Sunday, December 20, 2009

Another Pathetic Church

I assume many will not agree, and most will not understand my frustration and anger, but that is what makes this post necessary . . . so, man-up, or go back to your children's Christmas program . . .

(First, a note of qualification: I think children's programs, plays, musicals, etc. are very good and should be performed in churches. We had the children sing and do the hand motions to a couple of Christmas songs this morning in our church. It was cute. The children were animated and sang loud. The songs were biblical and had a message. Parents smiled and grandparents took photos. Some documented the event with video. But, then we had a message that was focused on teaching the scripture to the believer.)

I didn't think anything about it, until I called four of my sons who I had left at home to attend, what had been reported to me as, a "Bible teaching church" in Waukee. I drive 81 miles one way to get to the church I preach at. We have been doing this for over six years. Two of my boys were home from college for the holidays and a couple of them needed to be at work by noon to wait on tables. Leaving our house for my church at 9:00 AM and getting home about 3:00 PM was not an option for them this week. I told them just to skip going with me. Instead, I'd like to have them visit this new, Bible teaching church in Waukee. I had heard good things about it from a couple of pastors involved with the church. So, the four of them willingly agreed to go. (Yes, really, they don't mind attending church and learning the word of God).

Now, at my church this morning we had a brief time after the announcements for the children to sing a couple of songs. There were a few extra people that came to hear their children sing. I know that is why these adults came, because when the children were finished singing the adults of some of the children (parents, grandparents, guardians, or whoever) just stood up and left. I have no problem with that. It shows integrity on their part. It shows they are not intimidated by social standards and are not going to feel guilty about walking out of a church service. It's the American way. Freedom! It did not bother me that they left before I spoke. Not at all. I would have bored them and made them emotionally, morally and physically (since, I spoke for about an hour) uncomfortable. I do not mind. I do that four times a week.

At the same time this was going on, my boys found themselves in Waukee in an advertised "Bible Teaching Church" sitting through over an hour long children's program with no Bible teaching. When I heard this I was ticked (meaning in the English "greatly upset" or "to the point of anger," also "mad" or "peeved"). I already consider most churches in the USA as worthless, a waste of spiritual energy and, often, deceitful to the point that we need Wycliffe, Zwingli, Calvin and Luther for another Reformation. I do not understand how a pastor could allow the Sunday morning service with the second largest attendance of the year be dedicated to the worship of little children singing and people doing skits. In my mind it is wrong. It is corrupt. It borders on idolatry. It makes me want to vomit when I hear this. But, what really irks me the most is that I sent four of my boys (ages 14, 17, 19 and 21) to visit this church because I had heard, that compared to the other churches, this one was a "Bible teaching church." Next week I am going to send them all back to this church again and ask for a report concerning the teaching of the word. My guess is that, at best, this church is going to be a church that flashes a verse on the big screen, tells a couple of storys, and then makes some pseudo-application to the Christian life.

Well, anyway, Merry Christmas. If you hurry you can still catch a Sunday evening Christmas program . . .

Galyn Wiemers
http://www.generationword.com/

6 comments:

KetchMan said...

Galyn -- would you have felt differently if this were done on Sunday evening? Or if there had been a brief sermon and invitation given by the pastor afterward? Shouldn't there be room for this somewhere in the church? On the other hand, I too am disappointed at my weekly experiences at (a Bible teaching) church.

Generation Word Bible Teaching Ministry said...

Like I said, our kids sang a couple of songs today. Children's programs are great, cute, a good way to get people in the door and an even better way to help teach the children. But, nothing can replace Bible teaching. In an age of scriptural illiteracy this is a tragedy. Sunday night or Christmas eve or some other time that does not interfere with the teaching of God's word would be a good time to have a children's program. Imagine never instructing a math class in mathematics or drilling a basketball team in offense or defensive skills. That is the modern church.

I will go one step further and say the assembly of the church (believers) is not an evangelistic meeting. It is for the edification and instruction of the believer/priest. Edified and educated believer/priest will evangelize their society. Ignorant and anemic believers will, at best, invite a friend to church in hope that the pastor (the CEO of the corporation and spiritual hired gun) will provide an altar call.

My boys missed an opportunity to be taught the word of God by an educated, gifted, trained pastor/teacher. Where are these men at? My boys need them. My nation needs them.

Hawkeyemkn said...

Do you still do your service similar to when you were in Garwin? Or has it changed?

We are still looking for a church, been to a couple here in Des Moines, but nothing has really felt right. We are both looking for I guess what we had when we were growing up.

Generation Word Bible Teaching Ministry said...

The teaching is the same. I still teach verse by verse most Sundays. Our church is a younger church than at Garwin and we have more contemporary music, but basically, it is very similar.

KetchMan said...

I would just ask you to be careful that you are not deriding a spiritual gift given to someone else. Edification takes place in little children and by them as well -- "building up" can mean encouraging. I think in this case, the building up is the teaching of our children that God wants them to spread the gospel message too and that it doesn't have to be a five point sermon to get the message across. I'm sure Away in a Manger sung by 2-year-olds doesn't stretch your spiritual muscles any more than it does mine, but it's not always about us.
God bless you for your devotion to teaching His Word. God also bless those who get those young people to start practicing their faith.

T.F. said...

The modern church does some things well like give comfortable careers to seminary graduates, programs for kids, missions trips, ear tickling sermons. They talk alot about Jesus and the gospel but our culture has already been proselytized. In this process the critical need for verse by verse Bible teaching is lost and Christians are illiterate. A basic level of Christian education in the church has been lost.