As we examine the New Testament, we see that Jesus called for the formation of the ekklesia in Matthew 16:18. In Greek culture an ekklesia was the ruling body that governed the polis or city state. Thus Jesus didn’t create a new word but borrowed from a common political word to describe His goal for those who would be His disciples: that they would represent His kingdom will on earth with binding and loosing powers that would govern the heavenly principalities (Ephesians 3:8-10, 6:10-18) and thus transform earthly communities where each ekklesia was established. This is a great difference in function from the typical congregational idea of simply assembling together as found in Hebrews 10:25.
In the typical journey of a local church there are usually crises that take place which can either cause a church to decline or rise to a higher level. With proper planning, churches can avoid each of these crises so that instead of these challenges hitting like tsunamis their impact is nothing more than like a ripple of water.
The following are some of the most common tsunamis local churches face:
Perhaps the biggest need I have seen in the Body of Christ since entering full-time ministry in 1980 is the lack of male church attendance. This is especially true in Charismatic/Pentecostal churches in North America.
In many churches, male attendance comprises only 15% of the Sunday gender demographic. There are some exceptions to this: In our local church male attendance is typically 35%-40%, and Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, New York has a male church attendance of about 51%.
I. Congregations wish their pastor would preach messages relevant to their daily needs and struggles
1. Many pastors out of seminary are answering questions no one is asking.
2. Many pastors are preaching over the head of the average believer.
3. Many pastors are preaching abstract truth not easily applicable in the lives of the congregation.
4. Much preaching is too idealistic and not realistically taking into consideration the humanity of the believer.
1. Effective Ministries Value the Whole Church
To be effective in the current culture wars, Evangelicals can no longer afford to shun their Catholic and Orthodox brethren. It is going to take the whole church standing together on social issues to see societal transformation. We may not be in the same denomination or local church, but we share the same overarching values regarding the Trinity, the need for the cross of Christ for salvation, the deity of Christ, and the Ten Commandments as a blueprint for the laws of a nation.
There are many things a person could imagine when they hear the words “Christianity” and “church.” At times I even hesitate calling myself a Christian because of the various ways Christianity has been defined, as well as because of the many public scandals that have been connected to ministers in the church.
At the time of the writing of this article I have been married almost thirty years and have functioned as a senior pastor for almost 26 years. Through all this I have come to the conclusion that an effective marriage ministry is absolutely essential for every church to succeed in its vision and purpose. The following are reasons why.
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