I’ve been feeling lost lately – without a church home.
About two months ago, I believe God called me out of my current church in order to begin teaching and discipling new believers right in my community. My mission field was not to be the world, the country, or even the DC metro area. My mission field was to be my community – my neighbors, local shop owners, and schools. At first, I thought I would be ministering in Oakton, Virginia – but with a sudden, abrupt move to South Riding, Virginia last month, I have a new community to immerse myself into and reach.
My wife and I have been trying to find a church home within or near South Riding. A month later, we’re still floundering alone in the community. And that’s taking a toll on me spiritually.
I don’t have lofty expectations for our new church home. I only want three things… 1) that the church teach correct doctrine (i.e., Reformed theology), 2) the church have a passion for reaching the South Riding community, and 3) there be clear opportunity for me to teach in some capacity (e.g., small groups, evangelism training, etc.). I don’t think these are impossible or even outrageous goals. Surely, I can find one church in the South Riding area that meets these requirements. But I have not.
We’ve visited three Reformed churches in the area – each one with their pluses and minuses. If we can’t find another Reformed church, we’ll have to choose between imperfect options. But maybe we’re supposed to learn that no church is perfect, and that we need to be able to tolerate an imperfect situation.
But where should w compromise? Which of my requirements is expendable?
I’ve spent a decade going to a church that I believe taught imperfect doctrine. Why make the switch now?
I’ve been doing evangelism ministry independent of my home church for over a year, so what difference does it make if the church is focused on South Riding (as I am) or not?
And as for teaching, I can certainly go out and find new believers to join a small group at my home – all on my own. Why do I need to tie my teaching with a church?
I guess the answer to all these questions is… Because I’m tired.
I’m tired of trying to do everything on my own. I’m tired of having to plan all the logistics of my ministry. I want to be a part of a church that has the same calling as me – a church that can take some of the burden off my shoulders and work with me in ministry.
I don’t want to do everything. I don’t want the glory. I want to work with a church and other believers who are similarly called, so I can finally take a back seat and let other people shine.
Lord, help us to find a church in South Riding.
Your theology about “seekers” will determine how you structure your church services. Most Christian churches today are focused on making their worship services appealing to seekers. Whether it’s mimicking the secular world in its style of worship, or serving milk to its flock in the form of theologically-light, easily-digestible sermons – the contemporary Christian church has made Sunday mornings more about engaging “almost believers” and winning them to Christ, than strengthening and equipping the existing congregation of believers to confront the hostile world outside the church walls.
Churches have combined Sunday worship with evangelism – attempting to kill two birds with one stone – not knowing that by doing so, they’ve become less effective at both.
Sabbath or Sunday worship was established for the benefit of God’s people. It was a time for them to worship God, fellowship with other believers, and learn more about our Creator through the Scriptures. Though we are told that there will always be “tares” (read: unbelievers) among the “wheat” inside our churches – and that we shouldn’t bother trying to root them out (Matt. 13:29) – we are never encouraged to actively invite tares into our churches. “What fellowship can light have with darkness? … What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?” (2 Cor. 6:14-15)
A “seeker” is someone churches think is actively pursuing God, but just hasn’t found Him yet, or hasn’t been intellectually convinced that Christ is the Messiah. However, the Bible makes it clear that there is no such person. In fact, the Bible states that natural man is at enmity with God (Rom 8:7), and there is none who seek after God (Rom 3:11). Only after being born again (i.e., spiritually regenerated) can a person even see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3).
The Apostle Paul states in 1 Cor. 2:14, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
R.C. Sproul rightly describes the so-called seeker as “…not seeking after God, but seeking the benefits that only God can give him, while at the same time fleeing as fast as he can from the immediate presence of God.”
The doctrine of man’s spiritual depravity is crucial to our understanding of the “seeker” issue. I won’t go into all the conclusions this doctrine ultimately leads to (i.e., the whole of Reformed theology), but it’s enough to say that the Bible makes it clear there are no such things as “seekers,” and the Church should not busy itself with trying to cater to this non-existent demographic.