Stop Not Being the Church

Churches are a million different things these days. They’re can be online, big, emergent, multi-site, small, liberal, urban, political, country clubs, tech savy, old fashioned, ethnically diverse, wealthy, conservative, or broke. A church can have a multitude of descriptors.

All those things are fine.

But the church has got to quite defining itself using minor issues and start focusing on major issues. Sections of scripture give super clear-cut examples of what it means to be a community of Christ-followers. Sometimes I think these passages are so easy to understand that we miss them. They’re so obvious that we lose interest. They’re not sexy. They’re not the secret to success. They are the meat and potatoes of what a church ought to be. Those passages – Acts 2:42-47 comes to mind – should be pretty obviously central to our church practices.

And youth ministry should be all about helping young people connect to Christ and His body. Sure, there are millions of resources out there that are good and helpful and useful and valuable. But if you’re youth ministry doesn’t look anything like Acts 2:42-47, you’ve got to ask yourself if you’re being effective in the right direction.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. “if you’re youth ministry doesn’t look anything like Acts 2:42-47, you’ve got to ask yourself if you’re being effective in the right direction.”

    What do you mean by that? If our kids aren’t selling there stuff the YP isn’t being effective? If NEW kids aren’t coming EVERY DAY the YP isn’t being effective? If EVERY KID is not “filled with awe,” then the YP isn’t being effective? If there are not “many wonders and miraculous signs” in our YM then the YP isn’t being effective? Likewise, we don’t have “apostles” today. If all the people in our YM don’t have “everything in common” then the YP isn’t being effective? Be careful not to make an idol out of your ministry.

    I could go on but you get the idea. There is no way you can yank that passage out of its context and apply it as a success gauge for all youth ministries. That was what God was doing with the early church, in Jerusalem, with a particular group of believers at a particular time. It is not meant to be a formula for us to follow. Acts is largely a historical narrative, telling us about the early church.

    God works in different ways in different areas in different youth ministries. I’d be shocked to see ONE youth ministry that conforms to Acts 2:42-47.

    Shouldn’t we measure “success” by our being faithful, fulfilling our ministry, preaching the Word, doing the work of an evangelist, loving God and loving people? That is how success should be “measured” if you want to “measure” it at all. What else can we do?

    The Bible is filled with people who had seemingly “fruitless” ministries (e.g. Jeremiah). Was he a failure? Or was he was simply being faithful to God’s calling on HIM? That is success, to do what God has called you to do and to leave the increase up to Him.

    Reply

  2. Brian,

    I’ll give you the opportunity to reread the phrase you quoted from the blog post. i wrote (and you quoted) if your youth ministry “doesn’t look anything like”

    i DID NOT WRITE “if your youth ministry doesn’t look exactly like”

    yes, i totally understand your point and agree with it.
    but your point isn’t in conflict with my point.

    Reply

  3. Ok, so what do you mean by that then?

    Reply

  4. I simply meant what I wrote.

    Sometimes churches/youth ministries/children’s ministries/etc can focus on and be identified by all of the peripheral activities/programs/attractions that they offer. Churches can (though they don’t have to be) focused on “our building, our budget, our mission statement, our website, our facebook group, our sound system, our outreach event, our staff, etc.” None of those things are bad. In fact, each can be a tool to grow, deepen or expand God’s kingdom.

    However, when those things that ought to stay peripheral become central, then we’re off target.

    We’ve (maybe not your church) become like the wanna-be marathon runner who goes out and buys new shoes, a new ipod, new socks, underarmor, and a case of protein bars before he ever starts running. Those things may help runners. They may enhance a runners experience. They may even help jump start a new runner. However, the point is to run – not to have the accessories of a runner.

    If we – as churches or youth ministries – aren’t striving in the direction of the description that is pumped out in Acts 2:42-47. Obviously I don’t think we ought to go back in time and live EXACTLY as the first church did. I do – however – think we’d do well (and see tremendous results) to move in that direction.

    Tomorrow, I’m going to post on what I think Acts 2:42-47 means to me/us today.

    Reply

  5. Ok.

    I think this sums it up: “However, when those things that ought to stay peripheral become central, then we’re off target.”

    I totally agree.

    I’ll stay tuned for tomorrow to see what you mean by the Acts thing….

    Reply

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