Summary: A sermon on 7 catch phrases or sayings of the church. Some talk about problems and some talk about solutions (Outline and some content adapted from Wally Seibel's sermon on Sermon Central called "Countdown to Church")
Sermon for 6/6/2010
7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
One time a preacher had a children’s minute with the children before the sermon. He called them upfront and he spoke about the ingredients required to make up a church, using a chocolate chip cookie as an example. He explained to the children that, as with a cookie requiring ingredients such as sugar and eggs, the church needed ingredients to make up the congregation. Holding the cookie high, he asked, “If I took the chocolate chips out of this cookie, what would I have?” A 6 year old girl raised her hand. “Six less grams of fat,” she replied.
North America is the only continent on earth where Christianity is not growing.
Only 17.5% of the population of the US attends church on a regular Sunday.
During the 1990’s there was a 19.4% decline in church attendance.
85% of churches in America are plateaued or declining.
Only 12% of children raised in Bible Believing churches stay in the church after age 18.
With our large population of unchurched individuals, we are the 4th largest mission field.
If this is all true, why is it, and what can we do about it?
Cannot give a complete answer to all of this, but there are some catch phrases that maybe can help us in response to all of this.
Some of these phrases explain the problems, and some give solutions.
Thesis: These phrases can be grouped by the amount of words in them: 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1
“We’ve Never Done It That Way Before”
A. When Martin Luther said, “Let’s worship God in our own language.” Many said, “We’ve never done it that way before.”
B. When Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone said, “Let’s just call ourselves Christians or Disciples of Jesus Christ and no longer by denominational names.” Many said, “”We’ve never done it that way before.”
C. I love history and I must say that yes it was done that way before. In the New Testament world and many years thereafter, either a follower of Jesus Christ or not. In ancient times, the prominent language was Greek and so the New Testament was in Greek, not Latin.
E. (Mark 7:5 NIV) So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, "Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with 'unclean' hands?"(Mark 7:6 NIV) He replied, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: "'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. (Mark 7:7 NIV) They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'(Mark 7:8 NIV) You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men."
“We’ve Always Done It That Way Before”
A. People have poor memories and forget why they do what they do.
C. the history of services provided by many churches. Sunday evening, come to the city church and enjoy the lights. Wednesday night prayer meetings came out of the prayer revival movement before the Civil War. Sunday school came from England because the poor children there couldn’t read. Many of us don’t know the original reasons why these services began but we keep them going because, “We’ve Always Done It That Way Before”. Most churches used to have a long Sunday morning service because some of the people had to come a distance and had no cars. Could we imagine a service that would last 2 or more hours? Oh the horror!
D. These sayings illustrate that many churches are unwilling to think about something new and different. They just want to maintain the traditions. We close our minds to the reality and the possibilities of the moment.
“This is my church, not yours.”
A. What this is saying, “I have been here all my life, and you are the new comer, so I don’t have to give any credibility to what you say.”
B. Many great ideas come from new people but many times those ideas are squashed.
C. We are all members of the church and everyone should have a voice. (James 2:9 NIV) But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
D. whose church is this anyway? This is the church of Christ.
E. We say that anyone who believes, repents, confesses, and is baptized is my brother and sister, no conditions, no barriers, no one more important than another.
“My way, or the highway” or “My way, or I go.”
A. We don’t need to be held hostage by these terrorists. Now we need to do things the Bible way but beyond that we have no right to demand that others do it our way. As Ronald Reagan used to say “We do not negotiate with terrorists.”