Finding Church… “There Am I in The Midst of You”…Church part 3

Finding Church…”Where Two or more are gathered in My Name”… Church pt 3

Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. ( Matthew 18:19-20)

A good many people have written me over the years , asking me to recommend churches in given areas. They tell me they simply cannot find a church that they can commit to. It is becoming increasingly obvious that finding a church home has become a seriously difficult task.

I am not talking about people merely complaining about the different but trivial styles of worship. The people who have written me with these concerns cannot find a church that is willing to remain true in it’s doctrine, or a church that refuses to be taken up by various religious fads that have swept over the church through the years; ie the Toronto Blessing, Pensacola, Purpose Driven, The Shack, and lately, BLM and other politicized expressions of Marxism.

This is a serious problem. People need to belong to churches, they need a place to call home, a body to worship with, and to sit under teaching which is sound. They also need a place that is safe to bring sinners and new converts into. I get it when people write me and say, “What you are saying about church is true and I agree, but I cannot find a sound church in my area, Pastor Bill”.

This is why a good many Shepherds will be called into judgment. 

They were needed to hold the line, to keep a holy place open as a true refuge, but in the various apostate movements which have swept Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism over the last four decades, so many of these Shepherds have let the flock down. Perhaps they wanted to grow the church, no matter what the means, so they pursued false revival movements. In a good many cases they wanted to reach the youth, so they painted their sanctuaries black , substituted the Hymns for Rock music, and became hipster celebrity Pastors, (selling out the majesty of the gospel in the process). Many of them are just guilty of being ignorant of scripture, and relying on their own personalities to ‘build the church’, as if Church was just another human institution. 

There was a major movement among evangelicals in the 1980’s and 1990s in which highly esteemed Pastors paid lots of church money to consult with secular Marketing gurus in order to learn new ways to “grow the church”.  This became the rage and out of it we got the phenomenon of the “Mega Church”.  The late John Wimber told us that he was a 400 dollar an hour church growth consultant, before he founded the Vineyard Church in the 1970s. One of the highest paid and most renown of these church growth experts was a New Age marketing Guru named Peter Drucker. He took on the Church as a challenge. He had radicalized the growth of corporations and industries, perhaps He could do the same for the Church.

Shame on those false Shepherds, so hungry for fame, “success” and renown that they actually went this way. This is so obviously worldly and demeaning to  the Church ,as though it were a badly run business. The Church in America has undergone radical changes alright, and they aren’t the kind of changes which are spiritually beneficial. 

I said all of that in order to point out, that I get it, that people cannot find churches in some areas. These trends have infected nearly all churches, completely altering the character of a good many of them. 

I know a lot of ‘refugees’ who have had to come out of churches, that they once built, served, grew up in, were saved in, in earlier times. But the church Leadership took it on themselves to just change the church! I know one Pastor who was steeped in these new faddish concepts, who told me, that He stood up before the elders at a church which had hired him and announced, “We are going young!”. I asked him what he meant by that, and he told me, we are going to take out the old organ and the hymns, and bring in younger musicians, more ‘contemporary’ with the times… etc etc. What gave him the right to just change a church? What did he throw out in the interest of “going young”?

I see why people flow out of churches. I see especially how conscientious and devoutly Christian people would leave churches, even if they have no idea where else they would be going. This is heartbreaking, but is happening all over the nation.

There are valid reasons for leaving and invalid reasons. I always advise,”If a church changes to the point where you cannot bring a person to a service, without fearing that the sermon will actually deny or obscure the gospel, you have no business there”. We are called to loyalty to Jesus and to His saving message. Another one is, if the church allows blatant immorality, it is no longer worth supporting. Go through the process of Matthew 18, and try to help the church by calling for accountability, but if they will not deal with sexual sin, it is time to move on.

I believe part of the problem, when people say they can’t find a church, in an area, is because they have too limited a concept of what a church actually is. Maybe you came from a well established evangelical or Pentecostal church which had various programs, support groups a well established hierarchy,(Pastor,Elders, Deacons), but it changed, perhaps it started promoting garbage like “THE SHACK” or false Prophets , or maybe it went “WOKE, and you start hearing sermons about “Social Justice”.  You leave, but can’t find an acceptable version of what you left.

This begs the real question, “What is Church?”. 

I asked the LORD for an answer to the many who have inquired about this, of me over the years, and He clearly gave me a precious scripture as a starting place; 

Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.( Malachi 3:16-18)

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7 Responses to Finding Church… “There Am I in The Midst of You”…Church part 3

  1. Michael G Marriam says:

    Its difficult to believe that mine is the first comment on this excellent article. If you are in the Rochester NY area and looking for a Christ centered, bible believing, New Testament church that uses the King James Bible, sings the classic hymns, preaches repentance and separation from false doctrine, is independent and Baptist in doctrine check out East Baptist Church at 64 Reeves Road in Henrietta.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Dear Bill, just wanted to ask an honest question. Several years ago you kindly came to a small house fellowship where Christians met from various other churches in order to be fed. They were part of the remnant church. We had no structures of elders, deacons etc just visiting pastors and teachers of the Word. Sometimes there were just 10 of us and sometimes nearly 30. As hosts of this home fellowship we wondered if we should have weekly services and be a ‘proper church.’
    Your view at the time was that we could not be a church without the scriptural structures of pastor elders deacons etc but we were just a group of people the Lord had called out to worship in Spirit and Truth and encourage on another in the Lord Jesus.
    This little home fellowship has been meeting now for 7 years, my simple question is are we a church?
    Bless you brother

    • billrandles says:

      Thanks Rebecca yes, I will give you an honest answer( I always do)I don’t remember the incident you spoke of but I would guess one of three possibilities; either I misunderstood the situation , or perhaps you misunderstood my answer, or possibly I gave a rash answer. The reason I say so is because my stock answer to inquiries like yours would be Malachi 3. I am not in the practice of pronouncing fellowships as churches or non churches. Keep worshipping Jesus together, Pas bill

  3. Patricia says:

    R.C. Sproul had a short, but very true answer to “what is wrong with the church today.” He replied, “they don’t know God.” That is, obviously, the problem with the world, also. And the only solution is for Jesus to return and set things right. Until then we can only, “watch and pray and be prepared for His second coming. Thank you Pastor Bill for your teachings and encouragement. Like many other brothers and sisters in Christ, my husband and I left an SBC assemlbly, and are learning and growing from a godly Pastor who has a weekly broadcast that we listen to. Plus, we read Scripture daily, pray continuously, and serve those in our community. Marantha!

  4. Wayne says:

    Amen!

  5. Sam Jones says:

    I worked with a guy one time and I was trying to figure out how to get him to come to church, and it weighed on me that there was no way this guy would accept an invitation to a good Baptist church. There was nothing about the way the church conducted itself that would have interested this person enough to show up and be exposed to good teaching that may have convicted his soul unto repentance. I have lamented for years about the decline of the church and how to correct it. Unfortunately it will take more than marketing and fads to course correct. I have narrowed things down to two general categories.
    1. The church fails to teach.
    I recently saw a post on facebook, a women was lamenting that her 17yo son didn’t want to go to church, said “it was boring”. I couldn’t agree more. The current structure of church today is boring, the preaching and the worshipping are repetative and don’t feed the soul. I have found more truth and empowerment from listening to Jordon Peterson than from 99% of the sermons I have heard. And judging by the response to his teachings there is a real hunger for some of the downright Biblically accurate ideas he expresses. The Church has failed to teach.
    2. Christians have failed to train.
    Proverbs 22:6 says we are to train up our children and when they are old they will not depart. I look at some of the families that go to my church. I see people who faithfully attend, teach classes, bear a lions’ share of the work load for special events. Yet, I have little faith that their children will be as faithful as their parents. Our kids are assaulted with anti-Biblical teach from the time they are very young. Everything from infancy through graduate school is infused with ideas that demean the teachings of the Bible, and we are too “busy” to train them to identify it. The assault is withering and faithful attendance on Sundays and Wednesdays are no match for such an onslaught.
    We have failed to train our kids

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