The church is alive and well in this country. At least there are a lot of people that attend church in this country, and specifically it seems as though there are many people that attend large churches. This seems to be a trend in much of the evangelical churches of today for many people. I don’t have a lot of statistics to support my statement, but this article isn’t really about backing up that claim with statistics. I can look around my hometown and see several large churches that have a big attendance.
I recently attended a home-school conference and the conference was held at a church facility that was quite incredible. They had a very large auditorium, they had a sprawling campus, they had nearly every program that one could imagine to appeal to nearly every segment of every possible audience. I mean they had it all. Youth facilities, that looked to have a rockin’ band, multiple languages, cafe, coffee shop, book store, gymnasium, and on and on, even a jungle room for the tots. If you wanted something for your family and you wanted to go to church this would be the place.
I can imagine the “pull” a place like this has on the people around it. It’s the hip place to go to church. I’ll bet they can sing Amazing Grace like no other place in town. Whether that be a traditional version, or a new modern version, I’d be pretty certain this place can deliver…
It was while attending this conference that something really struck me. We were sitting in the auditorium, and Voddie Baucham was the keynote speaker. He had many sessions over the days we were in attendance and Voddie was very kind and stuck around after his sessions answering questions. A man and his wife sitting a row below us to our right said they were considering home-schooling their children, but the kids were a little older and they were rebelling against the idea. He asked Voddie if they should insist, or allow the kids to have their way. The answer was quite remarkable and probably the opposite of what most people would think. He told them they need to pull them in tight to their bosom and hold them their as long as they can.
In other words, don’t you dare let them go, and don’t you dare allow them to determine their course. I was blessed by Voddie’s compassion for this couple and I was struck by the pain this couple seemed to be in over this decision, that they were struggling to make.
After the session I was walking outside the auditorium and I saw the man that asked the question and I approached him. I said that I was touched by his question, and had a compassion for his situation. Then I asked him if his church would assist him in shepherding him through this, and helping him make a decision about the home-schooling. It was at this point that I was grateful for what the Lord has done in my life and bringing me to the point that I continue to have more clarity as what the church is for.
He said to me, “well I don’t think they’d care either way… the church is very big and I’m not sure they’d have an opinion…” I guess I’m not surprised, but I’m surprised… this man didn’t go to the church where this conference was being held, but he described it as big, and I can imagine that it was similar. And among the “bigness” of their ministry they have missed their opportunities. They have missed their primary calling as the church. They have blown it… They are so full of the fact that they need to reach more people with Jesus, that they didn’t notice that the people that need Jesus the most are their own attendees.
Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. – Acts 20:28-29
These “shepherds” are so busy, they have no time to shepherd the flock. They’ve built such great kingdoms that they have no idea what’s going on at the grass roots level. It is actually tragic, and I fear for these leaders. They have no idea the condition of their flock. I’m sure they think they are doing good work, because they have lots in attendance, but are they really building the church?
I’m not against all manner of large churches, I know of some very good ones, that have figured out how to take care of their people even though they are big. They have available resources, but even in the best of these churches, if you desire to be lost in the crowd, you can certainly do that. I don’t mean to claim my church has it all figured out, because we don’t, but I highly esteem the leadership in our church because of how much they care, and they invest in the lives of the people God has entrusted them.
If you consider what a true shepherd does, and you consider today that most church leaders are nothing more than religious CEO’s it’s a big difference. A shepherd guarded the holding pen at night with his very life. He laid across the doorway that nothing could enter without him knowing about it. The shepherd closely inspected his sheep everyday to see if they had infections. I can’t cast a blanket upon every large church, just as I can’t say that every small church shepherd’s the flock well.
What I desire to have people consider in this article is what is the condition of your flock if you are a church leader. If you are not a church leader and you attend a church, how are they doing shepherding your soul? If you were considering home-school, would they guide you through that process? Or would they be too busy to concern themselves with such a trivial matter?