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Who is Building Your Church?
By David A. DePra
If there is one thing that has dominated the Christian book market over the last ten years it is a flurry of HOW TO books on church growth. "The Purpose Driven Church," and other books like it, while addressing other issues as well, focused on church growth. We are being taught today how to be a, "seeker-sensitive church." Furthermore, it you want to be a pastor today, you will be hard pressed to find a church that isnít really after a church-marketer. The spiritual life and health of the church in question isnít even an issue in this day and age.
Jesus said, "I will build My church." But many of us donít believe Him. That is a fact. We donít. And even worse, we arenít willing to pay the price of being a church that Jesus builds. What price? Well, if you want Jesus to build your church, He will want to start with you personally as a Christian. That means that Jesus will have to tear down everything about you that doesnít fit into His kingdom, and only then will He be able to build you back up in His image. Then, parallel to that, He will seek to do the same regarding your church. If it doesnít belong to His will, and His kingdom, it will have to go. Only then will your church be the one HE builds.
But you see, this wonít please some people, will it? Power structures, politics, and religious games will topple in such a case, and this will cause problems. Yet if we want Jesus to build HIS church, ours must be torn down Ė at least in the areas that are not according to His mind.
The fact is, Jesus Christ is NOT going to send people to your church unless your church is willing to become His church Ė not just on paper, but really. If you are not in Godís will as a church, He isnít going to send more people to be out of His will. If you are not in a growing relationship with Christ, He isnít going to send more people so that you can make them like yourself. If you want Jesus Christ to trust your church with His sheep, then you are going to have to get right with Him personally, and get right with Him as a church. Then He can say, "That is a place, and a people, to which I can commit Myself, and to which I can send those whom I am calling."
Now make no question: YOU might be able to build a nice, big, even giant church, without the help of Jesus Christ. This is done all the time. Just preach the gospel of self-esteem. Avoid terms like, "sin," or, "repentance," or, "holiness." Focus on terms like, "self-worth," "prosperity," and, "success." Get a pastor who stands for nothing, an eldership which will compromise Truth for keeping the peace, and a group of people who are more interested in, "having church," than they are in Christ Himself. And you might have a big church.
Jesusí church is not a THING. The apostles never started a church. They BECAME the church Ė HIS church. The church is Christ in people. So if you and I want to build a church, this tells us the key: Become a personal dwelling place for Christ. That is what Christ wants to build.
The church Jesus builds has nothing to do with money, buildings, or numbers. It has to do with CHRIST IN US. But if we are concerned about the money, buildings, and numbers, Jesus would likely refer us to Matthew 6:33 Ė for what applies to the individual applies to the corporate Body. That verse reads, "Seek you first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added." That is the promise of Christ.
It is an absolute fact that when the church becomes the THING Ė the THING that is the goal and purpose Ė that the Holy Spirit cannot move. The Holy Spirit seeks to reveal and glorify Christ; to edify the Body in Christ. He is not here to build up a THING called a church.
Jesus said, "I will build My church." If only we would believe Him. It would revolutionize almost everything we call church today.
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