Reblog: Whenever someone joins a church, re-appoint the ‘elders’

Paul’s instruction to Timothy; “appoint elders in every town”… do we do that any more – or was it just an early church thing?
Think about those early churches; Paul went and preached in a town, the gospel spread and fellowships of believers began to gather together. Paul saw a theologically based need for those fellowships to have leaders – theological leaders – put in place. The churches had none… so Paul needed to appoint one.
That doesn’t really happen that much does it? Sure, some churches might loose their senior pastor; but even then, there’s some sort of eldership body in place.
But this does still happen. Whenever someone joins a church, they re-appoint the elders – in their heart. They are joining a fellowship of people who are already under the authority of their pastor/elders/staff.
And you can’t separate the two; you can’t join the fellowship without considering the appointed pastor/staff/elders as your pastor/staff/elders.
So do you do it? Do you help new people to your church (who are Christians) to appoint the leaders as their “elders”? Do you help them get what that means?
My guess is that if you don’t help that happen, there’s a good chance it won’t.

Reblog: Learn to say, “Maybe we’re not for you”

When Christians visit your church, and they’re looking at becoming regular/members… you need to ask yourself whether you want them to join you because it’s good for your church, or good for them.
It always feels good to have new people join you. A new face gives people a sense of purpose, success, growth, momentum. In fact, the hope of those feelings may make us say or do things to ensure that those new people stay. At what point does this become manipulation?
But when might you say, “Maybe this church isn’t for you”?
We’d only say that after we’ve been really clear about what our church holds as important. If the new person violently disagrees with something you hold as important AND they’re not even willing to consider that (and your church isn’t either)… well… your church isn’t for them is it.
You can still want them to come. You can still offer them to join you, but the most loving thing for them is to make the differences clear, so they can make a good decision. It’ll mean saying something like, “We’d love you to join us, but I need to be clear; joining our church will mean we will continually ask and persuade you to… (give up your idols) (repent of sexual immorality) (devote yourself to prayer). We think that’s so important, and if you don’t, then I’d plead with you to change, but maybe we’re not for you.”
And ultimately, this IS the best thing for your church too.