How Does Transformation in Our Churches Relate to Addressing Dark Issues?
© 2023 Adults Saving Kids
Adults Saving Kids is asking congregations to rethink how to do church. At the same time it is calling for churches to confront and do something about dark issues, the wolves in people’s lives. Isn’t there some kind of contradiction here? Do these two which seem like very different issues fit together somehow?
The truth is that doing church the way we are doing church now does not connect these two topics. Pastors and church services are not able to train our children to be equipped to deal with the wolves in their lives. The only people who are in a position to help their children not simply be sheep in the midst of wolves but also be wise or shrewd enough to fend off those wolves (Matthew 10:16) are the parents and grandparents. That means those family leaders need to be trained and equipped to fulfill their callings. (Ephesians 6:4)).
However, the way we are doing church in most congregations leaves out the vital role the parents and grandparents must play. The focus for any congregation needs to shift from the church building to what is going on in the homes. The main ministry of a congregation that gives it a meaningful future is making sure parents are passing on the faith to their kids and wising them up to have the tools and wise skills to be street smart about the decisions they make.
Now why is this so important in the way to do church? For many churches the ministry of the pastor seems to be key. We want our pastor to be a true man or woman of God, to lead us with grace, wisdom, truth, courage and love. This is all good. It means, however, that the pastor is going to need to be looking to God every day in order to be faithful. Without God working in the pastor’s life, there will be no way the pastor will fulfill his or her calling. So, this is a great adventure to be lived out in the pastor’s life, dependent on Christ, on the Holy Spirit.
But do we leave it there? What about the lay people, their callings? Are they not also challenged to live out an adventure with God that means God must be present with them? At this point we look at Deuteronomy 6 and Psalm 78:1-8, the challenge of passing on the faith so kids are ready to live out their faith even when they face crafty and devil-led opposition. Read Deuteronomy 6 and notice the work it is going to take to teach and equip youngsters to face into evildoers and idol worshippers. Those obeying this will need God’s presence & help for it is going to take all they have and what only the Holy Spirit can give.
This leads us to Proverbs, chapter 1. Here we have parents seeking to bring wisdom into the lives of their simple-minded, naïve, trusting children. Here we are confronted by the verse, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” In other words, true wisdom is not going to be found if we leave the Lord out of this. So, these parents are living out a great adventure as we see in Proverbs, chapter 1-7. In order to fulfill their callings, they, like the pastor, must depend on God, pray to God, let God teach them, empower them, give them wisdom on how to work with their children, pray for their children and themselves.
So what does all this mean for us? It means a congregation is not just a pastor serving the people. It means that every member is a vital muscle in building up the body of Christ. It means every member has a ministry and the Holy Spirit is there to empower and inform them to fulfill those ministries they have. Then the body of Christ is functioning as it should. (Ephesians 4:11-16). No longer can the congregation be seen as mainly the pastor and perhaps a few others. Rather it is a whole body, everyone is involved, everyone is being prayed for.
For a congregation to not function this way, is it actually impoverishing itself by having some of its members sitting on the bench as though their role is mainly to watch what is going on? To fend off the wolves, everyone is needed. There is the competition out there facing every congregation, ready to mislead, to entrap, to gain the upper hand. (Ephesians 4:14). Jesus promises each person he is there with them, to empower them, to pray for them, to enable them to fulfill the vital callings they have. The pastor and teachers’ job are to make sure all these members are equipped for the ministries God has bestowed upon them. (Ephesians 4:11-12)
The common ground we have come to see is this. When every member of the congregation is doing their part, the congregation is stronger, more alive, and vigorous. At the same time as the equipped parents and grandparents live their faith and pass on it on to their offspring, they are experiencing the adventure of living out their faith in Christ. They are giving their offspring what they need to make wise decisions as those in Christ, God’s children. The congregation is built up, the youth have more faith and are safer. This becomes a win-win church.