[by Greg Perry]
Some time in the past, I introduced a challenging problem today: what do we do with the vast majority of churches that choose to take on a role that has nothing to do with the Bible’s instruction for churches and Pastors? (See What is the Purpose of the Church?)
I want to separate out one issue, that of community service, from the series. Much of the following appeared in my What is the Purpose of the Church, Part 2. I’m finding enough times to discuss community service that I wanted to dedicate an article just to that issue. So here you go.
A Goal Should Never Be: “Serve the Community”
A few years ago I called a church in Glenpool, Oklahoma to find out what they were about. It should be the norm in Oklahoma to find a “good church,” but sadly, it’s the exception.
The Pastor (I use that term loosely) said, “We serve the community! Always! Often, we’ll get together on Sunday morning for church and decide, ‘we should be in town helping people!’ so we just leave church and find some way to help people. We do this more often than not. We are a church that gets out there and serves!”
My silence didn’t seem to impress him. But that was okay; he didn’t impress me.
If your primary goal, or even a secondary goal for your church is to serve the community, my question is simple: How do your people know how to serve? You’re sending them out without any grounding in Scripture other than what they might guess at, or for the few who might look at the Bible once in a while, probably without much understanding of God’s Word.
In other words, you’re sending uneducated people (uneducated in the Bible) to represent God. So they’ll go out and serve for sure. And people will think you’re so nice. But nobody’s going to get saved. Nobody’s going to understand God’s important message to His people. Your flock isn’t trained in the Word, you obviously aren’t either, so my real question is this:
What is the difference between you and a secular YMCA or United Way?
Teaching of the Saints Only
The goal of the Pastor, and the church, is this: To teach for the equipping of the saints.
Not sending the congregation packing each week to do something in the community.
Not even getting wicked, filthy church-goers to change! If someone says, “I know a homosexual I’m trying to get to come to church so he can get saved!”
Oh how pious of you! Why would you bring a pervert into God’s house of worship? Leaven leavens the loaf, the loaf doesn’t correct the leaven.
The Church Should Do What the Church Should Do
If your Pastor has no idea what the Bible says about how a church should be run, then run to another who does.