Friday, November 09, 2007

What is a church?

This is a question that Shane and I have really been sorting through in our minds, and in the Word, for the past several months.

For example, what would the Lord have us do with our children during church?

When the Hebrews met, they included their children. It was a huge part of their culture, as well as God's instruction to them, to have their children alongside them as they studied the Torah and worshiped the Lord.

Deuteronomy 6:1-7
1"Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the LORD your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it,
2 so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged.
3 "O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

4 "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!
5 "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
6 "These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
7 "You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

Certainly, there are some wonderful childrens' programs in churches. No doubt. It's just that in many of the churches we have visited, they believe that Scripture must be dumbed down in order for children to understand it.

I don't believe that, and I don't want to be held accountable before God for changing His Word! We went to one church that took John 3:16, and cut it to "God loves you".

Wow! Ok, I agree it's important that a child knows that God loves him, but must we really cut the Gospel out of John 3:16?

These children were in kindergarten! I think with a little bit of effort on the part of the teacher, they could have understood "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life".

In fact, I know they could have because I've seen how much of the Word children can absorb when it's presented to them in an interesting way, and they have an opportunity to engage with God and His Word.

So...other questions have been pulling at us as we've looked for a church...questions like, "Does God really want our family to drive 20 - 30 minutes to a church, or would He rather us be planted in our community where He can more readily use us?".

"How much time do we have left with our children, to pour the Word into them, and build a firm foundation for the rest of their lives?".

"How can we reach out to the lost, the hurting, the poor in our neighborhood, and share the love of Yeshua with them?".

But, ultimately our question has been..."What is the model that we have of a church, from Scripture? What is the basis of a church supposed to be?".

Tune in tomorrow, and I'll tell you what we've found out....

Have a super night!

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