Church Involvement

Creating a Culture of Involvement in Every Church

Month: June 2016

I Believe in the Local Church

countrychurch2I have always been impressed with missionaries and at times have found myself a bit envious of missionaries.   I am impressed with missionaries and their families because of their great love for those they don’t even know in some other part of the world.   I admire them for the dedication and sacrifice found in leaving the comforts of family and home for the good of others.   These are very special people and I thank God for them.

And, yet I am also impressed with the local church.   I’ve done a small bit of mission work, but my heart is in (what preachers call) ‘local work.’   I strongly believe in the local church.   I have been involved with local churches since I was a small boy (when my father did local work) and I have been involved with local church work for almost 50 years.   I do not wish to downplay the importance of mission work. However, I want to share some reasons why the local church’s importance should be not overlooked or be minimized.

The local church supports foreign and domestic missions.   While we are on the topic of foreign missions, I must remind everyone that it is local congregations that usually support foreign missions with manpower and money.   They are also supportive of domestic missions here in the States.

The local church prepares men and women for service.   Many congregations have solid Bible schools and youth ministries to prepare young people for Christian living and service.   The local church provides what many of our homes do not in this area.

The local church attempts to meet local needs.   There are many congregations that are heavily involved in meeting local needs.   Some churches provide food or clothing or furnishings or housing.   Some provide counseling and other services. Local churches can’t do it all and yet many of them attempt to meet real needs in their communities.

The local church attempts to reach the lost locally.   Where members are encouraged and equipped for service, many of those members reach out to their lost friends and neighbors and bring them to the Lord.   Some congregations still have gospel meetings while others have special events and classes that appeal to the unchurched.

The local church provides a haven of worship and edification.   The local church provides a place where her members can congregate to worship the Lord, but she also—through her members—provides encouragement and edification to weary members week after week and year after year.

I contend that church leaders must do all they can, in their positions with the Lord’s help, to make the local church strong and a blessing to all who know of her and to all that she attempts to serve.

One of the best ways these goals can be achieved is to help the members of our local churches discover, develop and deploy their non-miraculous spiritual gifts.   Churches who have done this have members that bless their families, the local church and the community in which the church resides. Please allow me to assist you in blessing your members in this manner.   Trav


Putting On the Brakes

brake3Putting On the Brakes

We sometimes infer a disdain for average or less-than-average performance in church ministry.   We are always striving to do more, be more and produce more.

We expect creativity, freshness, newness and the extra effort.

While I can understand some of this thinking–because our goal is maturity in Christ and because God deserves the best—this thinking, if misunderstood, can be very dangerous.

Why am I bringing this up?   At times, I see some servants in the church who are attempting the ‘humanly’ impossible.    Some are attempting to do more than God designed them to do—more than God wills for them to do.   Such folks need to learn to ‘put on the brakes’ or bad things will happen.

When we strive to do the impossible (and the unexpected), we get stressed and anxious or worse.   We can become critical of ourselves or others in the process.   Our thinking becomes imbalanced to the point that we think that God is not pleased with us.  This leads to other unhealthy thinking and living.   Our focus is on self which leads to other issues when, in reality our focus should be on the One who endowed us in the first place.   We become too dependent upon ourselves and lose our dependence upon Him.   It’s a matter of proper focus.

There are other factors that may contribute to our trying to do the impossible:  one is personality.   Some folks are perfectionists and feel inadequate if they don’t achieve some impossible goal.   Others are very compassionate and have great difficulty in saying “No” to any request.    Another contributing factor may be theological:   “I’ve got to do this because this is God’s purpose for me.”  And, then some of us quote that off quoted verse:  “with God all things are possible.”   While it may be the case that God has called you to do something (for which you are passionate), He does not expect you to do more than you are humanly capable.   And that verse about God doing all things: that’s God, not you.   You and God make a great team and even God recognizes your need for rest and recreation.

Even Christ, while here on earth in the flesh, was physically limited.  He simply did what He could.   He did not fix every problem or heal every sick person.  That’s the example we must follow because we are human.

“But how do I know that I have reached my limitations?”   I suggest the following:

  1.  When negative emotions appear, you need to reassess everything.  Remember Martha and her fit of anger.
  2. When others are telling you that you are overloaded, you need to listen.
  3.  Listen to your body, emotions & mind.  They will tell you.  Accept your limitations. 
  4. Ask for assistance with tasks.   Solomon said that two are better than one.    Listen to wise inspiration. 
  5.    Ask the Lord to show you—and He will.   Be sensitive to His answering you.  Neither church leaders, church staff, ministry participants, members nor God are demanding or expecting the impossible.   We are compassionate people who are willing to give what we have for the cause of Christ.  Let us be wise in recognizing our human limitations and do what we can for His glory.  Some of us just need to learn to say  “No” and say it in love.   It’s OK; even God says “No.”   We also need to recognize our limitations and work within them for His glory.

Travis Irwin

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