PART 1 THE CHURCH OF GOD OR CHURCH OF MAN

Self-ImprovementSpirituality

  • Author James Rondinone
  • Published April 25, 2022
  • Word count 2,489

PART 1 THE CHURCH OF GOD OR CHURCH OF MAN

What should I be looking for concerning leadership when deciding to attend and remain in a particular assembly of believers?

INTRODUCTION

Have you or are you in a place in your life where you’re ready to leave or have already left the church you’re attending and are looking for a new one? This has happened to me on a number of occasions. In my younger years, following my conversion to Christ, I was involved with a particular ministry for about seven years. Due to doctrinal differences, indiscretions by those in leadership, and the subsequent need to find employment outside of the church, I left this ministry in tears.

Having obtained a four-year B.S. certification in mathematics years earlier, I decided to seek a job in this field. Eventually, one opened up, believe it or not, on an island that I’d never heard of before. After being interviewed twice, once by the superintendent and then by the School Board, I was offered to teach high school math in a very small school. I found out later, to my surprise, that I was the only person that was interviewed for the position. Once my family secured housing and settled in, we began looking for a local church to attend.

The way I looked at this challenge was as follows. I was simply looking for a pastor to co-labor with. Why did I only mention the leadership name of a pastor? This is because many churches don’t believe that there are apostles or prophets anymore, as did the church I had previously attended. So, the big question that needed to be answered in my mind was, what should I be looking for concerning leadership when deciding to attend and remain in a particular assembly of believers? At this time, there were four main churches operating on the island.

I wonder how many of you were or are in the situation I was in? And if this was or is the case, do you have any preconceived ideas as to what you’d hope to find when you attended a local assembly? I’m sure that some of what you’d like to find are similar to the desirables that are listed below, which, if noticeable, might convince you to return.

     Some of them could be that:

If single, a lot of unmarried young people would be attending.

If married with children, daycare.

There are a lot of activities to get involved with (e.g., prayer meetings, bake sales, yard sales, pot luck dinners, Bible studies, men’s and women’s breakfast, etc.).

There’s a building structure whose architecture is captivating.

There’s a set of rules to follow.

There’s ample room for holding wedding venues.

There’s a cafeteria for food and drink consumption.

There’s a youth ministry for teens.

There’s an ecumenical music ministry.

There’s a charitable ministry to provide for those in need in the community.

There are worldwide missionary teams available to participate in.

With that said, here’s another question that I believe should be of the utmost importance.

How many of us have preconceived scriptural ideas about the pastor of the church that would cause us to want to remain in the church that we’ve decided to attend?

In most instances, I’d say that this concern is probably not an issue. Why not? Because who knows what the qualifications of a pastor are? Who knows what the duties of a pastor are? Who knows what should be contained in the content of the messages that are brought forth by them?

This is where this study comes in. The purpose of which is to help inform you to know what to look for when determining whether the pastor of the church meets the standards that are presented in Scripture. You might ask, what gives you any credibility in this area? Well, that’s a good question. Here are some examples of what I believe qualifies me.

I attended Bible college for two years, having received certification in Christian leadership having graduated summa cum laude. I’ve studied and taught the Word of God for over forty years in various settings. I was on staff for two years as an outreach coordinator for a non-denominational church, having been involved in many aspects of ministry such as visiting the sick, providing counseling, conducting a Bible Study, being a guest speaker in various venues, coordinating events, etc. I oversaw a small church and functioned as a pastor-teacher for about five years. I’ve written six books on various biblical topics, which are available online, and am in the process of publishing a few more. Currently, for the past five years, I’ve uploaded a weekly series of teachings on various biblical topics in the local online newspaper with a substantial readership.

I love the Word of God. I have a passion for studying it hermeneutically (exegetically). Exegesis refers to scriptural interpretation that’s based on the analysis of grammatical features (the original languages) and historical background (context). By having participated in many denominational and non-denominational churches, I believe this has given me the advantage of not looking at doctrinal topics with potentially biased religious glasses on but rather with the insightfulness of the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

As I believe we should know what to look for before being submitted to those in the leadership of any church, let me ask you a couple of questions.

When you set out to buy a car, do you take a look at its safety rating?

When you set out to search for a pastor, do you take a look at their Bible rating?

It’s hard to resist not buying a car that you’re looking at when it has (my preferences noted) a black interior, red exterior, convertible, great gas mileage, and a reasonable price. Likewise, it’s hard to resist when the pastor you’re looking for offers everything that’s on your wish list except a Bible rating.

I’m not saying that a church shouldn’t have potluck dinners, or that a church shouldn’t have a youth and music ministry. But what I’m questioning is this.

    

What do the Scriptures reveal about the pastor that we should be looking for in regard to our spiritual walk with God?   

Believe it or not; this could be the most important decision that we’ll have to make in respect to whether in our experience the church we attend will provide all the divine tools needed for us to be able to be conformed to the image of God’s Son. Are you ready to find out what the Bible declares as to the calling, qualifications, and duties of a pastor? Please turn to chapter one. But wait! Before you do, I’d like to; leave you with an article that discusses some of the things you should be looking for when trying to find a church to attend.

If I were in your shoes, [I’d] probably google a phrase like, questions to ask when searching for a church. It should come as no surprise that many articles will appear that might seem to provide you with the aspects of ministry that they think you’ll be attracted to. The one commentary I chose to leave you with appears to have all the right ingredients. But does it? Please read it, and then I’ll offer some engaging thoughts.

[FIVE] ESSENTIAL MINISTRIES EVERY CHURCH NEEDS

October 18, 2021

As churches take different shapes - from rural country [churches] to vibrant urban churches, to suburban megachurches - their ministries can be just as varied. There are scores of different types of church ministries, and sometimes you can find dozens of them offered at a single church.

But when we boil it down to the bare necessities, there are a handful of ministries churches need to be good at.

Which [five] ministries does my church need?

#1. Guest Services.

Your church can have dynamic preaching, amazing music, and cutting-edge technology- but if guests don’t feel welcome, your church will never grow. First impressions are [powerful] and a good guest services ministry will harness that power to make an impact on seekers who visit you. Loneliness is an epidemic in America. More than one-third of Americans say they feel “serious loneliness.” Among young adults, 61% feel serious loneliness. People crave meaningful contact with others. [They’re] desperate for real [relationships and] for a community.

The body of Christ can fill this need. It’s crucial that every visitor who steps through your door feels loved, welcomed, and cared for. Put yourself in the shoes of a first-time visitor and walk yourself through their encounter at your church. Is parking easy? Is it obvious where they should go first? If they have questions, how can they tell who will help them? Most importantly: are they greeted with a smile? Do they feel welcome? Of the ministries that grow your church, guest services [are] the most critical. Make certain that guests are a [priority] and that your church is a warm and welcoming place.

#2. Preaching/Teaching.

Even a world-class guest services ministry will only get you so far. You need to be welcoming people into something worthwhile—and nothing is more worthwhile than the [good news]. As the Apostle Paul writes, “Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for [I’m] compelled to preach. Woe to me if I [don’t] preach the gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16)

If people don’t hear the gospel of Jesus Christ when they come to your church, then all of your other ministries are in vain. From the pulpit to the Sunday [school] classrooms, your congregation must be taught to repent of their sins and put their faith in Christ. Scripturally grounded preaching and teaching are absolutely essential ministries in every church.

If your preaching ministry could use some improvement, have church leadership consider investing in your pastor (or pastors) by sending them to workshops or paying for preaching classes to help them hone their communication skills. But whatever it takes, be sure that the gospel is effectively taught at your church. Your community can obtain self-improvement advice from plenty of other places. They need their local church to show them the only One who can give them living water.

#3. International Outreach.

It’s far too easy for us to become self-focused in America today. International outreach reminds us that we have brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. It reminds us that so many in the world haven’t even heard the good news of Jesus yet. It reminds us how very blessed we [are] and gives us an opportunity to be good stewards of those blessings. Most importantly, with international outreach, we obey the Great Commission.

International outreach may seem daunting, especially for smaller churches. But it doesn’t have to be. Children’s HopeChest can be your Missions Department, giving your church an immediate international outreach ministry without creating a ton of work for pastors and church leaders. Choosing Children’s HopeChest is a dynamic way to partner with an overseas community, build relationships with real people there, and be part of a sustainable plan to help them thrive.

You have the opportunity to ignite hope in the world! Your church can empower children internationally and create long-term sustainability in their [communities] in the name of Jesus. Contact Children’s HopeChest to learn more about how you can plug and play international [outreach].

#4. Children’s Ministry. 

“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. (Matt. 18:5) [NIV]

 Scripture makes clear to us Jesus’ attitude toward children.

[Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”] (Matt. 19:14) [NIV]

Jesus loves little children and honors them. Our churches need to follow His example. You don’t need expensive curricula or fancy supplies. You just need some faithful volunteers who love Jesus [and children] and want to teach the kids about God and the Bible in age-appropriate ways. If children in your church feel loved, they’ll want to come, and they’ll want to learn more about God. It’s important to parents that their church welcomes their [children] and that their kids feel safe and cared for at Sunday [school]. Make sure your church treats children the way Jesus did!

#5. Praise and Worship.

The Bible [is overflowing] with exhortations to worship our God. God clearly desires and requires our praise. King David sets an example for us:

[Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.] (Psalm 146:1-2) [NIV]

Whether your church uses a pipe organ and traditional hymns or electric guitars and the newest contemporary songs, you must have some sort of worship ministry. Worshiping God refocuses our attention onto Him and away from ourselves. Corporate worship reminds us that we’re part of the body of Christ. And worshiping God is acting in accordance with Scripture.

[Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.] (Heb. 13:15) [NIV]

No matter the size of your church or where you meet, these five ministries [aren’t] only possible but essential. Other ministries can certainly be helpful and [positive] but avoid the temptation to branch out to others until you have made sure these five are thriving. With them, you’ll have a healthy and effective church!1

Let me say that I agree with everything in this article. All that was mentioned is important in assuring that those attending the church and those that decide to visit it will have an opportunity to get to know God in a personal way. As far as providing outreach to children and missions, I couldn’t agree more. Worship and praise are essential. But there two key components in my mind. The first is the preaching of the gospel. And the second is scripturally grounded preaching and teaching. The latter one sounds great, but what does it really mean, and what actually constitutes it?

With all that was just said, I believe that the answer to this question should be based on what should qualify those in leadership for ordination. You see, what spiritually certifies a leader is what should equip those who are attending the church in the sense of spiritual conversion and growth. If this isn’t right, then all will be wrong. As we progress in this study, hopefully what I’ve just said will become clearer to us.

Website: http://bit.ly/1RQnYJ8          

Endnotes

1“[FIVE] ESSENTIAL MINISTRIES EVERY CHURCH NEEDS,” children’s hopechest. 30 January 2022

.

My name is James Rondinone.

I grew up in Massachusetts and began my own spiritual journey early on in life.

I attended Bible college, having completed a two-year Christian Leadership course of study, and graduated as valedictorian (summa cum laude).

I’ve written and published a number of spiritual books on various biblical topics.

These books can be found online.

Amazon.com: https://amzn.to/2RB0Y7D Website: https://makingtheonerightchoice.com

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