060116 experiencing church - reid temple

Experiencing Church Session 1 Matthew 16:17-19 Mid Week Instruction Reid Temple AME Church Pastor Washington

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Experiencing Church Session 1

Matthew 16:17-19

Mid Week Instruction

Reid Temple AME Church

Pastor Washington

Sermon Talk – What Do You Remember?

• 7:15 & 11:15 - Luke 8: 40-48 Minister Reggie Wise

• 9:30 - Genesis 50: 15-21 Rev. Albert Jones

Church People

• The Church is at its core people who claim to follow Jesus, “regular people” perceive “church people” through what they have experienced in their interaction with Church people.

Church People

• The experience reveals a lot. Many people have experienced firsthand accounts of frustration, hurts, devastating conversations and confrontations.

Church People

• The scars often prevent them from seeing Jesus for who he really is. They have tasted what Christians offer in and out of church, and they don’t like what the experienced.

Which One Describes Your Church Experience?

The Police Department

• These churches make sure people follow a long list of do’s and don’ts. Bulletins, newsletters, websites, sermons—everything revolves around letting others know the rules.

The Police Department

• They have made the law and obedience their top priorities, or at least their most visible one. In a world where people are desperate for Jesus, do we hope our God is most known for the 1000 commandments?

The Police Department

• We all understand that certain rules are import. No one wants a world or church governed by chaos. But what is the main message the church is sending to people who visit it?

Let the police station be the police station. And let the church

be a haven for thriving relationships in Christ

Popular Church Rules

• How to baptize, when to baptize, what to eat and drink.

• What to wear and how to celebrate the Lord’s supper.

Popular Church Rules

• Who may partake of the Lord’s supper.

• How to address the clergy.

• Where to sit.

Popular Church Rules

• How women may serve in the ministry.

• When to stand, when to kneel, when to clap.

• Who can use the stuff in the kitchen.

Isaiah 29:13

“and the Lord says, these people say they are mine. The honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man made rules learned by rote.”

The Political Action Committee - PAC

• Social action issues dominate the agenda and are the prime responsibility of these churches. The political process fascinates the leaders.

The Political Action Committee - PAC

• But in a place that is supposed to foster relationships, they take a more political approach to everything they do.

The Political Action Committee - PAC

• The masses want spiritual growth. But PAC churches are feeding them a steady, force-fed diet of issues and action.

The PAC Church - Priorities

• A response to racism

• Becoming more multicultural

• Same sex unions – HIV/AIDS

The PAC Church - Priorities

• Ordination of gays and lesbians

• Sexuality studies

• Federal child nutrition, world hunger.

The PAC Church - Priorities

• Immigration, refugee, resettlement program

• Israel and Palestine.

• Social statements on prisons

• War and peace

Engaging People in the Pew

• I am not saying churches should never be involved in addressing some of the world’s most pressing problems.

• Encouraging people to talk about issues like these can be healthy, effective ways to engage people and stay relevant, but if these things are the main priority, then they are supplanting the need to let people experience God and grow closer to each other.

• Church should draw people together not draw lines in the sand. There is common ground to all who belong to Christ.

John 18:36

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”

The Theater

• Theater lovers enjoy the stage. The stars. The spectacle. These churches deliver dazzling, orchestrated, crowd pleasing, seat filling, highly scripted rehearsed shows.

The Theater

• Everything is predictable. Everything is predicated to produce the “wow” effect. Today’s church have taken artistry, lighting, fog, technical wizardry, concerts to new heights.

The Theater

• Are spiritually open people longing to watch someone on stage in a cleverly scripted world that frowns on flaws or technical difficulties? How in the world can relationships grow in a performance based atmosphere?

Faith is a relationship. The theater may be fun and exciting

but it is not a relationship.

The Mortuary

• Mortuaries have a certain smell. We can’t quite identify it. But it is not a happy smell. It is a smell we have come to associate with solemnity.

The Mortuary

• Isn’t it weird how some churches smell curiously like a mortuary? They are solemn, serious and not fun. Mortuary mentality creeps into the music choices, traditions and even their style of clapping.

The Mortuary

• The church should be a place full of life and growth. They should be healthy harbors of hope not gloomy graveyards of grief. There is a time for tears but not everything we gather together. In Christ we have so much to be joyful about!

Matthew 23:27-28

Jesus said, “for you are like whitewashed tombs. Beautiful on the outside but filled

on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and


The Seminary

• Seminaries serve a vital role as keepers of the facts. They are bastions for the transfer of knowledge.

• These institutes of divinity strive to ensure the accuracy of every jot and tittle of Scripture, teaching and drilling the intricate details of doctrine. THAT, IS. NOT. THE. CHURCH.

• Information is not the destination. If faith is indeed a relationship, then every church should focus on what it actually takes to grow that relationship.

1 Corinthians 1:19-20 “for it is written: I will destroy the

wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate. Where

is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the Law? Where is the

philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the


The Museum

• Museums remind us of days gone by. They exist to preserve the memories and traditions of the past.

• Tradition can be useful, but when churches cling to “the way it is always been,” we should be surprised that people today view church as outdated and archaic.

• When tradition becomes a church’s one thing, the church dies. Museum curators in the church cling to all sorts to “artifacts.


• Music

• Worship styles

• Architecture


• Furniture

• Schedules

• Versions of the bible


• Preaching styles

• Annual events

• Content of membership classes

The Church “Inclined” or “Declined”

• Since most people don’t go to church anymore, who are the people in the minority who do regularly attend and appreciate weekly services.

The Church “Inclined” or “Declined”

• Some have connected with churches that already embrace the 4 ACTS OF Love and are experiencing the richness, depth, and heart-altering practices of those churches.

The Church “Inclined” or “Declined”

• Unfortunately, most who appreciate church aren’t in those churches. Instead they fit in a very specific profile, the shrinking minority.

The “A” Focused Church

• Audience – oriented: They appreciated a good presentation from the stage. They prefer to listen passively while those on the stage do the work.

The “A” Focused Church

• Anonymous – they often seek anonymity, they like being part of the faceless crowd. They don’t necessarily want to be noticed or known. They appreciate churches that keep the spotlight on the performers on stage and allow the audience to sit quietly in the dark.

The “A” Focused Church

• Authority-centered – They rely heavily on the official experts for information and inspiration. They count on paid staff to communicate the insights, move them, pray on their behalf and do real ministry.

The “A” Focused Church

• Academic: they see the church’s role as primarily educational. They come once a week to obtain information about the bible and God or life.

The “A” Focused Church

• Auditory: they are auditory learners – people who take in and remember particularly through their ears. The contemporary church service suits them because its predominately an auditory experience.

Present In Body Only (PIBO)

• They may be counted as members of a church’s flock, but their hearts, mind, and souls are not engaged by what is happening at church.

Present In Body Only (PIBO)

• They are among the legion of people who never experience God at church. They attend out of a sense of duty, or to accompany a family member, or simply out of habit.

Present In Body Only (PIBO)

• Many church leaders may not recognize these people as PIBO’s satisfy the measurement that many leaders track head count—they serve their purpose just as they are

Faith Is a Relationship

• We believe faith in God develops much like other relationships. That means it is really a strict linear process. It is like relationships with other humans-messy, filled with ups and downs and lots of forwards and backwards.

Faith Is a Relationship

• A relationship includes knowledge and information, but that is not what makes the relationship tick. God can’t be reduced to theological nit-picking and theoretical musings.

Faith Is a Relationship

• God is real, alive, active in our world, and ultimately relational. We judge ourselves by our intentions but others judge us by our actions

Faith in God

• Faith is a relationship with the living God…who is real…who reveals himself in Jesus…who, through the holy Spirit, reveals himself in people today.

Faith in God

• Faith comes to life through relationships-loving God and loving others. It is relationship that drove Jesus ministry and it is what Jesus prepared his disciples to replicate.

Faith in God

• Jesus showed that growing a relationship with him resembles how we grow a good relationship with other people. So what does that relationship look like?