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Series Theme:  Looking for a Better Church: A Church Check


















Title:   2. Awareness Issues




2.1 Bringing in the Newcomer



2.1 Bringing in the Newcomer


Unless we are talking about a new church plant (where it will apply to everyone not merely newcomers), the reality of any church is

  • The church has history
  • Newcomers arrive who are not aware of that history.

Now that ‘history' will include

  • How long the church has been there, how it formed etc.
  • Who its originators / leaders are, how long they've been there, and what their qualifications are for being there.
  • What the culture of the church is (in terms we described in 1:1)
  • What the mission statement of the church is.
  • How that is being worked out in terms of people and groups, giftings and ministries


For the newcomer to become fully part of ‘the body' they need to know these things and understand what it is they are joining themselves to.


There needs to be some mechanism, therefore, that enables this to happen, not merely a conversation over coffee, but a structured running through all the above things.



2.2 Ongoing Information Conveyed


We may assume that everyone in the church knows and understands these things but that is a false assumption. Now a temptation is to simply produce a piece of paper regularly to convey such information but that is impersonal and the body is supposed to be a closely relating group of people.


‘Church Meetings', used to convey information, often appear stereotyped and predictable and appear to do little to build vision and release faith for growth and development. Although opportunity should be given for questions and discussion the meeting should have clear purpose and direction released by the ministry of the leaders to (let's say it again), build vision and release faith for growth and development .


Note the back half of that sentence above. The ‘church meeting' can be an opportunity to

  • Build, strengthen and clarify the vision and
  • Release faith for achieving it.


If, as often happens, the ‘church meeting' simply conveys information of ‘what is' it will fail to achieve those two things. The leaders need to

  • Reiterate what the vision is in understandable terms and
  • Say how that goal is progressing.


Faith is released when the leaders speak in visionary terms and are able to testify to the works of God that have been observed so far in bringing it about.


There may also be prophetic input that clarifies and enhances the vision and releases individuals into further gifting the achieve it, releasing faith to step out on, and anointing to achieve the further works of God.


If the life of God is truly flowing through the Spirit in such gatherings then the congregation will want them more often that just once a year. Three times a year may be a reasonable timing, but only if the content of the meeting results from a faithful seeking the Lord beforehand, and opportunity is given for the Spirit to flow, to guide and direct etc.



2.3 Releasing Growth, Development, Maturity, Gifting & Equipping as Key Ingredients


Each of the things in that heading should be vital ingredients of a church in the hands of God, and living and working under the inspiration and empowering of the Holy Spirit as it works out the New Testament teaching of the heart of God.


Although these are things to be further worked out in some of the following parts of this series, they need to be stated and reiterated again and again. A church that ignores these things

  • grows stagnant, suffers criticism and backbiting and boredom – and loses people, and
  • fails to conform to the teaching of the New Testament.


We have started that heading with the words ‘releasing' because the truth is that God will be working to achieve these things in accord with His declared will in the New Testament. Our role is to

  • listen, learn, teach and to come to understand these things as a body, and
  • establish a culture where they are the norms being worked for.


Where the leadership has done this, they will need to communicate it again and again to the people and lead (by example) and encourage them into it.


Although we will state this in the preaching/teaching section, faith is released when vision and possibility are conveyed not by declaring what the people ‘ought' or ‘should' be doing. Faith and vision is released through grace, not the law.


These are, we suggest, some of the issues to be considered to take the church on.