Amy submitted 34 weeks ago - (www.christianpost.com) » 0 Comments
A healthy church is kind of like a healthy family. It just oozes with encouragement and mutual care. And when you experience it, you reap the benefits deep within your soul. With that in mind, here are 7 benefits of attending a healthy church:
The empire of Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, appears to be imploding. He has been accused of creating a culture of fear at the church, of plagiarizing, of inappropriately using church funds and of consolidating power to such a degree that it has become difficult for anyone to challenge or even question him. A flood of former Mars Hill staff members and congregants have come forward to share stories of what they describe as bullying or “spiritual abuse."
The "celebrity pastor" is now a thing. Maybe it's always been a thing (1 Cor. 1:10-17), but over the past few years it has become a source of concern and consternation for many. On the one hand I do see a problem, and on the other hand I can't help but feel that some speak against popular preachers out of a sense of jealousy. I do not think that a pastor whose "platform" is large and following is numerous is a celebrity pastor. At least, not in a bad way. The real problem is leadership that loses sight of the glory of Christ and focuses on the glory of man. Or, at least one man.
We don't know all the details of what went down in Ferguson, but what we do know is that black evangelicals and white evangelicals interpret these types of situations very differently. What if black and white evangelicals attended multi-ethnic churches instead of segregated ones? If this Christ-exalting life were to become our reality, we could address racism, oppression, and injustice together.
Over the last two years the Evangelical movement has taken some very dark turns. As one friend of mine described it, Evangelicalism has hit an iceberg and is taking on water fast. As a result of this accident, many have begun to jump overboard and are seeking a new vessel on which they can express their faith. At the same time, many refuse to acknowledge the magnitude of the damage that has been done to the ship after the collision and instead are clinging tighter to the boat as it begins to sink in to the unforgiving debts of the sea.
Many people like me, who grew up immersed in church, have given up on it. Many see church as archaic, domineering, impersonal, hypocritical, irrelevant, contentious, petty, boring and stale. It’s institutional instead of authentic and religious but not relational, they say. In the end my attempts to sidestep the church blew up in my face and I was faced with the decision: stay in church and work through my mess or leave and be free. I chose to stay.
I hurt with those who have been hurt by a leadership and a system like this one (having experienced the pain church can cause people on a personal level in the past). Excessive power in the church when coupled with certain theological assumptions can be quite abusive. So to all of those who are hurting right now for whatever reason because of what is happening at Mars Hill Church, we are praying with you and for you. God is with you, the Lord Jesus is for you, and the Holy Spirit will be there to comfort you.
I think just about every Christian has either asked or been asked that question at some point in their time in the faith. For reasons too numerous to list right now, we live in a non-committal age about these things. We’re busy with our work lives, schedules, amusements, children’s sports, video games, sleep, and so forth. What’s more, generally speaking, religion is generally a private matter for Americans.