My blogger friend, Jesus deSaenz, has posted an entry on his blog called “The Church …” in which he asks quite a number of interesting questions. Now I don’t claim to be “The Answer Man”, but at the risk of showing myself to be very wrong and exposing myself to ridicule, I’d like to try my hand at answering them. These answers are from my own thoughts, and are not any official positions of my church or any other Christian group.
1.”But what is the purpose and the reason to have a church service? Why do we as believers of the one true God need to assemble?”
A. We have a service because God has always desired for His people to gather together to worship Him. The Jews in the OT were commanded to assemble for certain Feasts, and in the NT we are told not to forsake the gathering of ourselves together. We are, in fact, called to a community, not just called to be single believers. We are called into the Body of Christ, and we need each other in order to grow and become complete.
2.”Is the church service only meant for the believer?”
A. In general, in my humble opinion, the church service is meant only for the believer and his family. I was going to say just the believer, but it is clear from scripture that God also works through families. But things have changed, and nowadays anybody and everybody can go to a church service. That has made it necessary for the church member rolls to become a great field for evangelism. We now have to evangelize our very members!
3.”Should a non-believer participate in singing worship songs?”
A. Why not? What is wrong with unbelievers participating in singing worship songs if they are allowed into worship services? (Of course, if non-believers are not allowed, then maybe it’s wrong.)
4.”Is the service meant to evangelize to the lost or teach the sheep?”
A. Yes. If people are lost, they need to be evangelized. If everybody at the church service is saved, then they need to be taught/fed. This can cause a problem for the pastor, because he not only needs to evangelize the lost, he also needs to feed the sheep, often in the same sermon!
5.”How should we dress?”
A. If possible, dress as the majority in the church dress. Dress respectfully towards God and your fellow church members. Dress in a manner appropriate for your Faith, and do not dress in a manner that will arouse or distract the members of the opposite sex.
6.”How often to have communion?”
A. Good question! Jesus said, “As often as you do it, do this in remembrance of me.” That gives us a lot of latitude. Every Sunday? Once a month? Quarterly? Once a year? How often would you like to do it?
7.”How should the pastor present the word of God, through stories and jokes?”
A. Expository preaching is good. Stories and jokes are all right, as long as they really help to get a point across.
8.”Should the message be dumbed down?”
A. It’s all about understanding. If the people don’t understand, something needs to be done.
9.”Should offensive or hard passages no longer be read from the pulpit?”
A. They must be read from the pulpit! They must be dealt with!
10.”Should we have a pulpit?”
A. Should we have pews? You don’t need a pulpit in order for the Gospel to be preached. You don’t need pews for the church to gather.
11.”Should the worship music be about a great performance rather leading the people in the worship of God?”
A. I think one of the major problems of the church today is that the music tends to become a performance that is a positive hindrance to the effective worship of God and tends to lead the faithful astray. That having been said, it’s still very important that the musicians strive to do their job well, to the glory of God.
12.”How loud is too loud when it comes to worship?”
A. If you’re disturbing the neighbors and the passers-by outside the church, it’s too loud. If it makes the little kids cry, it’s too loud. If people are covering their ears, it’s too loud. If it makes your eyes water, it’s too loud. If people complain and/or leave the service, it’s too loud.
13.”Can the pastor really know all of his flock?”
A. That varies from pastor to pastor. Most seem to try their best in this area, with varying degrees of success. Allow them to be human. But beware of the ones who don’t care.
14.”Is a big church bad for true believer?”
A. Not necessarily. It depends on the individual church. I would think John MacArthur’s big church in California would be much better for a believer than Joel Osteen’s megachurch. Personally, I like a medium-size church. You can get to know most of the people, but you don’t feel like you have to do everything like you might in a small church.
15.”Is it really possible for a church to start in the shallow end and more than ten years later be even shallower than when it first started?”
A. Sadly, yes. It depends on the leadership.