A call for change.




We take a look at 2 'sacred cows' of the current church.







The full background to this teaching is available online at this link
DEFINITION OF TERMS - For serious students



Online links to scriptures (New International Version [NIV] unless otherwise stated) are shown in blue




What is the focus of 'your church'? On 'the house' or on 'the Lord'?

I guarantee that 99% of us will read the first question and see nothing wrong with it. The second may cause us think - a little. But in reality, the first question is flawed, for it makes the incorrect assumption that the church is ours! The church, as God sees it, doesn't belong to us and never will. Rather, it is meant to be His people, created in accordance with His pleasure, not for our own purposes.


Ephesians 1:4-6



In our humanness, we focus on what can be seen rather than the unseen spiritual realm. We so easily slip into the way of substituting the church, the buildings, the priesthood and the programmes, for God, for our spiritual relationship with Jesus. We want to see the church (if we are really honest, our own church, not the one down the road) expand and grow. We claim it for God's glory, but that's only half the story!

Recently, I was in a large church where the pastor spoke about his vision for 'the house'. Only a couple of convenient scriptures were used and, to my recollection, God was not referred to once during the sermon. The church would grow, the church would become influential in the city, the church buildings would be improved, etc., etc..

The entire focus was upon 'the house'. I left the service feeling dejected and sad! Both God and I together!

Instead of making our services 'seeker friendly' why not make them 'God friendly'? Why not seek Him and His will in our meetings rather than providing professional entertainment designed to titillate our human senses? Should we not be more concerned with offending God rather than the world - or even the congregation?

On a personal level, why do we really go to church? To be blessed? To fulfil a weekly obligation before getting on with our day to day lives? To feel good through emotional worship? To receive a spiritual blessing from the pastor or priest?

Or do we go to worship the Lord our God with everything we have and to hear what He has to say to us personally, in whatever way He wishes.

Prepared to be changed into His image, no matter what sacrifice this requires. This indeed, is the church our God desires.

As Jesus so simply stated in His single commandment:


Luke 10:27



Let us focus fully on Him today. 


PRINCIPLE 7: God is calling out to Himself today a church fully focused upon Him.


DAVID'S DOUBTS: "But God, if we don't be user friendly, people will get upset and not come." "Why not try being friendly to Me, and see what I will do." "Okay, God - it is Your church, after all.." 




When one pastor meets another, the first question usually asked is, "How big is your church?" The replies immediately establish the relative pecking orders. The pastor with the larger church automatically has the greater status.

Numerous seminars are conducted on 'church growth', on the latest and greatest way to attract more people into your church, and the programmes that will surely succeed in growing your numbers.

When one asks pastors for their God-given vision, usually it will be focused around increasing the numbers of people in their church. Visions range from hundreds to thousands.

Yet the reality is, 90% of churches worldwide, based on my experience, would have less than 100 members with the majority, less than 50. This would seem to indicate that God is either giving impossible visions, or that most pastors are complete failures. I don't think so. The reality is, we do measure success by numbers, and in most cases our visions are human, rather than God, based. Put very basically, we measure success by 'bums on seats'. Or perhaps, on the floor, as in some countries.

But is this really God's way? What really are we called to? What does the Great Commission actually say?


Matthew 28:19-20



It does not say to get everyone in the world into a church (preferably our own!) on a Sunday, but to make "disciples", for it is only disciples who will "obey everything I have commanded you."

Jesus, although He spoke to a lot of people, only attempted to train 12 male disciples, and one of those didn't last the distance. He did of course, train a number of women also, but in the custom of the times, they weren't listed as part of the group.

The point really is, it is virtually impossible to disciple people in large groups. For developing discipleship is a relational activity. One on one - or in small groups. This is the most effective way for a pastor to 'shepherd' God's people. And shepherding is the true role of a 'pastor'.

Today God is calling on His church to discard the human based philosophy that 'big is best' and to go back to the relational basis of discipleship which Jesus modelled.

I want to encourage the vast majority of pastors out there whose churches are not growing into 'mega-churches'. The Lord first and foremost desires you to encourage your people to a deeper commitment, not to you of course, but to the Lord.

It is through this pastoral commitment to discipleship that the Lord will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant'".

Let us put aside the ways of man's 'biggest and brightest' philosophy and return to the Biblical pattern of discipleship, of commitment, submission and obedience to God's will.

Remember the warning to the Laodicean church, the well-established pattern of today's church.


Revelation 3:15-18



To those prepared to change their ways to become disciples of Jesus, a wonderful promise is made. 


Revelation 3:19-20



Pastors, leaders, your shepherding role is to encourage your people to open their door to Jesus. 


PRINCIPLE 8: God is calling believers to grow into disciples.


DAVID'S DOUBTS: "But God, if I have a big church it will glorify you - and pay my salary!" "Who will it glorify David?" "OK God, me really! I understand now. Forgive me Lord." 




as we look at a change of focus required in 2 areas in the church. 




Like it or not, as humans we are, in the natural, self centred.

Getting the 'me' out of 'us' is a difficult and ongoing process. It is all tied up with putting God first and becoming His disciples.

Sadly, it is all too easy to get sidetracked into temporal things, some of which may even be most worthy.

"Lord, may we seek more of you."


The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were considered one of the wonders of the ancient world. The Greek historian Herodotus described Babylon in great detail. King Nebuchadnezzar built them in 580 BC apparently for his wife Amytis, daughter of the Median King Astyages, who was homesick for the mountains and vegetation of her native land.

The site was located by an archaeologist named Koldeway at the northeast corner of Nebuchadnezzar's palace near the Ishtar Gate. The gardens were probably developed on a structure like a ziggurat and built in the form of elevated terraces. Koldeway discovered huge vaults and arches at the site. He also uncovered an ancient hydraulic system like a pump drawing water from the river. The building was about 75 feet high and the gardens were at different levels which grew around and on top of a building.


So until next week.......

His servant and yours

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311. Lord, teach me not to strive!

David Tait         




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