Weekend at Bernie’s Church.

29 03 2012

Is the leadership or the Spirit keeping the church alive?

There is nothing like a 1989 comedy, think I’m kidding here are just a few that came out in ’89:

  1. When Harry Met Sally
  2. Look Who’s Talking
  3. The ‘Burbs
  4. The War of Roses
  5. Turner and Hooch
  6. Major League
  7. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  8. Uncle Buck
  9. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
  10. Honey, I Shurnk the Kids

And last but not least Weekend at Bernies! Now to be fair, I’ve not seen half of these movies (I was 6 at the time, give me a break), but I do know that when funny movies are talked about, those on this list come up in conversation, especially from those around my dad’s age.

But the reason I save Weekend at Bernies for a non-list mention (if you can’t tell by the title already) is because the premise of this film is very interesting. Two men are invited to this guy’s beach house, the owner, Bernie, dies, the men are hunted by killers, and in order to stay alive, they have to make every one think he, Bernie, is alive and well — let the hijinks ensue!

From what I understand most of the movie is their plight and amazing effort to try and make it seem that Bernie is alive — enter church comparison here!

Now I know there are those who tire of negative comments about the church. I know there will be those who will say “instead of talking about the problem, be part of the solution.” There will be those who will say, “if you think you can do it better, why don’t you?” And to those people I ask, have you never come across a leader who is so horrible at leading and so stubborn that none of those options are possible?

We assume that because it is about the church, the bride of Christ, we have to be submissive and speak well of all of its aspects. The problem is we make the church leadership and the church in general synonymous with each other, and they most certainly are not! When leadership is called out on their inability to lead, it isn’t an attack on the church, it’s an attack on the leadership. The church, its leaders included, is supposed to be a representation of Christ, not the few individuals.

Back to Weekend at Bernie’s, some church leaders do exactly what those men did. They wear themselves out to make sure Sunday is a go. Now this in’t a bad thing except for when the Spirit hasn’t had a say in the way the church service is organized. If you’re asking if I’m implying that we should give the Spirit a chance to lead us for every Sunday’s service, not just its message, than YES I AM! With out the spirit there is nothing that makes us different from any other organization. The Spirit is what connects us with God, if our Services aren’t connected with the Spirit, how can they connect us with God?

To continue, not only is all the power coming from the leaders themselves, but there is no sign of life! Sure there can be motion, but motion isn’t really a “true” sign of life. Real signs of life are called vitals, and if there are no vitals present there can be no life present. Some church leaders confuse motion and vitals, often leaders judge by whether or not the tithe is coming in, if the people are coming in, and if the building is standing. I call these “building, budget, and attendance metrics.” The problem is that these can be present even when vitals aren’t.  However, with no vitals, eventually these feigning metrics will soon be gone as well.

Here are some questions to ask:

  1. Is the church congregation growing spiritually? Football draws a crowd, a growing congregation doesn’t mean it’s accomplishing the Spirit’s desire.
  2. Is the church growing leaders? You can tell a church that grows leadership versus one that turns over leadership. The growing leadership retains those who are leaders and then adds new leaders and ministries to the mix.
  3. Is the church changing lives, and does it have proof that is shared with the congregation? A church that doesn’t share it’s victories more than likely doesn’t have any or celebrates the wrong ones.
  4. Are people plugged in based on their spiritual gifts? If people aren’t plugged in where God has created them to be, but rather where the church has an “ever pressing need,” more than likely those programs aren’t lead by the Spirit’s desire.
  5. Is the church truly in fellowship? Fellowship isn’t a dinner only, it isn’t an event, it is a way of life! If a majority of the church doesn’t hang out with each other often something is wrong.
  6. Is there  grace in the church? If things are “my way or the highway,” the highway might be a better choice.
  7. Finally, is there confession of sin? If the church isn’t promoting transparency with confession of sin, it’s very possible it has some to hide.

If the above bolds aren’t present you’ll soon find the tithe dropping, the attendance dropping, a lack of volunteers, a lack of able leaders, and the building falling apart. It’s more than likely the church is a Weekend at Bernie’s church. Eventually there will be a leveling point where there is motion, and the show service can go on, but it won’t be accomplishing much more than having a church service, which I don’t remember being a commandment from God. Go ahead and quote “forsake not the gather of yourselves together,” but you and I both know it was commanded so that the church could accomplish the purposes set out in scriptures. If those bolded items aren’t present then the “gathering together” verse doesn’t really apply does it?

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