. Our family, having come from a “missional” and “transformational” church with a pastor who is angry when challenged has needed to heal. We’ve really enjoyed coming to church just to hear the bible preached. The church we attend preaches straight through on most every Sunday. We’ve needed this. No pressure to join a small group every week, no projects and slick presentations. No recycling of themes just in case we’re too dumb to get the message. It’s all about the bible, all about study.
There recently was a reminder that we cannot just be hearers only though, but doers, and there are churches being planted. There are missionaries to support. Most of all, there are needs in the body, and that seems to be the biggest way service is done. Prayer is very important too, with prayers in service several times, several times a week we get a prayer/praise email with real messages from the body. This little church takes prayer very seriously.
Verse by verse, it’s a theme that goes beyond the pulpit. We’re still in John, it’s been over a year, and we’re not halfway through yet in the weekly services. In bible study we’re going through Revelation. The pastor teaching this has been doing it for weeks and we’re still on the very first verses. It’s refreshing, some may think it’s boring, but to me it’s great to get all the background. We don’t attend on Sunday night, it is a service for the body. They get together for a lesson in proverbs. Next they divide into groups such as teens, a bible club for the younger children, and something for the adults. I know special choirs practice also on Sunday night. I also know something goes on Wednesday night, we haven’t investigated. There are also small groups meeting everywhere. There is also a class in the week called the “bible institute” and I believe it’s a very in depth class in the bible but also possibly including church history. I’m a bit fuzzy though it’s brought up every once in a while.
This church is also a place for Deaf people. There is an interpreter for everything in the service, actually there are several. They trade off, and will interpret every word spoken from the pulpit. If needed in a bible study, they are there too. If a song is played with no words, the words of the song are still up on the screen in front or a bible passage is printed.
I believe some time our next step needs to be getting into more in this church. We have avoided small group. Part of this is because our schedule is busy, however, it’s always been busy before and at our former churches (since we began as married people) we’ve always been in a small group. However, I recall the important thing to me was not the fellowship alone, but bible study. I do think that was a need in the churches I attended before. I did need the fellowship and friendships before, but small group was where I tried my hardest to push bible study. I know now I did this because I needed to be fed somewhere, I wasn’t getting it from the pulpit like I should (not that missional/transformational churches don’t ever preach from the bible, they do and you can get SOME food there…but not nearly what I needed to grow). The church we attend now has a pulpit rich in “spiritual food.” Rich. So, I believe small group can actually be more of a social time, a time to be in fellowship, to serve one another and be served. We probably should seek this out next fall, and arrange our lives for it. We should find a group that includes kids, our kids need to get to know others in the church. I have a sneaky feeling though, that small group in this church is not like what I’ve experienced since we got a few friends together years ago and went verse by verse through John every week on our own. One was a seminary student, and we just really studied the bible…evangelized to friends we brougth with us who weren’t Christians, and enjoyed one another. No book themes, no marketing, no projects, just study.