The Joint-Venture of Churches.
By Theo Dege
One of the important questions of today, is how to work together with other churches for evangelisation. (Or is there any other aim why it should be done?)
This a quite complex question and hard to answer, although there are only a few Bible verses around.
First of all, we have to ask what kind of connections are good and which ones are counterproductive. For Example Jesus had a very strong teaching against pharisees. He told them they are blind and “They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them” (Matthew 23,4). As you agree with me, to work with churches which are acting like that may be a waste of time. I don’t say you have to be 100% theological the same, but be sure that the basics remain the same. Because the basics are vital and you don’t have the energy to go through them again and again. But, and here is the good point, for those who are not yet in Christ you have to start from the very beginning, and that is how your sheep also hear that message often.
I met Christians which are bored, if they hear the same story every time. I met preachers telling me the same all days. Believe me a long time I belonged to the first group.
To work together with other churches you need this attitude: People outside the church are the unsaved and we have to reach them. There is no general recipe how this could be done, and this one of the first pitfalls working together. One is thinking, it has to be done like this and the other one will declare the same way as devilish or not God’s plan. Can the reader see the conflict here? Somebody is judging over the other about their ways. And we are fast to judge, even if we see problems in our own church.
I once had a guy in my street-preaching team from a quite rarely Catholic congregation. Of course I knew working with Catholics might be counterproductive, but that was never the case. Mainly because of I heard his message and my brain does not get stuck thinking “He is catholic, how I could allow him to preach the Gospel”, because I was not able to judge as I didn’t knew about his congregation and only listened to the message. I was convinced he has to be in a pentecostal church with a very strong message. So we have labels for churches and thinking on thing or another about different labels. Some thoughts might be true and we really need distinguishing between spirits (1. Cor, 12,10) some other things are totally nonsense. God made humans equal, we are giving them a label. Everybody has labels for others.
These is the second pitfall: Labels.
I will move on briefly to the third point I wanted to share with you. We are in a time where individualism is very strong, we are in a time where leaders are not more respected, as we find every time a point if criticism. Think about a special issue. Imagine if Jesus was an employee of Jesaja and between them were Jeremiah and John the Baptist, is Jesus than a direct executor of God or has he listen to his bosses? Wouldn’t that be a mess and a delay in godly decisions (remember what Peter said in Mark 8,33)? Is this not the secret why companies with flat hierarchies are very successful? So the third pitfall is hierarchy. If a boss have to approve all you do, you will be restricted. Of course you need spiritual guidance, but this have to come from brothers and sisters which are in the same layer than you, and not thinking they are higher than you, because they are older or have a theological profession. So everybody should be direct subject to God.
The fourth and the last is competition. In these days you are bounded to competition. As already said, we are equal. Churches and congregations are equal, every church has its good and its bad habits and sights. The church of God is only one, have this in mind. Some of my colleagues are working for oecumenical media. Why there is never a bigger conflict? Because they know, they belong together, sitting in the same boat and need each other. If they are once in a disagreement, they forgive each other and go on. Is that not the kind of love Jesus always preached about? But straight back to competition. Competition decides about success. In business, if you are better than your competitor you earn more money and it might be, your job is safer. If we are one church, how there could be competition? Or is it about tenth here? If I have more attendees I have more money for my church? Common, is that a christian key figure?
So I came across the four points:
Judging, labels, hierarchy and competition. Overcoming these is quite hard for a lot of us. And here is a solution for all of these things.
Don’t have expectations against anybody except God, he will provide, he is responsible for each of the people. Don’t involve so much in other men’s (and women’s) business. Have consultants, even if they are sometimes younger, but never miss to form your own opinion about the world from newspapers, blogs and most important the Bible. God said for example in Jesaja 8,12 “Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.” Don’t give so much on comments on social media, read them, have them in mind but don’t let them hurt you. Because you are easier judging if they judge you. Be open for God’s words ( which mainly come direct from the Bible). Be constantly in a mood of brokenness and forlornness and let God shake your sights, because if Jesus is not savor – nobody is. This is what it is all about.
If you are discouraged by reading this, think about this verses in Ecclesiastes 7 “ Frustration is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart.”. I guarantee you, if your are start working interdenominational you will face all mentioned pitfalls. But be encouraged, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
If you feel what I say, you are ready to act together as different churches in this generation.
God make me what I preach – this is my prayer.
Posted on March 20, 2016, in Bible Study, Uncategorized and tagged Churches working together, Divisions in the Church, The Joint-enture of Churches, Theo Dege. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.