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Christians are increasingly mixing and matching their faith in unexpected ways

According to

Christians are increasingly mixing and matching their faith in unexpected ways. For example, the current “deconstruction” movement is a reminder to pastors and church leaders that the Christian faith is complex. {Church Planting Is Not Dead (and Never Will Be)}

According Ivan Mesa

For many, Christianity is becoming implausible, even impossible to believe.

While it might be tempting to leave the church in order to find answers, Before You Lose Your Faith argues that church should be the best place to deal with doubts.

For several pastors deconstructing need not end in unbelief. In fact, deconstructing can be the road toward reconstructing — building up a more mature, robust faith that grapples honestly with the deepest questions of life. Sometimes, but not enough, when people are not satisfied with their church they go looking for another one. There they often find new ways to strengthen their faith.

Howard has the opinion that

The church was designed by God as a source of fellowship, accountability, and teaching, and to serve as a witness to those inside and outside its walls. {Church Planting Is Not Dead (and Never Will Be)}

We think God wanted everyone to be in unison, worshipping Him according to His prescriptions and not according to men’s or certain denominationsrules and regulations. God has given His Torah or rule, for man to keep it, but it seemed often still too difficult for a lot of people to keep to those simple rules. Jehovah, God Almighty, wants every person to make a personal choice, really coming to worship Him as the Only One true God, out of love. It is by our way of living, our behaviour and not by which church we are in, that we show our love to God.

After Christ had died the apostles found it necessary to come together regularly, not forsaking the assembly of ourselves together, holding unswervingly to the hope the followers of the Nazarene master teacher professed, for they should know that he who promised is faithful.  Therefore, those followers were asked to consider how they could spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  (Hebrews 10:23-26) That coming together on a regular basis could take place in any sort of surroundings. Nowhere is specified it should be in a church building.

Brian Howard writes

We come together to worship him in joyful obedience. Yet research from the first quarter of 2022 shows that in-person church attendance is only 36 to 60 percent of what it was pre-COVID. In fact, researchers say that despite in-person church services returning to normal, once-regular churchgoers aren’t necessarily coming back.

So if people aren’t even going to church, why are we still planting churches? {Church Planting Is Not Dead (and Never Will Be)}

Howard asks.

You could say that church is the formation of a group of people who declared to be willing to follow Jesus Christ, in such a way that their community or church is an expression of the invitation from God for mankind to gather together for fellowship. In the church people would then try to confess their faith and make sure their coming together is one for celebrating God, for worship; for the feeding of the gathered souls. In the gathering the people want to feel their unity and shall be pleased for singing praise to God His Name.

Howard gives three reasons why, despite declining attendance, church planting matters more than ever.

  1. God created us for community.
  2. Only in community can we truly feel cared for.
  3. Our witness is stronger together.

One of the key rationales for church planting is putting the Christian community at the heart of mission. God did not make man to be on his own. We should be with many for eachother.

If individuals were at the heart of God’s purposes, then it would be natural to put the individual at the heart of mission. But at the heart of God’s plan of salvation is a family and a nation. So the church should be at the heart of mission. {What’s the Mission of God? See the Church}

writes

Man, created in the image of God, should recognise the Divine Maker and make Him known to others around him. The people of God are a powerful apologetic for the gospel of God. The Almighty God has given the world His only begotten beloved son to bring salvation to mankind, and believers in that sent one should spread that joy of belief in salvation. As a community of believers, that community should form church, to declare and display the reconciling grace of God in Jesus Christ.

Howard reflects

The first believers gathered together often and with purpose. There’s simply no substitute for real-life interactions — primarily in the Sunday-morning gathering, but also through home groups or one-on-one prayer opportunities. Church planters enter an environment decimated by two years of isolation. We aren’t meant to weather these storms alone. {Church Planting Is Not Dead (and Never Will Be)}

As Tim Keller once observed,

“Covenant community is like air. We don’t miss it until we need it.” {Tim Keller Wisdom Tweet}

In the Covid or Corona period all over, in many nations, people could not come together anymore and churches were closed for services. This absence of gathering gave some people the good feeling not having to bother any more going to mass or Sunday service. Many learned the art of Zoom and how to facilitate evening prayer times and morning worship with just a few of us in the room together. For many it made life so much easier, not going to go out, driving so many kilometres to a church, or not having to walk in the rain for a few streets.

The problem is that many people have continued virtual church long after the literal church doors have reopened. Whatever one’s reasons, we must remember that technology is a supplement to church, not a substitute for it. {Church Planting Is Not Dead (and Never Will Be)}

It is essential to come together to feel as brothers and sisters united under Christ. We always should remember that we’re not simply called to the community for our own benefit. We also should know that darkness shall come even more over this world, where people shall be less interested in the Maker of this universe. Christ is the light of the world and we should spread that light.

This is what the church must be in our dark, cold, loveless world: a community of light at street level. Here is the place where God’s kingdom can be glimpsed. Here is where people are reconciled as they are brought together in Christ.{What’s the Mission of God? See the Church}

writes Tim Chester.

In this world where there is so much fighting going on and where there is so much oppression, racial injustice, crushing poverty, abuse, and hunger, it is so important that there are some bringers of Good News.

But even as the shadow of darkness blankets our landscape, there are an ever-increasing number of embassies of the kingdom of light. That’s what church planting is about: establishing outposts of light in a land of darkness. Church planting is about pushing back the darkness as the gospel’s light shines forth through churches around the globe.

So we enter communities in despair and we preach good news about the victory of our King. Christ has overcome the evil empire of sin, death, and hell. As we plant churches, we not only preach this good news, we also embody it in our life together.

Jesus says that we shine the light of the kingdom through good works that illustrate the gospel and demonstrate the hope that is found in this kingdom (Matt. 5:14–16). {Push Back the Darkness This Week}

writes .

We may be all different individuals, with different ideas, but it can be very useful to bring all those different personalities together in one community and have them inspire one and the other.

The church on mission is usually more effective than any individual doing it alone. As Francis Schaeffer observed,

“Our relationship with each other is the criterion the world uses to judge whether our message is truthful. Christian community is the final apologetic.”

When a person steps into a church, he ought to feel the welcome and love of Christ’s people in a way he doesn’t experience anywhere else. {Church Planting Is Not Dead (and Never Will Be)}

When the pandemic had the world in the ban, people sometimes saw no way out. The amount of psychological problems increased a lot. At the same time lots of people started bringing a lot of questions forward as well. At the Belgian Christadelphian office, lots of questions came in about God and the many people dying of lung diseases.

There the church could play a role.

Our churches are meant to be for those who are broken. In other words, for all of us. Even as COVID numbers decrease, the pandemic’s mental-health effects haven’t. We live in a fractured world, and those who are wounded need a place to go. Without in-person churches, where will they go? {Church Planting Is Not Dead (and Never Will Be)}

During the impossibility of meeting in their church, a lot of people have taken refuge in today’s electronic means, such as television broadcasts, Zoom and other internet meetings. But for many, that time of seclusion was also a time of reflection and contemplation on their beliefs and the elaboration of their faith or religion. On the screen, they saw a string of churches presenting their services and found a huge variety of service delivery but also some differences in religious approach. For some, it was a confrontation of a hodgepodge of divergent ideas. This also left some people very confused, and more came to ask even more questions about the practice of their faith.

Having the possibility to meet online is not bad, but it may not be the sole solution. Though virtual reality can never be the real thing or a substitute. It is a handy solution for certain cases, like when ill or not able to meet in real life, because of long distance or work commitments.

Perhaps it is not bad to stand still by Jason Dorsey’s ‘ten identifiable reasons for the dearth of church planting’

  1. A lack of persistent, prevailing kingdom prayer in our churches.
  2. A lack of the common cause of church-planting in our presbyteries.
  3. A neglect in inspiring, training, and empowering the next generation of leaders.
  4. A paucity of evangelism among our pastors and church planters.
  5. A failure to focus our resources on church-planting.
  6. Not caring for and equipping the church planter’s wife.
  7. Insufficient “church in a box” resources for our church planters.
  8. A lack of organizational consistency, control, and accountability across our denomination.
  9. A lack of courageous leadership in our presbyteries and churches.
  10. Weak zeal for the Name of Jesus to be exalted in conversions and church-planting. {10 Reasons for the Dearth of Church-Planting in the PCA}

It is true that we need more people willing to come out and tell others about their faith. We need to do a much better job at inspiring, training and empowering the next generation of church planters.

Lots of churches are gone far away from the word of God and have gotten more interest in getting their purse filled, instead of giving the feeling that everyone in the community is welcome and does not necessarily have to fund the church. Not enough churches give their parishioners the feeling that they are expected to be in a safe place to share their struggles, to receive comfort, care, and encouragement from other women who are on the front lines of ministry, and to get the tools that they could then use in their own ministry contexts. In many churches we see that the priests/pastors/ministers/elders fail to support wives of elders or ministers – and especially, of church planters – at our peril.

For some time lots of people thought they were in the right church because it was a big church. But when that church suddenly closed its doors because of the Covid regulations that church seemed not so strong and big anymore. Suddenly they stood on their own. Now they came to understand that there is more to a church than the crowd. They came to understand better that a church can have a gathering of just a few people or as large a gathering of a few thousand believers.

As followers of Christ we do have to show others the same love Jesus gave to others. We should be ready to help others and come to try to give answers to their many questions. Others have to be able to find someone to whom they can talk and lift their heart.

Church planting exists to reach the unchurched and to tap into communities untouched by the gospel.

This doesn’t always mean a new building or a place that looks like a church, but it does mean creating a real-life space for believers, for those questioning their faith, or for future Christ-followers to come and find welcome. In the smorgasbord of life, who wouldn’t put this on their plate? {Church Planting Is Not Dead (and Never Will Be)}

Together we may not lose hope. Even if we are not with many, we should always remember that the most important thing is to keep to God His Laws and regulations and to follow Jesus Christ his teachings. So we should try to find like-minded people to come together for worshipping the God of Jesus Christ (the God of Israel). Wanting to have Christ in our midst, he will be, and even when there two or three gathering together in Jesus’ name, he shall be there in their midst. (Matthew‬ ‭18:20‬).

+

Preceding

  1. Main churches losing population share
  2. Church indeed critical in faith development
  3. Being religious has benefits even in this life
  4. 500 Years of Reformation Divisions Have Lost Much of Their Potency
  5. Being Christian in Western Europe at the beginning of the 21st century #1
  6. Unhappy people in empty churches
  7. Less Americans interested in praying
  8. Megachurches out of america now have a higher average attendance
  9. The decline of religion in the US continues unabated
  10. Christians close to falling below 50pc in England
  11. After 2,000 UK Church Buildings Close, New Church Plants Get Creative
  12. How to Save the American Church
  13. Not everyone in the churches of Christ are “ungodly”
  14. Offering words of hope
  15. Small churches of the few Christadelphians

++

Additional reading

  1. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice
  2. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  3. Are you having such days?
  4. Being religious has benefits even in this life
  5. Adar 6, Matan Torah remembering the giving of Torah
  6. Is Christianity a Greedy Religion?
  7. To find ways of Godly understanding
  8. Parish, local church community – Parochie, plaatselijke kerkgemeenschap
  9. Good or bad preacher
  10. Being Christian in Western Europe at the beginning of the 21st century #1 (Our World)
  11. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  12. Not everyone in the churches of Christ are “ungodly” (Our World)
  13. Should church members question preachers about the doctrine that is not in the Holy Bible?
  14. Unhappy people in empty churches (Our World)
  15. Concern about the impact over time of Catholic livestreamed Masses
  16. Main churches losing population share (Our World)
  17. The Field is the World #4 Many who leave the church
  18. Megachurches out of america now have a higher average attendance (Our World)
  19. Decrease in church attendance not only a recent feature #1 Methodist Church of Victoria and Tasmania
  20. Decrease in church attendance not only a recent feature #5 Necessity of attendancePerishable non theologians daring to go out to preach
  21. Offering words of hope
  22. Examples of Living Faith
  23. Did the first followers of Jesus have ‘church’
  24. Congregation – Congregatie
  25. Meeting – Vergadering
  26. Ecclesia – Church – Minding your reference
  27. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  28. Church indeed critical in faith development
  29. Daring to speak in multicultural environment
  30. Today’s thought “Clothing yourselves with the right attitude” (May 16)
  31. 72 Synod Fathers on the topic “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world”
  32. On the Affirmation of Scripture
  33. Christian Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic
  34. The Big Conversation
  35. The Big conversation – Antagonists
  36. The Big Conversation follow up
  37. Being religious has benefits even in this life (Our world)
  38. Being in isolation #1 Baptists making an important choice
  39. The post-Christian world
  40. Germinating small seeds, pebble-stones, small and mega churches and faith
  41. My perspective: Virtual v Physical church attendance
  42. Evangelisation, local preaching opposite overseas evangelism
  43. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #6 Sunday or the Lord’s day
  44. Why we do not have our worship-services in a church building
  45. Church buildings having become a liability
  46. When not seeing or not finding a biblically sound church
  47. Looking for a biblically sound church
  48. Today’s thought “Ability to assemble” (May 14)
  49. Brothers and sisters in Christ for you
  50. The body of Christ gathering in corona-times
  51. The “New Normal” – When we meet again.
  52. Those Belonging to the called ones coming together
  53. Christa-Delphos Welcome
  54. Christadelphian Halls

+++

Related

  1. Stuck in a Rut
  2. I Don’t Go to Church
  3. You Just Never Know
  4. Christ-Follower, Church-Goer
  5. Out of Context: Where Two or Three Are Gathered
  6. Out of Context: Matthew 18:20 “Where two or three are gathered together in my name…”
  7. The Early Church: Life With Jesus, Continued
  8. The Early Church and Buildings
  9. Church and Faithfulness
  10. Come to church!
  11. Reasons to Attend Church
  12. Why Take Children to Church?
  13. Don’t Stop Believing
  14. Worship
  15. Missing Church? — Intentional Faith
  16. The danger of inferring Doctrines from Examples in Scripture
  17. Is Mainline Protestantism Actually Growing?
  18. Is “Christianity after Religion” a Kind of “Neo-Pietism”?
  19. Motivation For Attending Church Services
  20. Do I Have to Go to Church?
  21. Where Christians Worship And Why?
  22. Church in the Home? Or at Home in the Church?
  23. The pandemic elephant in the room. What happened to our reformed theology?
  24. 5 Reminders If You Are Gathering Virtually
  25. The Church is Not Reading the Room
  26. The Church at the Intersection of Anabaptism and Evangelicalism
  27. How Many Americans Are “Spiritual, But Not Religious”?
  28. Oklahoma Pastor Apologizes for Spitting on Churchgoer
  29. Episode 25: Can Virtual, Online Church Be True Community?
  30. An Inspired Appeal To Assemble
  31. The Church Is a Big Deal!
  32. Church attendance – Part 1
  33. Church attendance – Part 2
  34. Church attendanc – Part 3
  35. Attendance-based religion, versus Jesus Church
  36. thoughts on Bread from Heaven
  37. Where do you live? Types of urban context
  38. Church plants come in different shapes and sizes
  39. 10 Reasons for the Dearth of Church-Planting in the PCA
  40. Planting Safer Churches
  41. Keep a watch on your own heart
  42. Watch out for wolves
  43. The Marginalization of Christianity and the Mission of God
  44. Celebrating the Advance of the Gospel!
  45. Planning Pitfalls
  46. thoughts on the death of the Church
  47. Genesis of Organic Church…
  48. Healing from Church Hurt
  49. The Nature Of Saving Faith
  50. Loving People, Loving God
  51. Arise, shine, for our light has come!
  52. What’s the Evangelical Covenant Church? “An Immigrant Church”
  53. Best of The Pietist Schoolman: What’s the Evangelical Covenant Church?
  54. Nine Virtues, Nine Vices, and Applied Ecclesiology: a conversation with Roy Oksnevad

Published by Guestspeaker

A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world. We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".

5 thoughts on “Christians are increasingly mixing and matching their faith in unexpected ways

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