This subject may offend some of you, as the components I describe may not be a reflection of the church you inhabit. Let’s start with what you don’t want in a church. The fact is, there are good churches out there and bad ones. And when I say “good” I mean “good” as defined by Him, not the media, social groups, modern academia, cancel-culture, or any number of ignorant among the so-called authority figures and direction organizations on a subject they’ve never concerned themselves. The only care most of those people or groups have surrounds the money they can make by hammering us, the money they can take by asserting victimology, or the power they fake by minimizing us.
I’m pulling no punches in this publication today. I have all kinds of people that tell me all kinds of things about their churches and why they’re great. Some really are! Too few though. Now, before we go any further, let me say, the many descriptions I learn about all come through the colored lenses of the congregates that attend said churches. Which is a primary reason I’m not interested in naming names. You can figure some out pretty quickly.
The “name it and claim it” prosperity churches are sin factories. Period. Some are even preaching now that there are multiple ways to heaven beyond Christ. God does not tell you anywhere in written Word that if you pray hard enough all the tangible goods you want will be given to you in life. Yet, there are churches built on the idea that if you pray without ceasing (which is in the Bible – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) that you’ll get what you want. The Almighty takes requests, in a similar fashion to a DJ. But do you get to hear every song you request on the radio? No… The Lord gives you what you need and what is good as defined by Him, and not us.
If you’re attending a church because each Sunday you ‘feel good’ about yourself, then you’re not in church, you’re in a positivity seminar. The Gospel contains loving stories full of hope and faith. It also contains warnings and examples of what not to do in life. Sin is described thoroughly, along with all the nastiness that befalls those who embrace sin. And another thing… Just how long does that ‘good’ feeling last when your Sunday sermon has you charged up? Does it last until you leave the sanctuary? Does it last until you find your car in the parking lot? Most don’t even make it that long. We’re called to think and discern. Replacing thought with feeling, solely as the basis for church adherence, is a lousy idea. Long after your ‘good feeling’ is gone, will be the exposition of biblical stories and the applicable parables Jesus offered so you may serve Him better.
If the church music program is accompanied by a fog machine, I’m doubting this is the place you’ll find much solid preaching. You can pack a church with a pseudo rock concert, but that rarely inspires people to become disciples. And when it occasionally does, can that motivation sustain itself? No. Your music program should be an extension of the service. Music is lyrical praise and IS a sermon in and of itself. Contemporary or Hymns? Sure, I have a preference there, but that’s personal. From a biblical perspective, your music should offer you biblical excerpts and prepare you for the sermon, which is why music should precede the sermon.
If your church isn’t having you open up your Bibles to go through the components with you, I question just how good it can be for you. Long after the service has concluded, you’ll need to consult and read your Bible. Good sermons have you in the Word, so you learn how to consult it the other 6.9 days of the week when you need and require it.
Lastly, and this is the big one, if your church avoids sin routinely, you’re not in the right place. God hates sin. We’re called to reject sin and avoid it each time it creeps upon us. If you’re not learning the idea that sin is bad, and being PERSONALLY convicted by the message in your sermons often, how can you possibly master sin? The true joy spoken in the Bible is one of overcoming sin, not joy defined as feeling good about a Sunday message. Joy is when you pray and work to stop that sin you have wrestled with. When you prepare for the next time that sin makes itself available to you, and you DON’T DO IT, that is joy! The joy associated with overcoming a sin you know you’ve struggled with is the ‘good’ feeling that lasts. Sure, we need and benefit from uplifting sermons. I know this. But don’t fall into the trap of “feeling good” being the litmus test for your church choice. The fact is, you’d be better served to leave church feeling kicked in the shin, as it would remind you we all took part in killing Christ.
Now… I’m offering you a picture of truth as I understand it. If you’re in the wrong place, get up and leave. There are solid Bible-preaching churches out there that aren’t interested in fads, traditions that aren’t biblical, politics, or avoiding offending someone. Seek them out and begin to understand Him properly. I promise you there is only one way to enter Heaven – Through Him. John 4:16 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I was going to offer you the 5 components in a great church, right? By now, you’ve figured out how I’m wired and have a pretty good idea of how this blog will wrap up. If you don’t, read some of my other stuff and it’ll become clear soon. Setting sin aside, you’ll prefer to have these:
1, The church behaves biblically.
2, The church leadership leads biblically.
3, The congregants carry themselves in Christ-like ways. AKA, biblically.
4, The church praises Him biblically.
5, The church preaches biblically, avoiding not a single book, chapter, and verse.
Having read the 5 components above, you could condense it down to one, couldn’t you? 😉
Be salt and light my brothers and sisters. Please.