Church Culture (part 3)

     When I speak of change I am referring to a change of atmosphere and direction.  There is much in our fellowship we cannot and do not wish to change. Atmosphere and direction must be changed.  In order to change the culture of the brotherhood we must do so one Christian, one congregation at a time.  We didn’t develop the present atmosphere and attitudes overnight.  Neither will changing the direction and emphasis of the brotherhood be done overnight.

     In order to change our direction and goals as a church we must intentionally give thought to what is important.  As autonomous churches we will always have different areas of emphasis in different congregations. This is totally Biblical.  Looking at first century churches we find the one thing they had in common was their individuality. 

     Churches that follow the direction of Jesus will have their differences, but will also share some common traits.  In order to follow Jesus we must share at least these two common directives.  We must be united in direction and have a burning desire to preach Jesus. Many years ago I sat in a class taught by Charles Coil.  Brother Coil made a statement I did not fully understand at the time.  He said, “Gentlemen if you can do anything besides preach you need to do it.”  It took me many years to understand that he was telling us that if we didn’t have a passion for preaching that made it impossible to do anything else we were not fit for the job.  Churches must have this same passion to preach Jesus Christ in their communities.

     There will be different interest and desires in different churches.  However, in every church there must be a passion to preach Christ.  This passion must be the overwhelming trait that permeates all congregations in the brotherhood.  Preaching Christ has to control every decision that is made.  It must control us as Christians and it must control us as a brotherhood.  Everything else must be secondary to the desire to see the good news of Jesus proclaimed to mankind.

     I know of very few churches that would not agree that preaching Jesus is the mission of every Christian and every congregation.  I also know of very few congregations who make the preaching of Jesus the overwhelming influence in their direction, atmosphere, and culture.  We allow past attitudes and thoughts to get in the way.  After all aren’t we commanded to restore New Testament Christianity? Aren’t we commanded to police one another?  Doesn’t Scripture teach somewhere that we must condemn change and change agents?  The answer to all these questions is a resounding NO!  We have accepted these ideas from an atmosphere and attitude that was developed among us long ago.

     Brethren I want to state as vehemently as I possibly can, “Bible things need to be done in Bible ways.”  I do not want to change one Biblical command or directive. My goal is to build churches and to help fellow Christians to develop a burning desire to preach Jesus first and foremost. This has not been the driving force in our fellowship for many years.  My hope and intent is to do all I can to establish an atmosphere and culture in the brotherhood that ignites a burning desire in our hearts to preach Jesus.  As a brotherhood we have to move from this being the exception to the rule to this being the rule.  As we continue our journey on this topic we will do some soul searching concerning how we will accomplish this.  Unless we are able to make this the distinctive feature in our fellowship we will become irrelevant to those who need the message of Jesus. Never before has there been a greater need to be on the same page than now.

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