“Today, the questions in the church are different. In the church, as in much of life, “Who benefits?” is more important than the validity of certain beliefs. So the primary question becomes, “How can the church benefit me?” For this reason we see persons “shopping’ for congregations that can provide the most.” – Joe E. Pennel Jr. “God, Cornbread, and Elvis”
Pastor Pennel also states, “AS TIME PASSES, questions change. Back in the 1960s when I became a pastor, the primary faith question was, “Is it true?” College students, teachers, scientists, and others wanted to know the truth as presented by Christianity. Study groups, classes, conferences, and conversations went on and on about the convictions and claims of Christianity. …”
When we read the Word of God it spans thousands of years. When we read the words and opinion of Pastor Pennel he snapshots maybe 60 years or less. It sounds like we are facing a church that has veered in dangerous waters in less than 60 years. This type of thinking and reporting really gets my attention. My question that’s looking for an answer. Does either church, ‘the back in the 60’s or ‘the now church’ either model the church of over 2,000 years ago? If so, in what way?
19 thoughts on “Church Shopping”
” My question that’s looking for an answer. Does either church, ‘the back in the 60’s or ‘the now church’ either model the church of over 2,000 years ago? ” the “now church…..”who benefits” “the 60’s church…..is it true?” Maybe we could consider what the church 2000 years ago modeled, to help us try and answer this question???
Great thinking, Tammy…let’s start our list. I have been somewhat intimidated to really face the church of its beginnings.
I believe we could start with Romans 12. Read and let us know if you agree Tammy and others. Then we could see how our church aligns with Paul’s writings.
Just read Romans 12……. Yes, excellent start to our list. The last verse seems to sum it up, doesn’t it? “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Boy, applying the list is a whole other story, isn’t it?😬😱Heavenly Father, help me to walk in obedience to Your precious Word, in Jesus name.✝🙏
“Read and let us know if you agree Tammy and others. ” Yes I agree. And also agree with Tammy’s comment about ‘applying’.
In the version of Romans 12 that I read they broke up the verses into three headings,” Living Sacrifices to God, Serve God with Spiritual Gifts, Behave Like a Christian”…those look like all verbs, all action, all applying.
Tammy you wrote, “Maybe we could consider what the church 2000 years ago modeled, “…and Sara, you suggested, “let’s start our list”.
I thought these three verses about the early church related to “Who benefits” and “shopping’ for congregations that can provide the most.” ”
The Apostle Paul from the early church provided advice: “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too”. Philippians 2:3, 4
The physician Luke observed and reported about the early church that: “All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had.” Acts 4:32
And Jesus, the Cornerstone of the early church instructed the disciples: “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
I also wanted to share something from one of Sara’s books. “Throwing Your Light Forward, Relationship, Friendship and Fellowship” that I thought about when reading this blog. I think it relates.
“Many of us can remember President Kennedy and his famous words that linger with us years after his death. (“…my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”) ….Sara went on to say, “…what do these words mean to us? “Ask not what your Friend can do for you but what you can do for your Friend.”
” Ask not what your fellowship can do for you but what you can do for your Fellowship.”
“Ask not what your relationship can do for you but what you can do for your Relationship.”
and…. “Ask what we can do together for the freedom of Relationship, Fellowship and Friendship.”
My House shall be called a house of prayer says, the Head of The Church. Matthew 21 records it like this…” vs 12) Then Jesus went into the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those selling doves. 13) And He declared to them, “It is written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer.’ But you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” 14) The blind and the lame came to Him at the temple, and He healed them.…And,
In the body of Christ, the Church, in prayer we recognize we are not alone when we pray. Our prayer connects us to all who have gone before and who will come after us. Prayer joins our voices with “angels and archangels who forever sing the hymns of praise.” It is the prayer that we say in unison, shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart, with the whole church.
And, then we have communion to think on….
The more I meditate on, “is it true” and “who benefits”……they both sound Bibical church to me if it is to teach and live the word of God without denomination walls of rules etc. Am I a part of The Living Church is my question?
More from Pastor Pennel point from his book … ’God, Cornbread, and Elvis”
“If local congregations buy into this mentality, the temptation will be to market the church like a secular product. Churches will focus on marketing strategies that hope to bring in key demographics of church-goers instead of focusing on the basic spiritual needs of their congregants and communities.
Our purpose is not to market the institutional church like one would market a new restaurant. We have a larger purpose: to help connect persons to God and one another through Jesus Christ. …”
Yes, a larger purpose, is right Sara. I believe Peter spoke of “connecting people to God through Jesus Christ”, in the early church? (NIV Acts 2) The footnotes for verse 37 says, “After Peter’s powerful, Spirit-filled message , the people were deeply moved and asked, ‘What shall we do?’ This is the basic question we must ask. It is not enough to be sorry for our sins– we must let God forgive them, and then we must live like forgiven people. Has God spoken to you through His Word or through the words of another believer? Like Peter’s audience, ask God what you should do, and then obey.” There’s that “action word Debi…….obey”
Tammy writes, “ Has God spoken to you through His Word or through the words of another believer?”
Now that is a biggy. When God speaks to us through another wow ego explodes. Well, I should speak for myself. 👩🏻🎤
Back to Romans 12 vs. 15…I wonder how many in the church has time for that? Or, would we even think it’s our duty?
“Romans 12:15New International Version (NIV)
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
Is it easy to rejoice with others? That is other than our favorite people! Just asking? I heard a godly man as a Christian lady in from of a pretty large group, “can’t you be happy for anyone but yourself? ‘ That question seems to arouse interest in my mind often when I see competition in churches for numbers, both people and $’s. Wonder how many numbers would increase if leadership would measure spiritual growth in individuals as a weekly report and publish for all to see rather than $’s in offering plate.
“Sara shared this article this am “The forgotten Christians of Nigeria…” that I thought went along with this blog.
These were my thoughts on it: Thank you for sharing. The Nigerian church is sure not shopping for benefits to themselves, other than eternal ones…and they seem to model the church 2,000 yrs ago and look like they have chosen to enter the narrow gate described in Matt 7:13.
It’s all to easy at times to find ourselves seeing church as our little group or corner of the world. My mind goes to Jesus hanging on that brutal cross with eyes to see the entire world and generations yet to come. Whoa, what a Savior!
“Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.'” Luke 11:2–4 (ESV)
“My mind goes to Jesus hanging on that brutal cross with eyes to see the entire world and generations yet to come. Whoa, what a Savior!”.
Your comment, Sara, reminds me of God’s promise (meeting His conditions) to those generations:
“Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.” Deut 7:9
And, his love boxes are full of great surprises!