Indeed why would anyone want to start another church in your city or mine? There are too many already, and most of them are not very well attended. Besides, if you look closely, you will see that most of them resemble each other in many ways. How about building a true Bible church where the Bible is the only model used? Wouldn’t that make it different? Surely God’s favor and anointing would be in order. It certainly looks and sounds like a great idea, but let us take a deeper look before we go rent a building.
You may ask why I would be so cautious about starting a Bible believing church. My answer is look around how many others have started a new association over the last decade? All began with the idea that they would be different. They began with the intention of preaching and practicing what the Bible teaches and nothing else. They were determined to avoid becoming a dry, stagnant congregation. Look in your phone directory and see how many new churches are listed along with the traditional group of denominations. Too many already, right? Most of the traditional churches are dry and stagnant, and many new ones soon lose their Biblical direction and become much of the same. Why indeed do we need another?
Recently I did some research for my local Chamber of Commerce. I discovered there are some 154 churches with perhaps a dozen different traditional denominational titles, and a relative number of non-denominational institutions. All are located within a 25-mile radius of the small town where I live, and few of them have more than 100 regular members.
In another instance, a city of approximately 11000 residents sported 45 different churches. These findings were not scientifically gathered, but I believe this to be typical in many areas of the U.S. The problem is not that there are too few churches. The real problem is there are too many churches competing for the same population base. In most cases, they provide many of the same services; however, few, if any are Spirit led. The community winds up with another stagnant impotent church.
Actually, we do need another church! Yes, I said another church. We need the church Jesus told us about. What I really mean is you are to BE the church; I am to BE the church. We need to BE the Church and not just attend a church. We must remove ourselves from an institution that calls itself God’s church, when in fact, it is only man’s church masquerading as God’s — most of which has little to do with the true meaning of “church” and more to do with man’s ego or pride.
I am not saying those churches have no value. Most of them provide some positive service even though they are self-centered. Most of us have spent some time in one of these churches at one point or another. This was what we needed at that time or place in our lives. For that particular part of our life’s journey, it was a good thing. However, when the Holy Spirit speaks to us about a more excellent way and we feel boxed in with no room for growth or action, then it is time to really examine our church. Does it allow for Holy Spirit living in the truest sense? Does it allow us to exercise our spiritual gifts? Is it actually making the difference in the community that it claims? If we find it is forcing us to remain in a specified area and cannot live out the Spirit’s leading, we must move on.
This is where the rub comes in for me. I don’t want to attend or start another cloned church. But even when I want to BE God’s Church, I must re-educate myself in the things of God, or I will likely return to the vomit of the traditions I have been taught most of my childhood and adult Christian life. I have grown sick of these customs on more than one occasion. The spirit within me cries out for a real Jesus church. How am I to find it? I have come to the conclusion the real Church Jesus and Paul talked about is not found in a beautifully assembled building with all the lustrous and fine-tuned and ornamentation, but rather it is within each of us. God made it that way; man has tried his best to change it. What God does on His own and what he does through man is far different from what man does on his own and claims it is from God.
I find the only way I have peace within my spirit is to allow the Holy Spirit to lead me, educate me, empower me, train me, and provide for me those who need my attention. True church is only the “Church” when the Spirit is in perfect control. Anything else is just pretending.
We do not need another church! Please do not even think of starting one. Please allow God to build it within you! Allow His Spirit to lead!