Announcement

Collapse

Christianity 201 Guidelines

orthodox Christians only.

Discussion on matters of general mainstream evangelical Christian theology that do not fit within Theology 201. Have some spiritual gifts ceased today? Is the KJV the only viable translation for the church today? In what sense are the books of the bible inspired and what are those books? Church government? Modern day prophets and apostles?

This forum is primarily for Christians to discuss matters of Christian doctrine, and is not the area for debate between atheists (or those opposing orthodox Christianity) and Christians. Inquiring atheists (or sincere seekers/doubters/unorthodox) seeking only Christian participation and having demonstrated a manner that does not seek to undermine the orthodox Christian faith of others are also welcome, but must seek Moderator permission first. When defining “Christian” or "orthodox" for purposes of this section, we mean persons holding to the core essentials of the historic Christian faith such as the Trinity, the Creatorship of God, the virgin birth, the bodily resurrection of Christ, the atonement, the future bodily return of Christ, the future bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust, and the final judgment. Persons not holding to these core doctrines are welcome to participate in the Comparative Religions section without restriction, in Theology 201 as regards to the nature of God and salvation with limited restrictions, and in Christology for issues surrounding the person of Christ and the Trinity. Atheists are welcome to discuss and debate these issues in the Apologetics 301 forum without such restrictions.

Additionally and rarely, there may be some topics or lines of discussion that within the Moderator's discretion fall so outside the bounds of mainstream orthodox doctrine (in general Christian circles or in the TheologyWeb community) or that deny certain core values that are the Christian convictions of forum leadership that may be more appropriately placed within Unorthodox Theology 201. NO personal offense should be taken by such discretionary decision for none is intended. While inerrancy is NOT considered a requirement for posting in this section, a general respect for the Bible text and a respect for the inerrantist position of others is requested.

The Tweb rules apply here like they do everywhere at Tweb, if you haven't read them, now would be a good time.

Forum Rules: Here
See more
See less

Church Expectations

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Church Expectations

    Before Covid-19 began, my wife and I found ourselves between churches. With Covid-19, going around looking for a new church isn't really possible. So I've been using the time to reflect on what I want from a church. My wife is more "I'll know it when I see it." I've also been doing some reading on my personality type. One thing I found out that feels true is I will feel out of place no matter the situation. It helps explains why I have trouble setting and dealing with expectations.

    So, help me out. What are reasonable expectations for a church? The service is easy: Bible based and God centered. This you can research anymore by go to church website and listen to a couple sermons. I'm thinking of the community and non-worship service times. So what do you think: what's reasonable for the other 6 days and 23 or so hours in the week from a church?
    "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

    "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

  • #2
    Fortunately, I have had rare occasions to be church hunting. Once, when my first church had become cult-like, another as I prepared to move closer to my employment, about 40 miles away, and lastly as that church suffered mismanagement, lost members, no longer preached a gospel message, and eventually died as its last remaining members sole the property and moved on.

    But a few things I depended on:

    * Prayer, definitely. Pray for God to guide through circumstances, give you wisdom and discernment.

    * Search their doctrinal statement. And I say that carefully; dead churches may have solid Bible-based doctrines and still be dead. And live churches may have simple basic doctrinal statements.

    * Do they have Sunday School, Sunday evening services, midweek prayer services, other fellowships throughout the week? I generally avoided the Sunday-morning-only churches when I was searching.

    * Look for live-streaming worship services. That will give you an idea of what kind of messages they are preaching. What songs they are singing. Within reason. I prefer the traditional hymns, and I really don't care for some of the modern songs my church now uses during worship, but it's my church, God led me here, and I'm not about to change because of the volume. The last church mentioned above, by the time I left it, sang modern music that had absolutely no Christian references. I can see an occasional song like that; even Amazing Grace doesn't mention Jesus. But it became a steady habit as they dropped their doctrine and message in order to attract more outsiders. As for what they are preaching, even there I occasionally have differences, minor ones with which Bible believing Christians disagree, but I don't make issue with that.

    * Definitely DO NOT judge the church by the appearances of the people, as much as I cringe when I see certain hair styles or clothing. I remember one church where the teenage son of a prominent leader had long green hair. But wouldn't you know he was the one leading neighborhood Bible clubs with children?

    * Check their websites. And here I may sound more critical and judgmental. But I have seen some churches that promote themselves with pride as being open, non-judgmental, non-critical in accepting alternate lifestyles that are condemned by Scripture. You can fill in the blanks. It's one thing to not condemn people of those lifestyles, but it's another thing to openly invite them and advocate those life styles.

    * Once you find a good church and join it, accept differences in taste of music, the color or the carpet, the stained glass, doctrinal issues. If you find a perfect church, stay away from it.

    Comment


    • #3
      As an aside: When I was planning on moving closer to my employment, back in 1998, I learned that Dr. Lehman Strauss was going to speak at a prominent church nearby, so I stayed in town and attended that evening service. After I finally moved, I tried that church again, morning service and evening service, and had spoken with the pastor.

      By coincidence, their organist, then age 29, was the daughter of the youth pastor of my first church when I had become a Christian back in 1968. I remember the youth pastor's wife being pregnant at that time. Maybe that was a sign. Anyway, I told the pastor of this church that I was thinking of attending the prayer meeting that Wednesday. He informed me that they were planning a brief 15-minute business meeting at the beginning at the prayer service, but it would be okay for me to sit in.

      Between that Sunday and Wednesday, the deacons of that church had a meeting, during which there was a discussion about selling off their Christian School because of drop in attendance. One of the deacons afterwards made copies of the deacon meeting minutes and mailed it to several members of the congregation.

      Come Wednesday, evening, and that planned 15-minute meeting turned out to be a two-hour hatefest, and I just sat there, afraid to draw attention by getting up and walking out. Members demanded that the deacons resign. Another complained that their teens could not use the church for a carwash fundraiser while the deacons allowed outside groups to use the church for just that purpose.

      I never went back.
      Last edited by Faber; 09-07-2020, 02:53 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
        Before Covid-19 began, my wife and I found ourselves between churches. With Covid-19, going around looking for a new church isn't really possible. So I've been using the time to reflect on what I want from a church. My wife is more "I'll know it when I see it." I've also been doing some reading on my personality type. One thing I found out that feels true is I will feel out of place no matter the situation. It helps explains why I have trouble setting and dealing with expectations.

        So, help me out. What are reasonable expectations for a church? The service is easy: Bible based and God centered. This you can research anymore by go to church website and listen to a couple sermons. I'm thinking of the community and non-worship service times. So what do you think: what's reasonable for the other 6 days and 23 or so hours in the week from a church?
        To paraphrase JFK - as not what your church can do for you, ask what you can do for your church.

        Do you just want to "get lost" in a mega-church? No accountability?

        Do you have spiritual gifts, talents or abilities that are needed by a local church?
        Is it your desire to exercise those spiritual gifts, or use those talents and abilities?

        Are you looking to be "coddled" or challenged? Is the church plugged into the community - actually doing something outside the walls?
        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Faber View Post
          * Once you find a good church and join it, accept differences in taste of music, the color or the carpet, the stained glass, doctrinal issues. If you find a perfect church, stay away from it.
          Light-hearted reflection --- if you find the perfect church, don't join it, cause you'll ruin it.
          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Faber View Post
            As an aside: When I was planning on moving closer to my employment, back in 1998, I learned that Dr. Lehman Strauss was going to speak at a prominent church nearby, so I stayed in town and attended that evening service. After I finally moved, I tried that church again, morning service and evening service, and had spoken with the pastor.

            By coincidence, their organist, then age 29, was the daughter of the youth pastor of my first church when I had become a Christian back in 1968. I remember the youth pastor's wife being pregnant at that time. Maybe that was a sign. Anyway, I told the pastor of this church that I was thinking of attending the prayer meeting that Wednesday. He informed me that they were planning a brief 15-minute business meeting at the beginning at the prayer service, but it would be okay for me to sit in.

            Between that Sunday and Wednesday, the deacons of that church had a meeting, during which there was a discussion about selling off their Christian School because of drop in attendance. One of the deacons afterwards made copies of the deacon meeting minutes and mailed it to several members of the congregation.

            Come Wednesday, evening, and that planned 15-minute meeting turned out to be a two-hour hatefest, and I just sat there, afraid to draw attention by getting up and walking out. Members demanded that the deacons resign. Another complained that their teens could not use the church for a carwash fundraiser while the deacons allowed outside groups to use the church for just that purpose.

            I never went back.
            We haven't had business meetings for a while, because of Covid, but in the gool ol' days, when somebody would express interest in joining our church - I would suggest "come to a business meeting first". Their eyes would get big, cause many people have had your same experience. But I would assure them, our business meetings are FUN! We take care of business, but if ANYTHING that is not absolutely crucial doesn't get at least a 75% vote, I'll suggest we reconsider it at a later time.

            My thinking is, if we're only "majority" for it, we're not going to get overwhelming support when we try to implement it.

            But our business meetings are fun on purpose.
            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

            Comment


            • #7
              And watch out for those Southern Baptist Churches.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
                Before Covid-19 began, my wife and I found ourselves between churches. With Covid-19, going around looking for a new church isn't really possible. So I've been using the time to reflect on what I want from a church. My wife is more "I'll know it when I see it." I've also been doing some reading on my personality type. One thing I found out that feels true is I will feel out of place no matter the situation. It helps explains why I have trouble setting and dealing with expectations.

                So, help me out. What are reasonable expectations for a church? The service is easy: Bible based and God centered. This you can research anymore by go to church website and listen to a couple sermons. I'm thinking of the community and non-worship service times. So what do you think: what's reasonable for the other 6 days and 23 or so hours in the week from a church?
                IMHBAO, a lot depends on the size of the church. I wouldn't have the same expectations I would for a small, almost neighborhood church with <100 members as I would for a church that is one of the biggest in a metropolitan area drawing in between 10,000-20,000 each week.

                I'm always still in trouble again

                "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Faber View Post
                  And watch out for those Southern Baptist Churches.
                  Especially the conservative ones!
                  "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                    IMHBAO, a lot depends on the size of the church. I wouldn't have the same expectations I would for a small, almost neighborhood church with <100 members as I would for a church that is one of the biggest in a metropolitan area drawing in between 10,000-20,000 each week.
                    From 2015 statistics concerning Southern Baptist Churches...
                    • 88% have less than 250 in attendance on Sunday Morning
                    • The AVERAGE SBC attendance on Sunday Morning is 145
                    • The MEDIAN attendance is 70
                    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                      From 2015 statistics concerning Southern Baptist Churches...
                      • 88% have less than 250 in attendance on Sunday Morning
                      • The AVERAGE SBC attendance on Sunday Morning is 145
                      • The MEDIAN attendance is 70
                      The church I attend is much closer to the ten thousand a week. They hold services in a number of languages including Laotian.

                      With my job I only attend church a dozen times a year and while they really do work at trying to make everyone feel welcome I think when I'm no longer working most Sundays I'll likely start looking for a smaller (and closer) church.

                      I'm always still in trouble again

                      "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                      "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                        The church I attend is much closer to the ten thousand a week. They hold services in a number of languages including Laotian.

                        With my job I only attend church a dozen times a year and while they really do work at trying to make everyone feel welcome I think when I'm no longer working most Sundays I'll likely start looking for a smaller (and closer) church.
                        So, let's go there --- what will you be looking for?
                        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                          Especially the conservative ones!
                          IKR. Many people end up being reconciled with God through the gospel shared at those churches.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                            So, let's go there --- what will you be looking for?
                            First and foremost I want it to be Gospel/Bible-based, with the emphasis there as well.

                            I'm always still in trouble again

                            "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                            "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                              To paraphrase JFK - as not what your church can do for you, ask what you can do for your church.

                              Do you just want to "get lost" in a mega-church? No accountability?

                              Do you have spiritual gifts, talents or abilities that are needed by a local church?
                              Is it your desire to exercise those spiritual gifts, or use those talents and abilities?

                              Are you looking to be "coddled" or challenged? Is the church plugged into the community - actually doing something outside the walls?
                              We're not looking for a megachurch. One Sunday we went to one church to try and discovered it was bigger than we realized. We didn't even bother going in. I'm guessing we're looking for a church with a 100 to 300 person membership.

                              I have gifts and talents that I would like to use and I think would benefit a local church. Unfortunately it seems these days the only talent most churches want me to exercise is pew warming and check writing. Too many churches have their programs and no way to deal with people that don't fit into them. For example, many churches are pushing small groups. Getting my wife to join a small group is going to be close to impossible. Also when I join a group, I'm not looking for free therapy. I was looking at one church's website at their men's group and it sure read like a small group therapy session.

                              I am looking for community. I am looking for people to do activities with. I hope to find a place where if there is something I want to do or pursue, I don't end up being by myself because no one else is interested. So certainly I want a church that strives to do both care and nurture of its members and outreach to the community.
                              "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

                              "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

                              Comment

                              Related Threads

                              Collapse

                              Topics Statistics Last Post
                              Started by Faber, 10-26-2020, 07:59 PM
                              2 responses
                              28 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post Faber
                              by Faber
                               
                              Started by Faber, 10-25-2020, 07:52 PM
                              2 responses
                              18 views
                              1 like
                              Last Post mossrose  
                              Started by seer, 10-21-2020, 12:37 PM
                              2 responses
                              51 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post rogue06
                              by rogue06
                               
                              Started by Faber, 10-13-2020, 03:13 PM
                              4 responses
                              29 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post Faber
                              by Faber
                               
                              Started by Christian3, 10-09-2020, 08:37 AM
                              35 responses
                              236 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post Thoughtful Monk  
                              Working...
                              X