October 1, 2017

October 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Issue:

* Culture – Gospel & Great Commission

*  Leadership Insight – Cultural Awareness

*  Calling a Lead Pastor or Staff

*  Links – Pastoral Resources

*  Scholarships $$ – Transformation for YOU

* This Date in History – Model ‘T’ Ford

Read My BLOG – Cultural Analysis

Culture – Gospel – & Great Commission

I write this article very early on the Lord’s Day 09/24/17. I listened to the radio this AM as I do frequently on Sunday morning. Putting it mildly, what I hear broadcast in our area that passes as ‘Gospel’ makes my blood boil and my heart weep. The corruption of the Gospel that saturates the air waves of our community is deplorable and exhibits a serious absence of sound doctrine and precise exegesis. My assumption (with reasonable certainty) is this is true across America.

The church in America is not fulfilling the Great Commission. The church is declining – rapidly. It is my purpose in this article to identify some of the causal issues that contribute to this failure and the resulting decline. A Process that God uses to bring Reformation & Renewal to stem the decline is provided by IgniteUS. This is a News Letter and not a Doctoral Dissertation. Therefore, space constraints permit only the citation of these issues. Further research and investigation is required to elaborate on each factor. As you read, engage in an honest assessment of the church where you serve. As these things are present take strategic steps that lead to correction of these dysfunctions.

These issues will be stated in National Cultural Factors and Local Church Factors.

National Cultural Factors

No Fault Fallacy There is now ‘No Fault’ everything; Divorce, Automobile Accident Insurance, etc. No one is held responsible for anything. This mentality has a serious deleterious impact on the church.

Anarchy There is a significant and growing spirit of anarchy in America. The loss of a transcendent authority (God’s Word) has produced a culture in which opinions and feelings are the predominate arbiters of reality. We witness continuous riots and the destruction of entire segments of our cities as a result of this ‘spirit of the age’. (Prov. 29:16).

Entitlement many segments of our society embrace the perspective that they are ‘owed’ certain privileges. This is not merely a generational issue. Rather, it pervades all social and generational elements of the USA.

Cultural & Biblical Literacy In the mid 80’s (1987) Hirsch produced a title, Cultural Literacy. In this treatise he cited 1,000 terms and dates of significant historical events that a person must have knowledge of if they are to be considered ‘culturally literate’. The absence of a functional knowledge of history is nothing short of stunning among the populace of the USA. When preaching, cite events from history and note the blank stares among the gathered assembly.

Antinomianism The USA was founded on the basis of Truth and that Truth being Absolute. The USA is now a nation in which the perspective of Law is similar to the culture which pervaded the book of Judges – – ‘every man doing what is right in his own eyes’! The principle of ‘Case Law’ now dominates our system of Juris Prudence – cases are decided on the basis of previous decisions rendered in similar cases not on the basis of what the Law (Constitution) states. This has produced an atmosphere of creeping (Racing to quote Judge Bork) immorality.

False Teaching I referenced the content of many radio programs. One program speaker in our area recently cited a listing of 25 False Teachers. The list included Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, and Jesse Duplantis. This man’s name appeared as #25 on this list. He was PROUD of that fact. He expressed pride of the designation as a False Teacher. How tragic. Believe me if you listened to his program the designation ‘False Teacher’ is accurate! This is possible because of the pervasive biblical illiteracy. People lack the capacity to discern truth from error and they suffer the consequences. (cf. Jer. 23:15).

Local Church Factors

Purpose One of the tasks I ask people to perform in my Consulting Ministry is to define the purpose of their church in three sentences or less. The responses are all over the map. The majority of churches are dysfunctional because they are focused on activity not on Making Disciples, This means that each and every ministry venues MUST contribute to disciple making. When this fundamental component is absent all other aspects of ministry are inevitably flawed.

Metric When the purpose of a local church is not Making Disciples the inevitable result is the application of a dysfunctional and flawed Metric. Nearly all local churches measure ministry effectiveness by applying one dimensional factors; attendance, offerings, baptisms, etc. The NT Metric is Transformation. Are lost people being redeemed and are regenerate people being transformed into the fullness of the image of Christ? Paul tells us this is a reality for those who are truly regenerate (2Cor. 3:18). A recent quote by Dr. Paige Patterson, President of Southwest Seminary in Fort Worth TX, reveals the inevitable result of this flawed practice:

“In the process of this race for numerical achievement, our church rolls have become gorged with people who “walked the aisle” and were baptized but remained as lost to genuine conversion as Judas”— Paige Patterson

Unregenerate Membership The evangelical church through the ages has practiced the principle of regenerate membership. Many/most congregations apply what they term ‘congregational polity’. This means that all members ‘vote’ on ministry initiatives. When there is a large compliment of unregenerate membership the Holy Spirit and the Word of God is not directing such decisions. This factor alone has contributed to schisms and conflict in a multitude of churches. As a challenge to my readers – can you identify any instance in the NT where a church voted on anything?

The Loss of Awe In my consulting ministry I interview Staff members. I simply ask three questions, one of which is ‘What do you want me to know about this church?’ Recently 3 of 12 staff member told me that ‘we have lost the awe of God’. OS Guinness when speaking at a Lausanne Conference in South Africa said ‘in today’s evangelical church you can start a church, function for 50 years, and never once need or realize the ministry of the Holy Spirit’. The church has become a business pure and simple. I regret to say he is correct. Read the testimony of Isaiah (Isa. 6:1-7) for a description of the awe of God in the Prophet’s life.

Life In Community The church has become a collection of islands that go bump in the night. There is a profound absence of genuine Christ honoring relationships. There is a series of One Another Commands in the NT. Not only do church members not obey them, they for the most part do not even know what they are. The church is God’s Family and we are commanded to care for one another in transparent and vulnerable relationships. Jesus said that it is by this kind of intimacy that the world will know that we are his disciples (Jn. 13:34-35).

Incompetent Leadership Leadership is an issue of Modeling. There is a phrase ‘As in the pulpit, so in the pew.’ The Francis Schaeffer Leadership Institute conducted an extensive survey of pastors. The results of that survey validate the existence of leadership incompetence.

(http://www.intothyword.org/apps/articles/?articleid=36562).

Application

The Gospel is what it has always been. It has not and will not change. It is the power of God unto salvation. Declare it with the utmost confidence.

The culture in the USA is saturated with immorality and decadence. Leaders MUST recognize this in equipping their people to function effectively in the marketplace.

The atmosphere in which the church exists today is similar in many ways to that of the First Century. The church flourished then and it can flourish now.

As you complain about the barriers you face in a post-Christian era, don’t forget that the gospel once exploded on a pre-Christian era and did unimaginable good. The gospel is yet the power of God and we must not lose it or muffle it or distort it when the world needs it most, whatever the context. (Jim Eliff)

Leadership Insight

Cultural Awareness Pastors and church leaders would do well to conduct some training on the current factors shaping the culture. Train people with the wisdom and resources to confront these factors. Remember – – lost people are not the enemy!!

Calling a Lead Pastor

“We are going to go it alone!” These words spell trouble ahead for any church that adopts this attitude in calling a Lead Pastor. The results are more often than not nothing short of tragic. I recently was made aware of a church that has ‘fired’ their three most recent pastors. Yet, their response is ‘We will go it alone’. The result of this unwise posture — they will get more of the same.

A key factor in the process IUS provides is FIT — the man fits the church and the church fits the man. The higher the degree of FIT the higher the probability there will be a lasting and fruitful pastoral tenure.

There is a better way. The Process that IgniteUS Provides to the local church applies multiple Assessment tools in discovering the current ministry profile of the church and the corresponding profile that the new Lead Pastor should meet.

If you or a church you know of is preparing to call a Lead Pastor or any other Staff personnel, I urge you to contact us. We have testimonials from churches that have used our ministry in calling a pastor. Our Process is Theological – the church is a Theological organism. We provide ‘Letters of Affirmation’ from churches that have used our process with great satisfaction. Our fees are very reasonable (less than 1/3 of other providers of this service) and the call of a Lead Pastor and Staff is one of the single most important factors in the future ministry of a church. 803.413.3509 or info@igniteus.net.

Links – Pastoral Resources

One of the objectives of this News Letter is to provide resources for pastors and the church that are beneficial, theologically orthodox, and encouraging. What does it mean to be ‘Orthodox’? My prayer is that the following links do just that. God’s best to all who serve in this capacity and do so with passion, diligence, and integrity! For a clear perspective on those who do not accept the content of the Nashville Statement read the final link in the links list below.

The message by Dr. Hershael York on ‘What is the role of the Holy Spirit in Preaching?’ is 5 minutes long. You will be brought to your knees with gratitude for the privilege of preaching if you watch this powerful message. Just Do IT!! IgniteUS prays for the church and her pastors.

The message of the Gospel is God’s ordained means of claiming and transforming lost people. Read Dr. Mohler’s article on urgency.

https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/kevindeyoung/2017/09/26/seven-characteristics-of-liberal-theology/

https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/pelagian-captivity-church/

http://www.albertmohler.com/2017/08/28/urgency-preaching-5/

http://equip.sbts.edu/video/role-holy-spirit-preaching/

https://townhall.com/columnists/michaelbrown/2017/09/02/why-the-rejection-of-the-nashville-statement-on-sexuality-is-a-rejection-of-the-bible-n2376638

Scholarships $$ – Transformation for YOU The most frequent reason I am given for pastors and churches not engaging the Leadership Development Process is Funding. We have generous Scholarships that provide funding for those who are earnest in their desire to see God bring Transformation to the pastor as a Leader and the church as a Disciple Making ministry. Contact us for details – 803 413 3509 or info@igniteus.net.

This Date in History

1908 – Henry Ford introduces the Model T car (costs $825)

BLOG Cultural Analysis

Read and respond. THANKS!!

Read my BLOG — www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net – A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “Cultural Analysis”) New post on the 1st & 15th of each month. Comments welcome!

Home Page – Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/

Numerous articles related to Pastoral Ministry.

US Update

This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site. THANKS!

Comments are closed.