The Groups In The Church

The Entertained Spectators – They want to get something out of church. They often show up and leave right after church. They don’t generally attend prayer meeting or any other part of the church. They are the ones that go from church to church looking for the best music where they can be “fed.”

Many of our attempts to reach the “unchurched” only end up attracting the “spectators.” They don’t want to invest their time into the church. They don’t generally cause problems in the church because they are not there.

They simply sit,listen, and leave.

The Clock-Punchers – These show up to church to “do their duty.” Many will pay their tithe either because of fear of social estrangement or fear of retribution. They dn’t want to go to hell so they show up.

Just like the worker who punches the clock to get paid, they punch the clock to get to heaven. like the entertained, they aren’t in the church really, but they do have one request, A Short Service. They have to get back to their daily lives.

The clock Punchers and the Entertained can have battles over worship at times, but in reality neither are a part of the community.

The “Working Saved” – These are the people who are always at church. The church is “theirs.” Their mother paid for the land that the church sits on. They are fifth generation members of the church and are sick of the landslide down that the church is taking. They stand in the way of all kinds of innovations. New is wrong! There aren’t many of them, but they pay most of the tithe and hold most of the offices.

The Youngsters – They are battling the working saved as they attmempt to move the church in a new “hip” way. Often “hip” is simply moving the church forward. They grab ahold of all the lateest innovations. They read all the books by the church growth crowd. They attempt to move the church forward. They attempt to silence the working saved and

The Disciples are about ministry. They don’t care who gets to sit up front or who gets the accolades. They are growing in their relationship to God. They see the battle between the youngsters and the working saved as irrelevant to the real work of being Christ in the world. They question the whole idea of church being entertainment. In fact they wonder when christian growth will matter as much as attendance in the church records.

In a little while, God will have a remnant of disciples that will take the church from being simply a place to entertain spectators or inform the working saved, but to be a place of healing and growth so that the word will be true and a witness will come forth. In a little while…

Responsibility of Membership

I had an interesting conversation with a member of one of our churches the other day. The member was dismayed at what he perceived as a small minority of the church though powerful, but stagnant lay leadership standing in the way of the progress of the church. These people should simply step asided and let the church progress.

I think this is an interesting question that comes up often. A few thoughts immediately came to mind. First, all leadership is considered backward and not effective by someone. I know I have been considered that by some. Perhaps I was. At any rate, when you are voted to leadership of the church, you are expected to act in ways that you think are in the best interests of the church. If you vote someone as an Elder, don’t get mad if they run the church in a way that you don’t think is best. Simply vote them out when the time comes.

Here the member seemed to be upset with the church elected officials doing what they think is right. Yet, it seems that the church wants to keep them in becuase they keep electing them. If these people are truly in the minority, then why doesn’t the majority just vote them out?

Well, perhaps it is becuase the majority does not wish to speak. Maybe they just want to enjoy the benefits of a Sabbath morning entertainment session rather than taking ownership in the church they attend. Whatever the case, most of our churches are run by a vocal 10% of the church simply becuase they are the only ones that show up at the business meetings.

That elder who we assume is backward is doing what he thinks is right. Don’t get mad at him, he is working and buidling up the church to the best of his ability. He or she is not getting paid for that effort that is invested in the church. And as one who has been a local elder, he or she is not getting the respect that you think he or she is. At any rate, don’t get mad at the elder, get mad at the 90% of the church who think that church is something that you just show up for. Get mad at the 90% who do nothing and don’t want to do anything. Get mad at the 90% who think it is too much to show up for a once a month business meeting.

In short, vote the elder out and put in effective leadership. But the elder is only a symptom of the larger problem. When you build a church based on those who only wish to consume religious entertainment, then you will be disapointed trying to turn those “consumers” into “producers” of anything. In many cases, they will simply move on to the next “young powerful preacher” who has a better “show” on Sabbath morning.

What A Proper Burial For The Black Conferences Would Look Like

I think that the Black Conferences, regional conferences, or whatever you want to call them are on borrowed time. However, I do not like the rhetoric of those who are seeking to do away with these conferences. I think it demonstrates why they were created in the first place. So I decided to do a post on how the Black Conferences should end when they do.

1)The church should acknoweldge the debt they have to the Black confenreces.

Many churches split over race issues. The Seventh-day Adventist church did not. These separate conferences kept the church together. Don’t come and tell me we are the only church with separate conferences. Other churches have separate deonominations. Look at the methodists. They ahve Black methodists and the premominately white United Methodists. The Baptists have a plethora of Black denominations largest being the NAtional Baptists and the predominately white Southern Baptists.

The Black conferences have played a part in keepign the denomination together, so we should thank them instead of vilifying them.

2) Growth of the Black Work

WE also should thank the confernces for the phenominal growth of the Black work. We can thank great evangelists and pastors of the past as well as the presesent. There has been an explosion of growth since the Black conferneces. It is true that the growth has slowed some, but this has been a success.

3) Black folks wanted to be treated with respect before they wanted black conferneces.

Black confernces were created because of whtie racism plain and simple. It was becuase Black folks would not be treated with respect in the dominant conferndces. Now I have been accused of racism for stating that simple fact, but call me what you will, truth is truth.

So the dominant church should apologize for why the thesse conferences had to be created. Just as Isreal repented of sins created earlier, the dominant church needs to apologize for its treatment in the past. They need to repent of its not allowing black people to worship in thier churches. Yes they called cops on Black people who wanted to worship in their churches. Yes it happened. And yes if we are to give the confernces a proper burial we need to acknowledge it.

4) They need to disolve all of the conferences and unify again under right principles.

It is simply not valid to disolve black confernces and keep the other confrences in the same area. IF you are going to disolve the confrence, you must disolve them both. And then unify. That is the only fair thing. Unless the Black conferences existence is illegitimate.

5)We cannot sidestep our responsibility by eliminating the confernce level.

Union of chruches or whatever you come up with, the church still must give the Black Conferences a proper burial or the ghosts of why they were even created will congtinue to haunt us.

6)Stop using the offensive and incorrect comparison to Apartheid

It is offensive to me as a Black man when you compare Black conferences (where white people can attend and have no repurcussions) to apartheid (where black people were legally placed in second class citizenship.) It is an incorrect comparison in that contrary to the 60s when the dominant churches kept black people out, today black people can attend the other churches and members of the other churches can attend black churches…

And the real issue is that the elmination of Black conferneces ain’t gonna eliminate the Black churches anyway.

If we do away with the Black Conferences, let us please give it a proper burrial by acknowledging the debt that the church has to them. Let us asknoweldge the sin of white racism that made the creation of these confernces a necessity. Once this has happened, then