Thursday, April 21, 2011


By Pastor Bruce Oyen

      If we pastors want to strengthen our churches, there are some things we should do. They are not listed in order of priority, and this is not a complete list.
     1) We should preach the great doctrines of the Bible. To name a few, these include the deity, death and resurrection of Jesus, the person and work of the Holy Spirit, justification, salvation, redemption, repentance and faith, and the divine origin and infallibility of the Bible. There are two ways the pastor can preach on many of these doctrines: 1) By topical preaching. 2) By preaching through the Bible's doctrinal books like Romans and Galatians.
     2) We should follow the Bible's teachings to obtain numerical growth,  not the advice of church growth experts, for their advice often is not Biblical. Following the Bible's teachings includes preaching the Gospel without watering it down to make it more acceptable to those who need it. If we leave the death of Christ out of our sermons, and the reasons for his death, we have watered down the Gospel message. We sing "We serve a risen Savior," but the background to it is a Savior who was crucified for our sins..
     3) We should remember to not equate numerical success with the blessing of God. Cults often experience numerical success, and it doesn't come from God. Bigger is not always better. Biblical truth can hinder numerical growth, as well as promote it. A church can have the blessing of God, even if it doesn't experience dramatic numerical growth. The blessing of God comes to those churches which seek to follow his Word.
     4) We should use music that, though it might not be the popular music in churches, promotes Christ-likeness, and is of solid Biblical content. Cotton candy music is sweet, but it has very little real spiritual food value.
     5) We should get our churches known in the community for sound Bible teaching, not for blending in with popular culture. For example, our churches should be known for the fact that we don't compromise on what the Bible says about sexual ethics.
     6) We should teach our churches to know the difference between Biblical churches and  unBiblical churches and religions. This requires consistent teaching of Bible doctrines.
     7) We should teach that all church members, including the pastors, will be held accountable for sinful behavior and false doctrines. 1 Corinthians, chapter 5, makes clear the important point that sinful behavior must be dealt with by the church. 2nd John, verses 8 - 11, emphasizes the importance of sound doctrine and contrasts it with false doctrine.
     8) We should teach the difference between faithfulness to longstanding church traditions and faithfulness to Bible teaching. For example, in the USA it has been a longstanding tradition in Bible-believing churches on Sundays to have Sunday school classes and services in the morning and in the evening, and a mid-week service, all of which have been held in the church buildings. It is good to have these meetings. But the Bible does not say how many times churches should meet each week, nor does it say where they should meet. So, we cannot say it must be done the way it has long been done.
     9) We should keep the focus of our church meetings in  line with the Bible's focus. Church services should be evangelistic. But churches must remember that the example found in the Book Of Acts and in the Epistles is that the regular meetings of the church had these goals: 1) the grounding of the Christians in Biblical teaching, 2) challenging them to live dedicated Christian lives, 3) worshipping God through prayer and song. Read, for example, Acts 2:41 - 47 to see what the church in Jerusalem did at its meetings.
   10) We should emphasize the importance of dedicated Christian living. This theme runs throughout the Bible. Pastors who preach Biblical sermons cannot fail to emphasize this theme. Even the 2nd and 3rd letters of John, and the letter of of Jude, as short as they are, hit on this point.
   11) We should make our churches evangelistic churches. This can be done by giving opportunity for non-Christians to be become Christians at church services, and by challenging Christians to give out the Gospel during the week. Our churches will be made evangelistic if we emphasize the fact that Biblical churches support evangelistic missionaries at home and abroad.
   12) We should emphasize our church's doctrinal distinctives. One way to do so is by teaching through our church's official doctrinal statement. This can be done every few years. Of course, persons interested in joining our churches should be made aware of what our churches officially believe. Our regular sermons should deal with the same themes, even if in a different manner. After one year of regular attendance at our churches, attendees ought to have a clear idea of our doctrinal distinctives on many points.

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