I have discovered three principles and three imperatives I believe all churches should examine and apply. The first principle is this: clear, biblical thinking must override secular planning and a corporate mentality. And the imperative? Think spiritually!
However well-organized our churches become, we must give priority to biblical rather than to secular thinking. In the first-century church, there were no secular organizational structures or church politics. There was no guru of authority or “chairman” of anything. There were no power grabs from control freaks. There were no personal maneuverings, infightings, financial squabbles, or turf protection. Instead, it was a place where a spiritual emphasis took precedence over the world’s way of doing things.
Here’s what this looks like when it’s applied.
Applying Biblical Thinking
What does this look like when applied today? For starters:
- Our teaching needs to be biblically based and spiritually inclined.
- Our Sunday school classes, adult fellowships, and small-group instruction gatherings need to center on the teaching of the Bible and spiritual lessons.
- Our songs and our hymns should have spiritual content.
- Our counseling ministry needs to be derived from the Spirit’s revelation in the Scriptures.
- Our relationships with one another need to have spiritual priorities—intimate fellowship where people can trust one another.
The church ought to be the one place where spiritual thinking overrides everything else—all those battles we fight within the marketplace. Why? Because Jesus Christ is the Head of the church. The church is a spiritual entity.
Where Decisions Begin
Second, studied, accurate decisions must originate from God’s Word, not human opinions. A true, spiritual mind-set comes from meditation on the Scriptures. So the imperative would be: stay biblical!
The Word of God ought to be central to every worship service on Sunday. Furthermore, every elders meeting and every staff meeting should have the Scriptures as the basis of the decisions that are made. God’s Word is to be the church’s guide; it shapes our current thinking and future planning by giving us principles we can understand, believe, and apply.
I love the words of A. W. Tozer:
The world is waiting to hear an authentic voice, a voice from God—not an echo of what others are doing and saying, but an authentic voice.[ref]A. W. Tozer, Rut, Rot or Revival: The Condition of the Church (Camp Hill, Penn.: Christian Publications, 1992), 178.[/ref]
As those in the church who follow Christ as our Head, our words must come from the Living God and not be an echo of human words or works . . . certainly not the words from our culture! As wise and intelligent as human opinions are, the church isn’t guided by the thinking of any fallen human being. (By the way, that includes the pastor!) Christ is the Head. Our thinking is shaped by a study of Scriptures—by God’s thinking. This is about building the church God’s way—and God’s way is found in God’s Word. Nowhere else can we find such an authentic voice.
A church that is working is a church that is growing. I believe that. But be careful of the order of that statement, because a church that is growing is not necessarily a church that is working.
PS. I’ll share the third principle and imperative with you next week.