Hearer vs. Doer

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22

Fellowship Church is currently going through some change right now that essentially boils down to this truth. As the pastor and leader of FC I have a great driving passion to see people live lives that fulfill the commands of Scripture and result in the great glory of God.
The problem that we face too often in being doers of the Word, however, is how we hear it. I actually think that the culture of church has conditioned us to be hearers and not doers. I say this as one of the leaders in a church. I want to help people do what they hear.
The culture of church has, in my opinion, taught something it never intended to teach. When I was a child growing up in church I think I would have told you that the Godliest people went to visitation on Tuesday night. The next group of committed believers were Wednesday nighters. I would have also thought highly of the Discipleship Training and Sunday night worship crowd. The Sunday morning crowd was divided between the Sunday schoolers and the just show up for churchers. No one taught me that mindset, but somehow I picked it up. I think perhaps it is the use of guilt in communicating the fact that it would be really good to show up at each of these things.
So I say all of this to make the point that I think the church, without meaning to, has made a culture that fosters the idea that the result of hearing the truth is to come back and hear more truth. If you were to take visitation out of the mix everything planned is an opportunity to hear more truth. Christianity in the culture of the average church in America is defined by church participation and attendance.
Now granted the Bible clearly tells us to not forsake the assembling together. Many churches today are trying to make Christianity easy and doing just that. I do not think following Christ is easy, but I do believe it is simple. We need to learn to walk away from the ideas and assumptions we have about why we do what we do and take a new look at what we do.
Does a person really become a better follower of Christ just because they are at church for two worship services on Sunday? Do we automatically grow in Christ because we show for a Bible Study on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night? I do not think so. I actually think the opposite happens.
I believe that average Christian judges their growth in Christ by how much they are hearing not by how much they are doing. The people in many churches today are so busy studying and preparing and going to Bible studies that they rarely have time to stop and become what they are learning. God has not called us to make theologians, he has called us to make disciples. I want people to learn the great deep truths of Scripture as their life goes on, but I would much prefer to see them do what they have learned before they commit to learning more.
Fellowship is focused on learning how to help people do what Christ has called them to do. To be who Christ has called them to be. Sure there is a lot to learn, but we are not in a hurry. There is only so much we can learn and apply at a time. God is a patient God. It is us that has created the hurried concept of church pushing people through programs instead of walking with people through the changes of life.
The church needs to be called back to a simple approach. Fellowship is not a frantic pace church as it is, but we need to be more purposeful at each step. We are working on this. We want everything we do to move people forward in their faith from where they are.
The question is, “where are you?” Are you hearing or are you doing? Here is a quick litmus test for that. When was the last time you told a lost person how to accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord? No doubt you have heard to do that, but have you done it. Are you being the church or are you just doing church?
This week Fellowshippers have been given a bold challenge to be the church. I pray that this movement will never stop and that we will see more and people connect to love, grow, serve, and go.
(More about this topic will follow in coming posts. I know your anxiously awaiting my thoughts on the church.)

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