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Programs In The Church…

February 3, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

I am not attacking programs in the church…in fact, I like programs.  I like ideas that bring people in.  I like to have movements that will attract groups in order to make contacts for the church.  If we don’t do this, then honestly, how will new faces visit and hear about that church <sarcasm>(and don’t feed me that line that the members of the church should be out inviting others…sheesh!) </sarcasm>

I have been thinking lately as I have sat through different messages in different places by different pastors.  I have heard pastors talk about what is going on in their church and what’s exciting and working for them.  I look at other places and hear about what’s working for them.  I look at our church and realize that our Wednesday night children’s program is working for us dramatically.  

To me, it seems like so many times people in ministry, as well as the church, get caught up in programs, though.  “What works for that church should work for us, too!”  I mean, we all know that isn’t always the case.  What works for an inner-city church isn’t going to work for the rural church, left of the cornfield.  But, to me, sometimes it still seems like the focus gets pushed onto programs in our churches.

It’s almost like we expect that God is going to come bursting through the doors of our church, THROUGH the program that has just been established.  If we have this program or this activity, then it’s going to allow God to move and work better than if we have this one, that one, or not one at all.  I’ve just been throwing these thoughts around in my head as of late, and it seems to me that this is a backwards way of thinking.  

Yes, God can and does work through programs…but am I the only one who feels like with programs, many people try to confine God to this little box and claim that He can only work through these ways, and not through others?

For instance, we can get to the music argument.  Some churches love the hymns to the core.  Other churches prefer to have lights, smoke, loud speakers, and an electric guitar.  Can God only work through one way?  No.  God can work through both.  In the end though, both of those avenues are empty.  God doesn’t come running when He hears a song that Chris Tomlin* wrote (although I think most praise and worship leaders would argue this point…”Sing with me, How great….”)  Likewise, God doesn’t come into our building whenever an Isaac Watts song gets played on the organ.

You see, in my opinion, our programs are completely worthless, unless there is the one key ingredient…our hearts.  As I have been doing some lesson writing for various things, and just my daily devotions, this is a repetitive issue.  The Israelites fasted, and then they wanted recognition from God.  They put on sackloth and ashes and they wanted God’s recognition.  They were looking for God to come because of the type of service that THEY had planned.  But God makes it clear that He wants their heart to be involved in the worship service.

As an aside…it’s been said numerous times…if you claim you cannot worship with a certain type of music or service – then it’s not the music or service that’s the problem – it’s you.  We worship God…period.  If you need assistance from the hippest song, or the oldest hymn, then you’ve got a problem.

Revival never begins through our programs.  Our programs sure can be effective to help revive people’s hearts, though.  But, as a minister, I feel that my program I can start is absolutely worthless, unless I humble myself and give my heart completely to God.  Would Wednesday night children’s program work at another church…maybe.  Would God get the glory?  Only if people let God have the program.

Revival begins with one individual and their heart.  Revival doesn’t begin because someone says, “Hey, let’s try this…”  The root is the heart.  

Just a few thoughts from my keyboard.


*Note: I am probably one of the biggest Chris Tomlin fans in the world…and I pretty much play at least one of his songs every time I lead…does this make me a hypocrite?  Maybe….but Chris Tomlin is amazing.

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