Christian Basic Training

Where is the Church?

By Russ Pickett

Break Line


     More than likely this article will make quite a few " Born Again Christians " very upset or possibly even angry  ....  but many people and/or Christians have been upset with me before and I can take it.  However this is something that needs to be said, especially in this day and age as our Lord comes ever closer to coming again for his saints.  I pray that those who read it will read it prayfully  ....  and question themselves, their relationship with Jesus Christ, and with their local church.

     My opinion doesn't come lightly  ...  or without much thought and prayer.  It comes from alot of thought, prayer, study, reading, and from me simply wanting to understand this basic question, " Where Is The Church? "  And I ask that question because:


Most Christian Churches today
have become nothing more than pure

" Social Clubs "


     And yes ... that includes all the many different types of Christian churches be they Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterians, Catholic, Pentecostals, Episcopal, Independant, Fundamentalist, you name them and they all fall into this trap!

     The church has slowly but surely become corrupted by those that " truely " aren't Christians even though they have walked down the aisle, cried, and said what has become the magic words to become a part of the "social club", which are "I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior".  But ... remember what Jesus said:

Matt. 7:21 "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."

     To many churches over the years have been seeking more and more members to play the numbers game.  That is, how quickly can we make our church grow?  How soon can we hire a fulltime secretary, assistant pastor, education pastor, or youth pastor?  How many more do we need before we can build a bigger building or add an addition to our current building?  How many more do we need so that we can start a Christian School?

     Now I realize that getting more members means more people are in churches listening to the word of God which is a good thing.  However, how many members do you get before there are so many that the members aren't really being given spiritual guidance in their lives?  In my opinion, for a pastor to adequately provide spiritual guidance to members, no church should have more than 200 members.  And yes ... that count includes men, women, and children.


" Bigger Buildings? "

     I was in a local Fundamentalist Baptist style church lately because someone had recommend it to me as a good strong Christian Church with a dedicated and Godly pastor.  It only took me that one Sunday to realize that this church was about one thing and one thing only  ...  growth.

     During his message the pastor said, "When Pastor so-an-so first started this church in his home little did he realize the way it would grow.  He built what is now our educational building as our first church building.  Then when he retired Pastor so-an-so took over and he built this building five years ago that we are now in which holds about 700 to 800 people and I promise, now that I've taken over as your pastor, that before I leave I'll build one on the land that we currently own that will hold 2,000 people or more!"  The members clapped and cheered him on.

     So he went on to say, "We must all work hard to get as many members as we can so that " MY " dream of leaving behind a great church building for the glory of God when my time comes to retire will be realized.  Nothing would make me happier!"

     Now that church must get as many people as they can to join the "social club" by walking down the aisle, accepting Jesus Christ, and be baptisted and become good members.

     My Christian brothers and sisters, when you hear pastors say things like this a little bell should go off in your head  ...  ( it did in mine )  Is the pastor worried about leaving a legacy for himself?  Shouldn't we be spending our church funds to help the community as a whole come closer to Jesus?  Aren't there people in our community that need our help?  I know for a fact that there are homeless, hungery, and very poor people in that community ...  Since that church hasn't even "come close" to filling their current sanctuary ... why are they seeking to build a bigger building?  The lost are not "attracted" to bigger buildings ... they are "attracted" to a church that is showing love for their fellow man!

Matt. 7:15-16 "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits."


" Christians in Church? "


     Moving along ... let me ask this question.  When was the last time your church kicked someone out of the church because it was discovered that the word did not fall on "good ground"?  Remember the parable of the Sower?  According to this parable of Jesus only " 25% " ( 1 in 4 ) of the people who accept Him as Lord and Savior will actually become part of His kingdom.  ( For more on salvation see the article "Am I Really Saved ?" )

     Why is it that we let people simply join our churches because they walk down the aisle, say that they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and get baptisted?  When will we realize that 75% of them  ...  don't really mean it?  Read the parable of the Sower as expounded by our Lord:

Matt. 13:18-23 "[18] Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. [19] When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart.  This is he which received seed by the way side. [20] But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; [21] Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. [22] He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. [23] But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

     Once we let the 75% in  ...  "THEY" are the majority!  ...  "THEY" decide which way the church is going, who will be the pastor, when we will build a bigger building, how and when we will worship God, and where the money of the church will be spent!  With the 75% in as members, a "social club" is now in full force!

     " NO ONE " should be allowed to join a local church body until such time that the pastor and church elders can determine that the seed fell on " good ground "!  This could take weeks, months, or even years to determine based on the individuals life.

     You say, "But Pastor Russ, if we do that people won't stay in the church.  They will get upset and tired of waiting until the pastor and elders decide if they should be a member or not.  They will leave and go find another church that will accept them as they are."

     "And the problem with them leaving is...?"  If the process is explained to them ... and they are part of the 25% where the seed fell on "good ground" ... they will wait !  In fact they will study and learn all the more to become better and stronger christians !  And that is "exactly" what the church is suppose to be doing for the church as a whole and for the individual !  If they won't wait then guess what ... they are part of the 75% that are just joining a "social club".  Do you want a "church" or a "social club"?

     Let me ask you this ... how does your church decide if someone should be a voting member of your church or not?  I'll bet I can tell you ... They walked down the aisle ... say that they accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior ... and then get baptisted ( many churches don't even require a walk down the aisle or baptism anymore ).  Then the pastor has them stand in front of the church and says, "All in favor of this person becoming a member please say "amen" ". The members "always" say "amen". And then he says, "Those opposed say nay" ... and you can hear a pin drop as no one objects. Sorry but giving someone the right to vote in our local churches " SHOULD NEVER BE THAT EASY "!

     We wonder how satan and his evil spirits get into the local churches ... but then we shouldn't.  We allow those in that are part of the 75% to become members without any reservations and they are now given " FULL ACCESS " to the church and the ability to control it's path!


" The Lord's Money Well Spent? "


     Another thought  ...  Local churches collect thousands of dollars every year to send to missionaries overseas to help feed the hungry and spread the Gospel.  And yes  ...  I know that the Lord said:

Matt. 24:19 " Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: "

     But my brothers and sisters in Christ  ...  There are people within your own community, in the United States, that are hungry, homeless, and don't have enough clothes to wear.  And many, many, many, of them have never heard the word of God or experienced the love of God  ...  because the "social club" doesn't want to be bothered with those that are close  ...  it's easier to send money to a missionary overseas to do our work for us.  That way we can feel happy with outselves like we are doing something  ...  without getting our hands dirty so to speak.  Why aren't we spending the Lord's money to take care of and "EVANGELIZE" our families and neighbors?

     Even small towns always have " someone " that is in great need of help!!  Single parents having a hard time, those out of work, those that are having addiction problems, older folks with their houses needing repair or simply needing someone to clean their homes and yards, people in nursing homes that are lonely and need visitors and supplies, those in prison that need a visit and supplies, teens who need somewhere safe to hangout, college students, and the list goes on and on ....

Remember what our Lord said:

Matt. 25:31-46 "[31] When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:  [32] And before him shall be gathered all nations:  and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:  [33] And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.  [34] Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  [35] For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat:  I was thirsty, and ye have me drink:  I was a stranger, and ye took me in:  [36] Naked, and ye clothed me:  I was sick, and ye visited me:  I was in prison, and ye came unto me.  [37] Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  [38] When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?  [39] Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?  [40] And the King shall answer and say unto the, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.  [41] Then shall he say also unto then on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:  [42] For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye have me no drink:  [43] I was a stranger, and ye took me not it: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.  [44] Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?  [45] Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.  [46] And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.


Where is the Church?


     You say, "But Pastor Russ, we have helped people in the community before but they still don't come to our church or even seem that greatful and thankful that we helped them. Sure, they say thank you but we never see them again."

     "And the problem with that is?" ...  If you are helping others in hopes of getting new members instead of to plant a seed or spread the word of God ... then you are helping others for all the wrong reasons.  For all you know you planted a seed with that person that might not grow for years to come ... but it just might grow into something magnificent!

     Another local church is in a small community that has a small college  ...  now if you think like I do you would say  " What an opportunity! "  Start a "fulltime" christian ministry for those college students to help now that they are away from home and to help instill christian values instead of sending the money overseas.  But they don't.  Why is that?  " Where is the Church? "

     A local pastor, who in my opinion is one of the few that is a godly man, once told me about his church.  He noted that the church was small ... only held about 200 people.  Then, of course, they built a bigger church that held 500 ... He said to me, "I wish that we had never built a bigger church because now, with so many people, I can't properly teach or interact with those of the church that need spiritual guidance."

     When will we "wakeup" and realize that what he said hits the nail right on the head!  The local church should be "small", one where a pastor can work with his flock on a personal basis!  In a big church with many members how does a pastor give his best to so many?  The answer is  ...  he can't!


Look around your church and what do you "really" see and hear?

Break Line

May God Bless You

     If you have not already done so, please consider trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

For more information on Salvation "Click Here" to view "How can I get to Heaven?"



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Last modified: Sunday, January 15, 2011