The first seminar at the Building Healthy Churches seminar in Chattanooga, Tn was given by Matt Schmuker, executive director of 9marks ministries. His topic was: Having a Theological Vision for your Church – Churches that Display God’s Glory.
Matt started out by asking:
“What appeals to people, that would make them want to be at your church?”
Some do it by 1) Traditional services 2)Seeker services or 3)Being a Missional church
This is the wrong question for church leaders to be asking because it allows outsiders and non-Christians to determine who the church is and what the church is involved in.
When we do ask the question, “what do we do to make are church appealing?” the majority of the response is in regards to the song service. Albeit, the way we lift our voices up to God is important, it is much more important to realize that worship is more than just singing.
If worship is primary because God is primary then,How do we worship? How do we worship in our local church? The church is called to display and testify the glory of God. So when we ask the question “How do we worship?” we respond by glorifying Him!
4 reasons why the church is called to worship by displaying His glory:
1. God intends to use the corporate life of the local church to accomplish His creation purposes displaying His wise, holy image for all to see.
2. The local church is to be marked off from the world, we are to be distinct. Our challenge is not to be relevant but distinct and different.
3. Evangelism, outreach and mission work of a local church is bound up in its distinctiveness & display.
4. The local church finds its life in the proclamation of the gospel; not by a gym/activity center, day care program, couches or videos.
Which leads us to the 4 reasons on How our church should appeal to others:
The church does it by listening to His word & by acting like Him.
1. Center your church on God’s Word. Preach God enriched sermons.
2. Success comes from faithfulness to God & His word.
3. Be faithful in what we do, say and how we organize ourselves. Read the Bible, Preach the Bible, Pray the Bible, Sing the Bible and See the Bible.
4. Simplify and Solidify. Preach the Word and love the people. Be centered on the Word.
I enjoyed this first lesson of the weekend. It outlined the course of the whole conference by giving snipets of what was to be coming from the other lecturers. In talking with some guys after this talk, I heard complaints from some who disagreed with the idea of not being relevant. There disagreement was with what they heard versus what was being said. If we are the “Ekklesia” or “called out” ones, then we are to be distinct and different. This doesn’t mean we don’t reach people where they are and on their level, it means we don’t disguise ourselves to look like them in order to reach them.