Summary: Part 2 of message series regarding the purposes of the church.
Church - It’s Not About You!
September 19, 2004
Today we look at part 2 of our little mini-series entitled, "Church - It’s Not About You!
The point of the series is to help us understand that the church is more than the service, and that the service is meant to help us worship in ways that allow God to transform us as well as be understandable and relatable to those outside the family of God.
The gist of last week’s message was that we need to think of the church in terms of God and His kingdom, not our personal agendas, nor even denominational ones.
Today we continue those thoughts by looking at today’s main question:
How should the church operate in the world
The answer to that is rather simple, and you can fill in the blanks in your note-taking guide as I give you what I believe is the answer
We build a positive reputation while tearing down barriers to faith.
So let’s talk about these a little bit more and break them down a little bit, shall we?
And let’s start by looking at what it means to build a positive reputation in the community.
Building a positive reputation in the community:
Why is this important? Why should we be concerned with how people view us and our church?
Because God cares. The Bible says that God is jealous of His reputation, and we are to reflect His character and reputation as much as possible.
Romans 2 tells us that when a body of believers doesn’t have a positive reputation, when it’s reputation is marred by hypocrisy, God’s name is blasphemed.
A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
1. Celebrate God in Spirit and Truth.
This section was really where I thought I would be camping for the two messages, but the more I thought and prayed, the more I was convinced that I needed to remind us that church is so much more than the worship service.
The service is only one part of what the church is about, but how we "do" church can make a huge difference on the reputation a church can have.
Like it or not, guests will judge us almost exclusively on how we worship during Sunday mornings.
And if we want to touch those who live, breath, and work in the 21st century, then we need to worship in ways that communicate to our current time.
This is why we sing choruses as well as hymns. This is one of the reasons we are looking to add video projection. People today are much more visual than ever. We need to communicate visually if we hope to reach people today.
We put note-taking guides in our bulletins. I’d love to think that you all remember every word of my sermons from one week to the next. But even I can’t remember them from week to week, so the note-taking guides are a help.
They also serve to help me make sure the messages are actually helpful and applicable.
My point in all this is that our worship service needs to be done in such a way that the vast majority of people who come will be able to understand and participate in a way that is relevant to them.
Why? Because we want others to see people who truly love Jesus, who can worship in spirit and truth and live for Him the rest of the week.
Someone might say, "Well, if they don’t like the way we do it, they can go somewhere else."
First of all, that’s hardly loving, and is not very Christ-like. Second, they generally don’t go somewhere else - they just don’t go anywhere.
The second way we build a positive reputation in the community is for the people in the church to...
2. Act like a family. Fellowship
The church is a family, not just a social gathering. We are to build up the family and its members, not tear it apart for the sake of our own agendas.
We did that enough as kids, right? Right? Was it just MY family growing up? I don’t think so. Oh Lowell, the stories your folks have told me about you and Craig...
Let’s focus on building up the family.
The third way to gain that positive reputation for the church is to...
3. Intentionally live Christlike lives.
Are you catching the pattern here? This is probably at least vaguely familiar if you were here during the 40 Days of Purpose campaign, and of course, you can see the banners on the wall.
How many times have I mentioned that Jesus expects us to live our lives for Him, 24/7, not just in church? Some of you might be thinking, "Too many times, PB!"