As I have talked to many people about our Church Plant here in East TN, this is one of the questions that comes up. The other two are;
Who are you trying to attract?, and
Are you reformed?
Good questions, I guess.
First, Worship style…Gospel-centered.
If by worship we are talking about the time when our local assembly comes together to worship God, here’s what our worship ‘style’ is. We worship God through Christ by the Spirit in the reading of the Scriptures that testify of Christ, preaching the Gospel from the Scriptures, hearing the Gospel in the Scriptures, singing the Gospel in accordance with the Scriptures, showing the Gospel as commanded in the Scriptures, and fellowshipping in the Gospel around the Scriptures. If we’re talking about our music style…whatever is Biblical and easy to be sung by the WHOLE congregation. Ancient, Old, Modern, New…so far in the first month we have sung them all…without music for the time being, hopefully with music in the future.
Second, Focus Group…the lost in our communities.
The conventional wisdom in Church-planting today seems to be identify a particular sub-section of culture and limit the growth of the Church those ‘four and no more’. I know that limiting the attenders is not the purpose, but it does end up as the natural result. Imagine a Church tailored to meet the needs of one subset of Americans…let’s say golfers. All the illustrations in the sermon relate tothe ‘golfing’ lifestyle (is there a golfing lifestyle?), all the music sounds like the music being played in the clubhouse, and the Pastor wears Izod brand knickers to preach in every Sunday. Who are you going to attract? Golfers. Who are you not going to attract? Me. Because I don’t feel welcome in your Church. I have never golfed, I have worn Izod before, it was a gift, and I don’t speak the language. Now take look at another Church. The worship is tailored to God. Suddenly I have something in common with everyone who attends there. We’re all not God. But we all need Him. This is where I can hang my hat. I have no doubt that we won’t attract all of Loudon County, but we have a bigger pool to draw from than the Golfer Church does.
Finally, Are you reformed?…No.
I hope I never become so comfortable with myself as to say that I’m reformed. I hope I am always reforming. For many being reforemd centers around five doctrines and I hold those doctrines near and dear to my heart as any regualr reader of this blog knows. But those five doctrines do not a reformation make. They are a good start, but they are not an end in themselves. Orthdoxy leads to doxology which affects our orthopraxy. In English that means that right doctrine leads us to worship God in the right way. There are many practices in Southern Baptist Churches that stand in need of reformation. Many churches neglect the public reading of Scripture. Many sing songs that are simply not Biblical. Many pull professions out of their youth under high pressure, just like the Muslim in the video from the last post. Many do not preach thier text. Many do not practice Church Discipline. I could go on, but you get the point. But the biggest point in this is that I do not believe even myself to be completely perfect, therefore as I study God’s Word I must be reforming myself and my practices by the power of the Holy Spirit.