Church: Welcome and Unwelcomed Change

I have been listening to the messages from last year's Gospel Growth vs. Church Growth conference. In one message by Phillip Jensen, of Matthias Media, is entitled, A Fresh Understanding of Church. In it he "redefines" the church for our contemporary culture and even for our contemporary church culture. He began by making the observation that we begin training people at a very early age with an incorrect definition of the church.

When a little child is riding in the car with his parents and passes a building and asks the question of his parents, "What's that building?" his parents answer, "That's a church." With those simple words a dangerous misconception of the church is planted and unfortunately it gets watered and watered and grows deeper and deeper as the child gets older.

Jensen makes the point that what we define as the church is very far from what we see the church as in Scripture and what the Church will be for eternity. The Church is the called out people of God gathered together before the Lord and His Word to worship Him.

He continues on and makes an interesting connection between a wrong definition of the church and its connection to church growth.

When you don't understand what the church is, you can do anything to make it grow.

Concerning change in the church when "the church" is incorrectly defined, Jensen comments on two categories of change. Paraphrasing his comments, he says that there is one change you can make in the church that no one will complain about, except the elect. That change is shorter readings of the Scripture or no reading of the Scripture at all. However, in most churches change the music or the style of dress or the furniture or the color of the carpet and the complaints are many.

It all stems from that misconception of the church that begins to be ingrained in our minds at an early age.

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