Summary: What makes a good church?
The Good Church
March 27, 2011
What makes a church a good church?
Does it have anything to do with what they offer?
Does a good church have a good youth program or nursery area?
Do they serve coffee before the services?
Does a good church have a nice building and theater seats?
Do they have stained glass windows and use an organ?
Do they have a good praise team or choir?
Is it big?
Is it bigger?
Is it biggest?
Is it small?
It it smaller?
Is it smallest?
Do they serve the community?
Do they have a good reputation?
What makes a good church?
The trouble is that there are so many churches with so many differences that it’s hard to stereotype them into good and bad churches. I think there might be a better question to ask: what makes a church obedient?
This morning we’re going to look at just a few of the characteristics of what makes a good church. These certainly aren’t the only things, but they’re some of the most important.
Let’s look in our Bibles at First Peter 5. The first thing we’ll see that makes a church a good church is:
The pastor willingly and eagerly feeds and protects the flock (:1-2)
The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2Feed the flock of God which is among you,
The elders are the pastors/teachers of the churches. They’re charged with feeding the flock. Now what does that mean?
Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby (I Peter 2:1-2).
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4).
Shepherds are responsible to make sure their sheep have plenty of food, and the pastor is charged with making sure the “sheep” in the church have plenty of spiritual food.
taking the oversight thereof,
It’s not uncommon today for people to think of pastors as the CEOs of a company. He makes all the decisions and keeps everything running in top shape. But is that what this verse says to do?
Maybe I’ll do a study on it one day, but it seems to me that deacons (or at least servants) were appointed to do the general running of the administrative affairs:
And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 2Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. 3Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 4But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word (Acts 6:1-4).
So what’s the pastor responsible to do? How does a shepherd oversee the sheep? Well, primarily he makes sure they have food and water, and he makes sure they’re safe from wild beasts and other dangers.
In verse 8 he’ll say that the devil is a prowling lion seeking someone to devour.
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears (Acts 20:28-31).
The pastors are supposed to make sure the sheep have plenty of food and make sure wolves and lions (false teachers, etc.) don’t ravage the flock.
And look how we’re to do it:
not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
You know, there are a lot of headaches that come with being a pastor, but for all the frustrations and difficulties it’s pure joy.
I don’t do this job because I’m forced to do it; I do it willingly. I’m not in it for the money; I do it eagerly, and if I could I’d do it for free.
This is a great mark of a good church. Not that the pastor has his hands over everything or that he runs the church—the pastor feeds the sheep and protects them from danger.