Church Culture (Part 7)

     A Christ centered church is a one another church.   Churches that stress Jesus become churches with a close-knit family atmosphere.  One of the characteristics of these churches is an attitude that stresses building up one another.  In Hebrews 10:25 the Christians were told it was important that they not give up meeting with their brethren.  The reason was not founded in the legalistic concept of “having to attend.”  Instead this idea was founded in the concept of family.   When we meet two things happen.  We  bring glory and honor to God and we build each other up. 

     In our society we talk to our children about “peer pressure.”   This isn’t limited to children and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  The family concept of Christ driven churches contains an element of peer pressure.  When Paul is addressing the church at Thessalonica in 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 he is speaking of peer pressure.  He is telling them to avoid the man who does not obey instruction.  He tells them do not associate with him that he might be ashamed.  He further says, “Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a family.”  This is certainly a form of “peer pressure.”

     A church that centers its activities and directions in Jesus is a family built in Jesus.  There is a particular lifestyle that is built into this concept of family.  When one falls the other members of that family lift up the fallen.  When family members cry we cry with them.  When they laugh we laugh.  We teach each other by allowing others to see our walk in Jesus.  Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1 that we ought to imitate him even as he imitates Christ.  A lifestyle of preaching Jesus is lived in a certain way.  We learn not only from Scripture but also by watching others walk in Christ.  There are things that are accepted and things that are not.  This lifestyle becomes a type of peer pressure. 

     Christians learn quickly the things that are accepted by their local congregation and the things that aren’t.  We learn the things that are important to that church and the things that aren’t important.  This becomes the “culture” of the church.  The culture is maintained by to a degree by our unwillingness to gain the ire of our spiritual family. This is true in any church.  This isn’t necessarily driven by Scripture.  It is more likely driven by attitude.  Christ centered churches are driven by an attitude that says the most important thing that happens is the preaching of the Master.  These attitudes are kept constant by like-minded brethren.  Legalistic churches are kept constant in the same way.  The difference is simple.  Legalistic churches are constantly searching for error in the lives of their brethren.  Churches which make the preaching of Christ their distinctive value,  are looking for ways to extend the influence of Jesus. It is about the choice we make.   It is about where we place our emphasis.  Choose carefully your family.  There will be peer pressure.   It might well determine your eternal destiny.

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4 Responses to Church Culture (Part 7)

  1. J. Weldon says:

    Dell,
    I agree that we should be Christ centered. I’ve read both yours and others comments on the legalistic church verses the Christ centered church. Could you or one of the others give me say 6months of preaching Jesus. And could you give me what you think a less progressive church would preach during that same time frame?

  2. dellkimberly says:

    Jerry,
    Thanks for your comment and question. If I don’t answer what you are asking let me know and I will try again. Churches have traits that are unique to them. These personality traits are determined primarily by the things they consider important. Some churches consider complete understanding and adherance to Scripture as the most important thing. As a result the sermons and class material will be geared to this idea. Others might consider guarding against change as the most important issue. Sermons and class material will be presented to make this happen. In my opinion, as a whole many churches have chosen values that stressed things such as restoration, salvation by absolute adherance to doctrine, policing of fellow Christians and churches, etc. These ideas may be value in their own rights. Holding these ideas as the goal produces a particular type of sermon and direction, but this direction has little to do with sharing the values of Christ with their community. It produces sermons and values that are tied to those individual churches and their members. If this is the culture a church considers most important it will build a wall between them and the community. On the other hand churches that stress preaching Jesus Christ will produce sermons and ideas that are built on the concept of getting the influence of the gospel into the community. Instead of preaching sermons that stress isolationism you will see sermons that encourage interaction with those who need to hear. This is a matter of what we choose to emphasize. Thanks for your comment I hope this helps.

  3. J. Weldon says:

    My understanding of Christians coming together (before church building) was to worship God. I see it in the N.T. as a time for members (not closed) but close knit brethren worship the God who saved them. I do not believe we will convert the world depending on the pulpit to do it. The lost are outside our fellowship. The souls that are won will be won by the members living the Christian life and sharing Jesus. You can encourage the members to do so but I believe if we draw them closer to God in worship and fellowship the winning of their friends and family members will be a natural result. We have depended toooo much on the preacher preaching lessons from the pulpit. The new testament model has the elders (shepherds) feeding the flock.(Acts 20:28) The preachers are evangelist in the N.T. ..and they are busy preaching to the lost….who are not in the church building. It seems we have built monster called a church house religion. We invite them to the building to hear so in so and hope he can motivate people to give up other religions, worldliness etc. It doesn’t work that way. Sure two or three will come and obey the gospel but even those have ties to friends and family members.
    I do agree that thre are country, city, white collar, blue collar etc. churches and I know that churches have traits, but it has been my experience that whatever is important to the pulpit is important to the church within 3 to 5 yrs.
    But my question is “do we want this?” Is it working?
    The way we do church?? I thought the church was to be the church. The sign one congregation had at the back for people to see as they left the building…”YOU ARE NOW ENTERING THE MISSION FIELD.” says it all. Members as they go are to teach all nations………..starting in their own houses. I know many elders who have never won a soul to Christ. Is this N.T. Christianity. They will fire the preacher if he doesn’t get more than 10 or 15 new converts a year but they themselves could not teach a soul the way if they had it thrown in their lap.
    I really believe we are buying into and have bought into something foreign to N.T. Christianity.

  4. dellkimberly says:

    Jerry you are absolutely correct. I have the priviledge of knowing something most who read this blog don’t know. I know that you are an extremely effective soul winner. I know that winning souls is in your heart. Thank you for building your life around sharing Jesus. According to Romans 12:1-2 our life is our spiritual act of worship. Our meeting time has two primary purposes. We are there to praise God and bring honor to His name. Then according to Hebrews 10 we are assembled to provoke one another to love and good works. We build each other up so that we can better preach Christ until we meet again. Sounds like you just came out of Harvey’s personal evangelism class! I am grateful to call you my brother and friend.

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