Ideal Church

For the past two years, I have felt a steady pulling on my life to be more open to the idea of being a pastor someday.  The thought scares me, and honestly, I don’t wanna do it.  But I feel like God is leading me in that direction(sorry for the Christianese, but when I use it, I mean it).  I have preached at my home church when my pastor was on vacation, and in a few weeks, I am preaching at my grandmothers church, and I was just going to sing there, but the lady asked me if I wanted to preach too.  Its been crazy how things just seem to be heading that way.

For the past week, I have been thinking about my ideal church, if I could build any church I wanted, and if I could operate it how I wanted it to be operated…how would I do it.  I have a few ideas.  Its a long post, so if you really care, read, it was fun to make!

Building:

Sanctuary:  Octagon shaped building with stone-laid walls and a smooth concrete floor. The pews will be made of wood, with kneeling fold-out attachments, and they will be set in a semi-circle formation with a platform in the front center.  Behind the platform will be a plain wooden cross against the wall with white AND purple/crimson linen draped in the center, to represent Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection.

Fellowship Hall:  This would also be stone laid, and will shoot out from the octogonal sanctuary at the wall behind the podium.  This hall would be large and rectangular, and its purposes would be for games, sunday school lessons, fellowship dinners(held every week), and for the other uses.

Ordinances: 

The Lords Supper- Our church will partake in the Lord’s supper by going into the fellowship hall and breaking multiple loaves of bread, and giving each person a glass of grape juice.  We would celebrate it as a real meal, had together, and with one or more presenting the symbolism in the bread and juice.  I would want it done this way because it seems like this is what the Lord’s supper originally was intended to be, and what it started out as. Also, in my experience, I feel more reflective when I have more bread or juice to consume, rather than the one piece of bread that is over in a few seconds.

Baptism – Baptism would be for professing believers, and it would be done as soon as a person expresses interest in becoming baptized, or upon their salvation.  The individuals would meet with one of our pastors for 15-30 minutes before, during, or after a service so that they and the pastor can discern if their desire and faith is sincere, and would thereafter be baptized in front of the congregation on that day.  Baptism would be done by either sprinkling or immersion, whichever the individual choses, and they would also have the option of wearing white baptismal robes if they so chose.

Church Leadership/staff:

Pastor: There will be 3-4 pastors(1 being me) of our church, each having the same rank and title, and the same responsibilities.  Preaching the sermon would be rotated to each pastor week by week, and congregational visits or special ceremonies would be done on whoever would be available, or whoever is requested.  These pastors would not have a salary  because they would be working their normal jobs during the week, or will be retired.  Each will use the same email account, which will be the main form of contact within and by the church.

Sunday School teachers: All volunteer.  No Salaries.

Youth Pastor: There will be 2-3 Youth Pastors who would operate along the same lines as the pastors, and will have regular jobs during the week as well, and will also not have a salary from the church.

Janitorial:  All church members(including staff) will sign up for days where they and their families can come into the church and clean.

Why no Salaries?

Although getting a salary for your ministry work is not wrong, and is, in fact, completely biblical, I feel like a church could operate on volunteer work, and therefore, the money normally used to pay salaries can be used for improving the community, aiding missionaries, supporting children in third world countries, aiding local city missions, helping the homeless, caring for the sick, and many other much needed things.

Music:

Hymns would be sung a lot, and amplification for instruments would not work well in a stone and concrete building, so any instrumentation will be either unplugged, or very little amplification.  We will NOT split into two services for different types of music, it will be blended.

Theology/Creeds: 

We would adhere to the Nicene Creed, and our theology will be influenced greatly by anabaptist/mennonite foundational beliefs, especially regarding a Christ-o-centric view of scripture and way of living.

The wood pews, and kneeling fold-out attachments are little ways that would cause us to sacrifice our comfort so that we would be reminded of what great a sacrifice Christ gave for us.

The church will Not take any official position on the questions of election, eschatology, who “Israel” is, on dispensational or covenantal theology, or any other complex, gray-area, theological concept. This would be done to avoid unneeded devisions.

Anyway, thats all for now; I may edit and add on to it later.  But yeah, let me know what you think.

What IF everyone went to heaven?

If you knew that all go to heaven anyway, would you still be a Christian?  

Would you still follow after God like you are now? 

I believe that Christ is indeed the way, truth, and life, but the thought dawned on me that the ones who believe that all go to heaven, and still make an effort to serve and follow Christ…are displaying some awesome faith, even if I may disagree with their theology.

In their thought, if they didn’t follow God, they would still go to heaven, but they still follow God because they Love and want God for who he is, not what he will give them.

>> By the way….The title was to get you to read the post 🙂

Are we following God because we want Him and Love HIM, or are we only loving because of what we expect to get(eternal life)?  

If we got to heaven and we saw ones who did not believe in Jesus while they were on earth, would we rejoice that they were there?  Or would we scorn and say how they don’t deserve to be there?  And if we would say that…then are we really serving God for God, or just God for Reward?

I earnestly wish with all of my heart that all could go to Heaven; that all could be saved.  And I firmly believe that God desires this too…because its in Scripture: 

1 Timothy 2:1-4(NASB)

“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2  for kings and all who are in [a]authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and [b]dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4  who desires all men to be saved and to come to the [c]knowledge of the truth”

2 Peter 3:9(NASB)

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

And That is Why Christ came – 1 Timothy 2:5-8(NASB)

5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at [e] the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle ( I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.

 Christ is the only way, the only path, and the only Truth.

So if God desires all to be saved…shouldn’t we?  

Sometimes we can grow bittier towards the non-believer, and we look on them with scorn.  But shouldn’t we desire them to come to a saving knowledge of Christ instead of pointing our finger in accusation and disgust?  Evangelism has become mainly represented in the World’s eyes as a guy standing on a street corner saying “Have you ever told a lie? Then you are a Lier! And liers go to hell, but Jesus came to save us, and all you have to do is believe in him”, and the reality is that the world may not even give you that nice of a summary.  In the standard Gospel outreaches, little is said about who Jesus is, what he has done, and what he has done in our own lives.  Instead, Jesus is preached as a “get out of hell free” card that players of the monopoly of life can pick up at their leisure.  A standard Gospel presentation may be effective for some, but it needs more than a bulleted list, and it needs to show who Christ actually is.

God does desire all to be saved. I desire all to be saved.  But not all will be saved, for not all will accept Christ.  What are you doing to spread God’s message?

Are you in Love with God so much that if there was no heaven you would still follow him?  Are you in Love with God so much that you would rejoice to see others in heaven who you did not think deserved to be there?

Heaven and Hell are real, so we should take them seriously. But are we at times slighting the Glory of God by diminishing Christ to a checklist?

These thoughts have made me think, reflect and grow, and I hope they will for you as well.

My thinking has been brought on by the discussion of the mindset of the elder brother in the story of the Prodigal Son, in the Book, “The Prodigal God” by Timothy Keller.