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Illustration results for church community fellowship

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Craig Cramblet
 
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August 1999 Landover, Maryland

100 years of Christian fellowship, unity, and community outreach ended last Tuesday in an act of congregational discord. Holy Creek Baptist Church was split into multiple factions.
The source of dissension is a piano bench which still sits behind the 1923 Steinway piano to the left of the pulpit. Members and friends at Holy Creek Baptist say that the old bench was always a source of hostility. People should have seen this coming.

At present, Holy Creek Congregation will be having four services each Sunday. There has been an agreement mediated by an outside pastor so that each faction will have it’s own separate service with it’s own separate pastor. Since the head pastor is not speaking to the associate pastors, each will have their own service, which will be attended by factioned members. The services are far enough apart that neither group will come into contact with the other. An outside party will be moving the piano bench to different locations and appropriate positions, between services, so as to please both sides, and avoid any further conflict that could result in violence.



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[Home] Copyright 1999/C.Harper .



 
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DISUNITY STORIES

A man was stranded on an island. Alone for a number of years. Finally he was located and some people came ashore to rescue him. Before they took him off the island, he wanted to show them around. He took them to his hut and said "This is the home I built with my own 2 hands." Then he showed them to another building and he said "This is the church I built with my own 2 hands." Then someone in the group said "Hey, what's that building over there?" And the man replied "That's where I used to go to church."

I don't know how it is in other parts of the world, but it seems like this is the American way. 2 cars, 2 kids, a dog and half a dozen churches we used to attend.

This isn't bad necessarily. There are times when God would have us move on, take our gifts, abilities, resources and energy and use them to serve another body of believers.
But too often selfishness, pride, unforgiveness, a mentality that the church exists to meet my needs prevails and we become disgruntled, we divide and there is disunity for the wrong reasons. Disunity grieves the heart of God and brings dishonor to his name.

I read about a church where there was division and it began over an argument at a potluck supper when a lady brought a congealed salad she made with Cool Whip instead of real whipping cream.

Churches have divided over whether the pianist should sit to the right or the left side of the podium, over whether the Lord's Supper should be served from the front to the back or the back to the front, over trying to decide whether a kitchen should be a part of the church building or not.

One church split over who was the real pastor. They had two pastors. Two groups thought they each had their own guy, and both of them got up to lead a service one Sunday. Both led the singing. Both groups tried to out-sing each other. Then both pastors started preaching, trying to out-preach each other. Finally, they just broke out into fisticuffs, and the police had to come in and break it up.

This from Landover, Maryland, August 1999:

100 years of Christian fellowship, unity, and community outreach ended last Tuesday in an act of congregational discord. Holy Creek Baptist Church was split into multiple factions.

The source of dissension is a piano bench which still sits behind the 1923 Steinway piano to the left of the pulpit. Members and friends at Holy Creek Baptist say that the old bench was always a source of hostility. People should have seen this coming.

At present, Holy Creek Congregation will be having four services each Sunday. There has been an agreement mediated by an outside pastor so that each faction will have it's own separate service with it's own separate pastor. Since the head pastor is not speaking to the associate pastors, each will have their own service, which will be attended by factioned members. The services are far enough apart that neither group will come into contact with the other. An outside party will be moving the piano bench to different locations and appropriate positions, between services, so as to please both sides, and avoid any further conflict that could result in violence.

(From a sermon by Bret Toman, Unity For the Glory of God, 1/3/2011)

 
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Influential Churches The Church Report Magazine has published their annual list of the 50 most influential churches in America. 2006’s most influential church is Willow Creek Community Church. #2 is Saddleback, #3 Northpoint (Andy Stanley); #4 Fellowship Church (Ed Young); #5 Lakewood Church (Joel Osteen); #6 Southeast Christian (Bob Russell; Dave Stone); #7 Life Church (Craig Groeschel); #8 Potter’s House (T. D. Jakes); #9 Brooklyn Tabernacle (Jim Cymbala); and #10 North Coast Church (Larry Osborne). Visit www.thechurchreport.com for the complete list. (The Church Report 7/06)

 
Contributed By:
John  Williams III
 
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SUSTAINING FELLOWSHIP- COMMUNION MEDITATION

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor and theologian who was an enemy of the Nazis because he refused to go along with their state idea of a church that practiced the anti-semitism of the Nazis. In fact, he was a hunted man who upheld authentic Christian principles. As a part of the German underground he was not safe to worship openly. Bonhoeffer knew there was no other community and fellowship like that experienced within the Body of Christ. He said: "Baptism incorporates us into the unity of the Body of Christ, and the Lord’s supper fosters and sustains our fellowship and communion … in that Body". During the Nazi reign, Bonhoeffer was cut off from other believers, and it took a toll on him. Donald LaSuer says "Bonhoeffer’s painful discovery is instructive for us. Cut off from the nurturing fellowship of other Christians, he felt a deeper hunger for the fellowship that was no longer available to him. Like a hungry man who knows the taste of bread though he can no longer reach and break from the loaf, he knew the power of fellowship when it was painfully absent".

We we come to communi...

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Contributed By:
Timothy Craver
 
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DON'T SPLIT OVER COFFEE

Chuck Swindoll, in his book The Grace Awakening, writes of a church that had a vibrant ministry and was having a powerful impact on their community. But then, a disagreement began to form. While it seemed small and insignificant at first, it grew and grew until the church was sharply divided. When it was apparent that this issue could not be solved in a manner that would be suitable to every one, half of the congregation left to form their own church. Today, while both churches still exist, neither has the outreach ministry that they did before.

Would you like to know what the disagreement was over? Well, it seems that the church, after their services, would have a time of fellowship with coffee and light refreshments. The disagreement was over whether the coffee should be served by the back door or in the fellowship hall. An issue that small and petty destroyed what had been a great ministry.

For more from Chuck, visit http://www.insight.org

 
Contributed By:
Thomas Cash
 
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TRAMPLED IN THE CHURCH

An African proverb says, "When elephants fight, grass gets trampled." Elephants do not throw their weight around for nothing. The average African elephant weighs 16,534 lbs. The largest elephant on record weighed about 24,000 pounds and was 13 feet tall! Wild elephants eat all types of vegetation, from grass and fruit to leaves and bark— about 220 to 440 pounds each day. They also drink about 30 gallons of water each day.

Building a church is hard enough without bigger than life characters causing a stampede. Often, there are conflicts, disagreements and misunderstandings. The church at Corinth had been nurtured by two of the world’s greatest evangelists: Paul and Apollos. Their individual followers were displeased with each other, disrespected each other, and distant from each other. This strained the fellowship in the church, neglected the work of the gospel, hurt the name of the church in the community, and destroyed any hope of possible reconciliation.

 
Contributed By:
Brad Beaman
 
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I remember sitting on an evangelism committee in Inverness Scotland and talking about ways to reach the Kinmylies community. One of the suggestions was to begin a new work. From that point things began to develop until the work formed as a new Church. They called their own pastor and made their own decisions. I was excited to be a part of that from the very beginning. It was exciting to be one of the first ones to preach there in a little mission church that was growing and meeting the needs of the people. Being at this church start from the beginning gave me an emotional attachment for the believers there.

In seminary I went to Iowa to begin a new work in church planting. We began by knocking on doors. We talked to people about the Lord Jesus and invited them to be part of a new worship. We watched the group develop as people began to meet for Bible study. We started worship services in the community center. This fellowship began to grow and when we left one of the members took on the leadership. I was involved from the beginning and it gave me an emotional tie there.

That is the kind of powerful emotional bond that Paul writes with. Think how much we rejoice with our own mission church. I received a call Friday from the Mission Church pastor that they had won a family to the Lord and this new family is now coming to their church. We rejoice and there is an emotional tie. Paul loved the church in Philippi. He was expressing his love to them through a letter.

 
Contributed By:
Bill Huffhine
 
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There were very few of these episodes that you could consider emotionally touching. But I do remember one. Gilligan had gotten his feelings hurt and decided to move away to the other side of the Island to live alone in a cave. Immediately, this became a miserable existence for Gilligan—he was all alone. But also miserable for everyone else on the island—one of their own was no longer among them, in fellowship with them...and there was a terrible void. They missed him at the dinner table. They missed his jokes, his laughter, his gentleness. They even missed his clumsy screw-ups. I think at one point in the episode they were sitting around the dinner table taking turns talking about the specific things they missed about him. So what did they do? I think it began with Skipper. He decided to leave the rest and go live with Gilligan so he wouldn’t be alone. Then another person did the same. Then another. Until finally, all seven people were together again on the other side of the island in Gilligan’s cave. In true spiritual community, we either make it together, or we don’t make it...at least not in a healthy way.

Here’s a fun exercise for you to do when you have time. Use your concordance and find all of the scriptures from Acts to Revelation in which you find the word “together” and see what early Christians did “together.” Here’s a sampling: Meeting together. Praying together. Sharing material thi...

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Contributed By:
Paul Fritz
 
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A survey of hundreds of pastors has allowed us to compile a preliminary list of measurable quality factors in the life of a congregation in ranking order. The twelve factors are:

1. Bible knowledge. Church members are increasing in their grasp of the teachings of the Bible. They can integrate this with a theological system that enables them to apply the Bible’s teachings to their life situation.
2. Personal devotions. Members spend time daily in prayer, Bible reading, meditation, and other personal spiritual exercises.
3. Worship. Members regularly participate in the worship services scheduled by the church.
4. Witnessing. Members regularly attempt to share their faith in Jesus Christ with unbelievers.
5. Lay ministry. The lay people of the church are engaged in such ministries as teaching and discipling. In some cases this happens through consciously discovering, developing, and using their spiritual gifts.
6. Missions. The church actively supports missions, organizing and sustaining a strong program for recruiting, sending, and financing home and foreign missionaries.
7. Giving. Members give an appropriate portion of their income to the local church and/or to other Christian causes.
8. Fellowship. Members are growing in their personal relationships with each other through regular participation in church fellowship groups of one kind or another.
9. Distinctive life-style. Members generally manifest their faith in Christ by living a life-style clearly and noticeable distinct from that of non-Christians in the same community.
10. Attitude toward religion. Church members regard their involvement in the church primarily as a service to God rather than a means to fulfill personal needs.
11. Social service. Members are serving others outside the congregation. This includes direct personal involvement with the poor and needy, or in programs designed to help the needy.
12. Social justice. Either through the congregation as a whole or through specialized Christian agencies, members are striving to make changes in sociopolitical structures that will contribute to a more moral and just society.

C. Peter Wagner, Leading Your Church to Growth, Regal Books, 1984, pp. 25-27.

 
Contributed By:
Bart Leger
 
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Daniel L. Crocker, 39, turned himself in. As a Christian, he said, it was the right thing to do. Mr. Crocker lived with his wife of 11 years, Nicolette, 36, and their two children in a quiet community near Dulles Airport in Virginia. He was a warehouse manager and his wife was a stay-at-home mom, home schooling Isaac, 9, and Analiese, 8. They had come to the area from California seven years earlier. They were active in Fairfax Assembly of God church. But Mr. Crocker was living with a terrible secret. When he was 19 and on drugs in Kansas City, Kansas he sexually assaulted and killed 19 year-old Tracy Fresquez. He told his wife before they were married, blaming it on the drug influence. Over the years, they struggled with how to reconcile the slaying with their faith. He had asked God’s forgiveness, but the burden seemed to get heavier as time passed by. The showdown came when Mr. Crocker began ministering to an inmate as part of his church’s prison outreach. “How can you go and visit this man and tell him all about God, and you know in your heart that you should be there too?” Mrs. Crocker asked him after one of the visits. For the next several weeks Mr. Crocker deliberated over how he should turn himself in. Then, with the help of a Prison Fellowship official, Kansas authorities were contacted and Crocker surrendered. He quit his job and explained to his children what had happened. The family prayed together and read from the Bible. The children cried and begged their daddy, “Don’t do...

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