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The Family & The Church

 

The Family & The Church
By Andy Zoppelt

I believe the family plays an important role in our religious upbringing. But the family is not an isolated unit; there are social characteristics that will affect the family: the degree of sin in a given society and the spiritual condition of the church as it attempts to be a bulwark against the works of Satan. The church today is not geared to support the individual family, nor is it able to be a relational model for the family. Families today are under tremendous spiritual attacks from all fronts and sectors of our environment.

In order for the church to be a spiritual asset and fellow-soldier or comrade in arms, the church must be family within itself. The church must be caring, sharing, intimately related, supportive, loyal, committed and safe. It cannot be indifferent, impersonal, unrelatable, commercial, entertaining or rigidly programmed. The church today is a paralyzed body with few functioning and supportive parts. We "go" to church today. Can you imagine someone saying that they are going to family today? Why? Because family describes a matrix of personal and interpersonal relationships, filled with many facets, diversities and function. The church today has been reduced to "a form of godliness," with entertaining and interesting teachings, buildings and programs. It is like trying to get a one-year-old child to help you fix the family car. The function, the maturity and the ability are not there. Dressing it up does not help the function. Many homes have been broken up because of the lack of function and support from the church. Many, after being mesmerized by all the dynamic messages that one can possibly contain are made none the better. We seem to have all the answers to all the problems of the world while we are suffering from relational starvation. The average pew sitter in our church today gets almost no recognition, no support and winds up falling through the cracks. Most don't even have the foggiest idea what the church is and certainly are not in any position to bring about the needed reformation or cure some of its minor symptoms. They naturally "assume" that what we have is church. Many are forced to "church hop" to find one that has all the "bells and whistles" that will support their sense of pleasure, entertainment and comfort. "I feel good when I go to this church," seems to be the criteria today. I have heard it said, "The church in America is one sixteenth of an inch deep and six thousand miles wide." We certainly may have the numbers, but we sure are lacking in depth.

People were created by God to belong - to be a part of others peoples lives, to be needed, to be useful and supported…..to be family! The church today has masterfully and skillfully steered us clear of any real and meaningful relationships. In fact, the church service is hostile to a family type atmosphere, where you have conversation, questions and dialogue. Its disruptive and interruptive to do anything beside sing during worship time and listen during preaching time. Sure some churches give you the opportunity to hug someone's neck or shake their hand and maybe even say "God loves you," but what is that?

Reformation is what is needed to solve this enormous problem. We must be willing to do something about the sad condition we find ourselves in, if not, then we are barking up the wrong tree. God, church and family are a three-stranded cord; remove one of the cords and you have a breakdown.

For pastors to seek solutions outside of the teacher/building emphasis would put many of their jobs in jeopardy. If we decide to face our problems and moved toward meaningful solutions, maybe we would discover that we do not need our expensive buildings and multifaceted facilities. If meeting in homes would free more money for such things as giving to the poor and the needy, we might see the kind of results that we see in the book of Acts.

The Devil has cleverly pulled the family carpet out from underneath the church and reduced us to spectators and church couch potatoes.

I am not confident that we are able to make such massive changes. Such changes would almost appear cultish and foreign to what we are experiencing today. I don't believe that there is going to be a "comfortable" means of transition. First of all, the average Christians would be against such radical transition, secondly, we are already immuned because of our present conditioning of "Church" and lastly, I am not confident that we are ready to give up our schedules and personal agendas. Besides, our system of religion fits well into our "Laodicean" type environment.

We are going to need some real "brave heart" saints, committed to reformation before this can happen. God send us martyrs and suffers for the cause.

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