Two Common Reasons People Leave a Church

Jason Silver | Pastor and Author

exitTwo of the most common reasons (not the only reasons) for people leaving a Church are:

1. Familiarity
2. Unreasonable Expectations leading to disappointment.

When disappointment sets in, we believe that there’s something wrong with our Church, or maybe we’re with the wrong Church. With such belief, leaving that Church is most likely imminent.

Although most folks, never really see that they will almost certainly go around the same mountain again at the next Church they go to. I’ve had many people over the years come to a church I pastored and their first Sunday give a big long story about why they left the 3 or 4 churches before they landed on our doorstep. And the “why they left” was always someone else’s fault, never their own. Personal responsibility is seldom, if ever mentioned in the process.

If you begin attending and commit to a Church with false or idealistic expectations of what it takes to make it work, no matter how long you stay there, you will have major challenges. And if you cement those ideas by saying to yourself ‘I am right and the Church is wrong’ it only makes matters worst.

Even though we see in scripture how the Church should be, much of our introduction to it comes from our parents, family members, or friends. No matter whose Church you are exposed to, remember that yours will be different because God has given yours its own mission and vision.

How You Can Help:

1) Reduce and or eliminate false expectations for your local Church. Grab a hold of the common vision of the Church. Live today, enjoy today and work toward a better and brighter tomorrow as you grow together in your relationships. In other words, set goals and work toward them as you create the Church God gave you the vision for.

2) Realize that local Churches like marriages go through different phases. Just like the weather; some days it’s sunny, some days it cold, others overcast and rainy, while others are stormy. All Churches are confronted with changes and challenges. But when stormy days arrive, the true test of your commitment will be ‘how did we weather the storm.’ Those who stand firm during times of storms, come out at the other end with a stronger and renewed love for one another.

3) There’s nothing wrong with going to another Church to visit or for a conference and leaving impressed with how they do Church. However, avoid comparing your Church with theirs, and returning back with a corrective attitude towards how your leadership should be doing what that Church is doing. This is actually hurtful, and shows lack of appreciation for the hard work of your home Church leadership. Not to mention, if you actually attended the other Church for any period of time , you would eventually find things you didn’t like about it too.

It’s been said regarding a marriage certificate, that it really is a work permit. Well the same can be said about commitment to a local Church… we’re all in this to work together!

As disciples we are called to be contributors, not consumers. It’s not all about what your Church can do for you, it’s what can you do for your church family?

www.newvictory.ca

Copyright 2011-12 | Permission to copy, print, or use material is freely granted. Provided that the integrity of the material is not compromised in any manner.

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God Can Use the Fallen

Jason Silver | Pastor and Author

falseguiltIt is unfortunate how quickly the Church writes off ministers who have blown it.  Many times, the truth is, that they’ve actually fallen from the pedestal that we’ve built out of our own expectations of what a Pastor should be. Why is that when someone blows it in the Church and or ministry, we think that they’re damaged goods, that they’ve somehow become useless in the Kingdom of God? Now if someone is “proud” of what they’ve done, that’s a different story. However I’m talking about people who know they’ve messed up, and they are full of Godly sorrow and remorse over it.

I heard a certain preacher, regarding a fallen minister, on Larry King live say, “Well, it’s too late, they need to be permanently removed from the Pastoral office, and have no place in ministry again!” I was like, “Really…?” What about King David? A man after God’s own heart. Oh! And he committed adultery, and then murder to cover it up! However, he was also “contrite”, which means: quick to genuinely repent, and be sorry before God for what one has done. Yet God doesn’t say to him, “That’s great David, but unfortunately you cannot be King anymore, in fact you cannot do anything for me any more because of what you have done.”  No, God does not say this at all. Now don’t get me wrong, David and his family suffered the consequences, but David blowing it big time did not render him useless in God’s purposes. Why? Because he genuinely repented.

Now Saul, the King before David, remember that guy? Yeah he blew it big time too! Yet he lost his throne. Why? Because he was not genuinely sorrowful for what he had done, in fact he justified it, and was proud of it! He was never restored to public ministry, in fact he was killed in battle. You see, God doesn’t oppose the fallen, as many in the Church would have us think. No, He opposes the proud. Let us not forget this, let us show mercy so that we will receive mercy when we need it ourselves… and we will. Let’s follow God’s ideal as set out in scripture for dealing with our own, and other’s failings. This is just a part of being the Church.

“What if I stumble? What if fall? What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all? Will the love continue, when my walk becomes a crawl? What if I stumble… what if I fall?”  DC TALK | Band

http://www.newvictory.ca

Copyright 2011-12 | Permission to copy, print, or use material is freely granted. Provided that the integrity of the material is not compromised in any manner.

Moderation, Wisdom, and Love in All Things

22-friends-drinking-wine

Jason Silver | Pastor and Author

Please take the time to read the whole Bible passage below as it the basis to what I’m about to say…

Romans 14:1-15:2
Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2 One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'”  12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. 14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.

19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause a brother to fall.  22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. 15 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not just please ourselves. NIV

Today’s topic is this: Christians drinking alcohol in moderation. And just so we’re clear, in this blog, I am not trying to necessarily defend or make a case for alcohol itself, as I am making a case for what the Bible ACTUALLY says about it. Not belief systems based on religious traditions, and legalism disguised as “Holiness”.

There are generally two stances a local Church can take on this topic:

  1. We don’t taste, we don’t touch, and we don’t talk about it.
  2. If your convictions between you and God allow you, then partake “in moderation” “in love” using WISDOM. (this is where we tend to blow it… not using wisdom)

I concede from the scriptures that number two is a more biblical approach. And if any of you know me, I am all about striving to live like what the Bible says, and teach others to do the same. However I know that what I teach can be interpreted differently then what I originally intended.

So why number two again? Because it really is the most scriptural approach. As I grew up in many Churches that took the number one approach of “We don’t taste, we don’t touch, and we don’t talk about it.” There were many times that I saw a dangerous curiosity forming in many of our younger generation. And I include myself in that group at that time.  I call it the “forbidden fruit syndrome”. And that is, if you forbid someone to do something, or to have something, without giving them a loving and honest reason why, it makes them want that thing even more! It’s simple, if you try to hide something from someone; it causes them to want to know even more.

Moving on…. Paul says in Colossians 2:16, “So let no one judge you in food or in drink… then in Colossians 2:20-23 “…for if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations —  21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” 22 which all concern things which perish with the using — according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. 

Now if the Apostle Paul wrote about the handling of food and drink in the Bible, I think we should discuss it too? It’s like if I were to say to you, “Yeah there’s certain things in the Bible that we just don’t talk about.” You’d be like “What?!” Yet that’s exactly what I find a lot of Churches still do.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:12 “Everything is permissible for me” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me” BUT I will not be mastered by anything. If Paul followed this principle of living the Christian life, shouldn’t we?

I once heard a Pastor say, referring to the drinking of wine, that “We Christians; whom our consciences allow, should be the ones setting the example of what is moderation and self-control, even as Jesus Himself did. And we know that Jesus drank wine, because He said He did.”

So let’s look at the passage we read at the beginning in a little more detail… Paul starts out with “the weak in faith”. In our day it would be those that would feel in their convictions that they shouldn’t have wine at all. Paul tells us “do not judge them.”  And then he shares a “key” point, “The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does,” The point here is keep your convictions personal. If you know someone who doesn’t drink wine, don’t judge them as not having enough faith. And if you don’t drink wine, but know someone who does, do not judge them for doing so. The only exception is if they are drinking immoderately and getting drunk, then say something, not for the purpose of passing judgment, but because you love them!

When it comes right down to it, we all need to look out for one another! We must remember that God is our judge, we are not called to judge one another, we are called to love one another. Jesus said, “By this they will know you are my disciples.” In verse 15 Paul says, “If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love.” We must realize that the context of this is “before your brother”. If you eat or drink what offends your brother in front of him, all because you have a “right” then you are choosing your “right” over your love for your brother. Paul says… DON’T DO THIS!

Wisdom can direct us in this. If “so and so” is going to be at a certain place that has a problem with something you do, then don’t do it before them. THAT IS LOVE! Even if they come to your home, don’t do it, there are many other times that they’re not there (in your home) that you can do your thing freely anyways…right?

In verse 13 Paul says, “…make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. So just settle it in your mind. If you don’t know what someone thinks about it, then ask, “Are you okay if I have a beer, or a glass of wine?” If people say, “Not really.” Then say, “Hey no problem.” And they will respect you for honoring them! Paul then says in Verse 19 in an ultimate context, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to a mutual building up.” So in other words, let’s do our best to do what in the best way possible benefits everyone. Folks if we love one another through this… it is possible!

Then Paul says that the best thing is, “…whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.  So as much as you can, don’t advertise what you believe about this, keep it to yourself, use your freedom in your own home, and or with other’s whom you KNOW (wisdom) are of the same conviction. Then Paul gives us the ultimate goal of it all in verse 15! “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not just please ourselves.” It really is all about LOVE!

As a Pastor, it is genuinely my heart to lead in a way that expresses our freedom in Christ ruled by the fruit of the Spirit of self control and love. I also want to make sure you that people are equipped to live by these principles to do with food and drink, in the way that the Apostle Paul has described to us. Before God, this truly is my heart. We all need to learn to walk this road of Moderation, Wisdom, and Love in All things!

Just a final thought  and some scriptures I would like to mention and I’m done… In doing some research into signs of actually having a drinking problem, I was very surprised to find this symptom. “You have few if any interest in social events that don’t revolve around drinking.” We need to make sure that just because some of the things we do aren’t actual Church functions (where we really shouldn’t have any alcohol at all… not wisdom) we still shouldn’t need to bring wine or beer to every social gathering. Realizing also that sometimes there may be people there that you may not know, and guess what? … they may have a drinking problem.

So let’s remember what Paul said? “…make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. So let’s continue to do what it takes to TRULY love one another according to how the Bible tells us we should do so. Even if it means at times giving up our personal freedoms for the sake of love. What you do in your own home is between you and God, but as soon as it involves other’s… LOVE MUST RULE.

Some Scriptures to Live this by:

Ephesians 5:18-19
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to wasteful living. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

1 Timothy 3:1-4
Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being a church leader, he desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.

Psalm 104:14-15
He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate — bringing forth food from the earth: and wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.

www.newvictory.ca

Copyright 2014-16 | Permission to copy, print, or use material is freely granted. Provided that the integrity of the material is not compromised in any manner.

What It Means to Follow Christ

Jason Silver | Pastor and Author

thumbAs true Christians it means that we WHOLLY and COMPLETELY identify ourselves with Jesus Christ in everything we do. How the world feels about it is NOT OUR PROBLEM. I cannot do what the world wants me to do if it goes against that.

Some in the early Church lost their lives for identifying with Christ, that’s how committed they were to Him. Yet in North America today we’re so afraid we might offend someone. THE TRUTH OFFENDS! It’s supposed to… that’s what reveals our hearts so we can see, and not be blind to our need of Jesus. If we hide this from the world to spare their feelings…. how will they ever know. And we will stand before a Holy God one day and give an account for our silence.

I fear the North American Church has lost it’s way, there is no fear of God before our eyes any more. Not fear as in torment, but fear as in “Oh My God… You Are Holy!”  “And what you tell me to do I will do, and I will not fear what men might think , feel, or do to me.” This is what it means to follow Christ.

 

www.newvictory.ca

Copyright 2011-12 | Permission to copy, print, or use material is freely granted. Provided that the integrity of the material is not compromised in any manner.