I just heard the news about a young pastor who was the lead servant at the church he and his wife were serving in. He left a wife and kids who will dearly and crucially miss him. Most likely, you will hear the news about how he went home to be with the Lord. But to me, it doesn’t matter how he went homeward. What matters is that this was a tragic way for him to graduate from this life into the next. Here is where I am very critical of the church today, and I include myself in this critique:
I find it very odd that a person so well-known in his church and community would not have given signals out to the people who served alongside him day in and out. Again, I am not condemning anyone, but I am saying that if we truly are a community of believers who serve one another, this should not be happening as commonly as it has been. Just search the web for pastors committing suicide, and you understand why I am writing this.
- I blame no one and everyone. I am saddened to see another warrior for Christ has been taken out by the enemy, and I want this to stop.
What I see are a few things that the modern-day church could be doing better:
1. The problem with the way churches are set up today is very impersonal, especially to its elders.
They serve everyone, but no one attends to their spiritual and mental needs. The apostle Paul took to writing about Jesus’ teachings. One crucial tenet was that each one of us would learn to serve and not be served. The person who wants to be a Christian must humble him or herself and help others.
Modern churches have forgotten the value of community. Some are so large that newcomers can visit and not have anyone say hello except those that are serving in the ‘greeter’ ministry. I once attended a church that is well-known because of its founder. My family and I went in, no one in the parking or church entrance greeted us. No one during service said hello, no one said anything to us as we left the church.
I wonder how many of those people think of themselves as fulfilling the Great Commission when they see strangers walking into their church but not welcoming them into their fellowship?
2. This leads me to the next point. We have become a church of hugeness! Huge buildings, huge events, huge crusades. The personal one-on-one discipleship has been lost along the way. This is the greatest tragedy. Had this young pastor who lost his dad a few years prior had anyone like a Paul in his life, and I am not saying he did not, but it seems that all of us need to have a few Pauls, a few Timothy’s and a few Barnabas’ in our lives. If you don’t understand this example, I ask you to go to your nearest pastor or someone whom you trust and ask them what this means, it will be part of discipleship.
3. The church, meaning us the people calling ourselves Christians and not the building, has an obligation to ensure that those who serve full-time or are bi-vocational and serving, are being looked after physically, mentally and most importantly, spiritually. We need to pray for the leadership continually.
We can not be dependent on the staff or elders to heal themselves, take care of their families and then leech on to them 24-7 and expect them to stay healthy for long.
4. If you have been going to your church for at least a year, and are able to serve, start in the cleaning ministry. First, make sure you start at home. Then go and clean the bathrooms and classrooms. That is where the most help is needed.
Then when you are joyful in doing those things, ask to help in a class. But make sure you and your family are sitting together for the basics- Praying, Reading the Bible and enjoying serving one another.
I have more to say on this but will bring it in Part II soon.
P.S. Please make sure that you get to know your elders. Especially those that are always serving you. They are the ones that get hit the most and they just like you come with baggage..