Church is not a junior high dance – part 2

by Nick Barker, College Director

A common theme amongst Christians who attend multiple churches and parachurch ministries is that they do not tend to see the harm they may be causing by not being committed to one body of believers. Here are a few problems that arise when Christians treat church like a junior high dance (see part 1).

Leadership ends up entertaining instead of empowering

It is very difficult to equip people in your Living Room (missional community) if they are 1) not committed to the mission of the church, 2) in different places throughout the week, and 3) have the primary desire to just socialize within the Christian community. Leading people who hover from place to place like a helicopter will take a different form then leading those who are planted and committed. Leadership could look more like babysitting or monitoring a 7th grade study hall because the people who are being led have different motives then the leadership. One cannot lead unless those being led have to desire to go where the leader is trying to take them.

The mission is cramped

There is a damper that is put on the mission of the church when there are people within church that are not committed to its mission.  Having an excess of “church hoppers” in a church will haze up the vision of the mission. Instead of walking out the church doors on mission, they are walking out the church doors one their way to another church. It is hard for a community to be on mission when a large amount of people exiting at the first off ramp they see.

Christians become users instead of contributors

We are called be the body of Christ. God has designed us each differently and has gifted us uniquely. His intention is that we work together, do life together, and serve together (Romans 12:3-8). When a person just attends a church service and does not get involved in community, they are actually working against the body of Christ instead of with the body of Christ. Instead of being a productive part of the body, they become like weights strapped around the ankles that slow the body down.

part 3 – the solution

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Church is not a junior high dance – part 2

  1. Anonymous

    I would say a lot of the responsibility of insuring commitment to a church body falls on the shoulders of the leadership. If the leaders are truly shepherding and guiding the flock given to them, commitment should be a very small problem.

  2. Jesse

    We can’t force people to commit. As a leader of a living room I pour into and spend time building relationship with the members of my group. but if they are only coming to ‘hang out’ and then going someplace else the next night then my efforts aren’t having any (or at least as much as they could) effect. I think one of the main problems is that a lot of the people who aren’t committing think they ARE committed. they just think they’re committed to both or all of the ministries they attend, as long as they go regularly to the specific meeting of a certain ministry. so in some cases, perhaps the fault lies not with their lack of commitment, but rather their understanding of what commitment to a ministry & church means.

  3. Matt

    What’s your view on campus ministries such as Campus Crusade, Navigators, Young Life, etc? These groups are comprised of members that attend various home churches.

    I ask this question because I think the problem you describe above may be occurring in VI for this reason: In the past, many VI attendees viewed VI as a college ministry similar to the above ministries. Our initial Thursday night living room had members that attended other churches rather than Grace. I was one of them. When the living rooms “branched off” many of the new leaders (or facilitators for these groups) never considered GCC as their home church. There are still remnants of this in VI.

    What happened with these living rooms is people who thought Campus Crusade or Young Life didnt go deep enough in The Word, attended VI’s living rooms where deep biblical conversations, deep community, and immense growth took place.

    How many living room leaders are still not committed to Grace Community?

  4. viministry

    Thanks for the thoughts, fellas.

    Matt, right now all of our Living Room leaders are committed to Grace except for one who is about to make a decision. Every leader must be apart of Grace in order to lead.

    To answer your question about parachurch ministries… If the Church was doing its job then there would be no need for Christians to do ministry outside of the church body. That’s all I’ll say about it on this post. With that said, I’ve know tons of people who have come to Christ because of on campus ministries. I believe God is using them to reach the lost. And because of that, I’m thankful and grateful for their ministry. We can meet up to talk more about it if you’d like.

  5. Matt

    Great Points. I agree with this and know that Grace Community and VI ministry is heading in the right direction with this issue.

    My point is that historically VI or vital impact was structured (maybe not intentionally) as a parachurch ministry. When it was vital impact, it basically was a church in itself and most members had a disconnect with Grace Community. As living rooms developed, these too became parachurch ministries on their own, where there was separation from other living rooms and Grace Community. It didnt help as leaders who weren’t committed to Grace Community were being built up for leading living rooms. There were many of these leaders.

    Although I no longer belong to VI, It’s awesome to see the transformation that is taking place as the leadership and the members see the value of committing to a local body of believers. Therefore, not only is it important for living room members to commit to VI leadership, it is probably more greatly important that leaders and VI members who are followers of Christ submit to the elders of Grace Community.

    So, the living room leaders should be addressing this and making sure this occurs. Of course, as missional communities, there will be people, especially nonbelievers, who attend for socializing and other negative reasons you posted. However, leadership should address the above issues in individual people, especially if they call themselves Christians when the appropriate times come.

    As anonymous said above: “If the leaders are truly shepherding and guiding the flock given to them, commitment should be a very small problem.”

    You guys are improving in this area more and more. I think it’s awesome.

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