·"A few years ago a church of Christ took up a special collection and raised a million dollars. It made news around the world. A few weeks later another raised over two million dollars in a special collection. Recently another congregation passed the eight million dollar mark in a single collection. And now we hear that another congregation has broken the ten million dollar barrier in a single contribution. We thrill at every step.
"But isn't it painfully noticeable that all these special collections were for a church building for 'us'? Would it not have been even more remarkable if each of these collections had been for preaching the gospel somewhere in the world?
"Special collections are just great. They demonstrate that most churches are willing to do more than most elderships think they can. Many chaff at the fact that they are not given the opportunity to give to the causes they want to support. Most of us had rather give to a specific cause than to a budget." -- Reuell Lemmons, Editor, "Action;" November, 1985. (Emphasis mine, editor.)
Brother Lemmons gingerly touches on a serious malady among us. Our people are in love with the world and the things of this world. "The lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life" seem to rule our individual lives and govern what we call "the work of the church." Our people will give for the accumulation of material things like bigger and bigger buildings, Family Life Centers, recreation facilities, colleges, universities, and other things that perish with the using. As he mentioned in his article, our people gave several million dollars to help feed the hungry in Africa. This terrible tragedy touches our emotions and loosens our purse, but not to the extent that the material, tangible assets do.
I notice that Abilene Christian University has launched another fund raiser for 18.5 million dollars. And they will get it. The purpose? To build a Center for Biblical Studies on their campus. Liberal contributors who invest in this structure of stones, marble, wood, etc., all of which perish with time, may get a building or some wing of one named after them. Credit and glory will go to all. And the whole deal is a work of man's wisdom, totally worthless to the cause of Jesus Christ. It is likely that it will be a detriment.
This is the kind of " secular" humanism that concerns me. We are afflicted with it. The emphasis is upon this world; material, earthly things that will never save a soul and will perish with the using. Brother Lemmons tells of four churches that raised a total of 21 million dollars for church buildings for "us." I would guess that all the churches of Christ in Texas have not spent that much money in preaching the gospel to the lost in the last ten years! How sad.
The judgment is coming!
·"Action" is a paper published in the interest of saving souls. It is a voice for the World Bible School, a tremendous work of reaching the lost through Bible Correspondence Courses, providing Bibles and other literature to those who need it. In my opinion, it is one of the greatest efforts I have ever known in preaching the gospel to the lost. I commend it. I was involved with it for about four years. It is a real challenge to any Christian and will do you good. Any Christian can participate. I urge you to do so. The need is for teachers. Send $5 and ask them to put you on the "Action" mailing list. It will stir your soul to read it. Also ask for information about how you can help. Address: "Action," 5801 Wynona, Austin, TX 78756.
·In the same issue of "Action" there is a report that 778 were baptized in a 30-day effort in Ghana, West Africa. It is estimated that the gospel was preached to 90,000 non-Christians. It is interesting to note that most of the 778 who were baptized were World Bible School students. Let us thank God for this harvest of souls. This is worth far more than a 10 million dollar building over here for Christians to "huddle together" in! The latter is for time; the first is for eternity.
·Minister and Church Referral Service. Did you know that we had such a service? It is somewhat like Snelling and Snelling Employment Agency, well-known for helping people find a job and helping employers find an employee.
The Minister and Church Referral Service is to help preachers find employment and "the local church" institution to find an employee; that is, a "Pulpit Minister," "Youth Minister," or other classifications of professional ministers. And we have several different kinds of professional ministers in the modern Church of Christ. The Referral Service publishes two lists each month. One list gives names and addresses of "Ministers Seeking Employment." The other one is a list of "Churches Seeking Ministers" to employ! The lists cost $35 each. "Ministers and Churches may be listed free of charge." The purpose is the same as in the business world, to help the employer find a desirable, qualified employee· And to help the professional minister, of whatever kind, to find employment.
Preachers, like it or not, deny it if you will, but the modern preacher is an employee of the church! He is hired by the church, through its corporate officials, to do what the organization prescribes that he is to do. Many churches now provide a job description for the position. They usually request a resume, picture, and a tape of two or three sermons for review by those responsible for hiring the employee.
And many people think all of this is the Lord's way! The Church of Christ is following the denominations. And the end is not yet. I am sorry for our professional preachers.
·A New Kind of Minister: In the Church of Christ we find all kinds of professional ministers. One church in Dallas has eleven on its staff. There is the "Pulpit Minister" (and I have always wanted to see a job description for this position.) What in the name of Holy Scripture is a "Pulpit Minister"? Then there is the "Associate Pulpit Minister." Then others like the "Youth Minister," "Singles Minister," "Hospital Minister," "Minister for the Elderly," and the "Family Life Center Minister."
I saw a report in a recent Gospel Advocate of a nearby church announcing their new "Minister of Discipleship:" I acknowledge that I am not up-to-date on all our new-fangled practices and ministers, but what is a "Minister of Discipleship"? Also, maybe you can furnish me information or a job description for two other kinds of ministers. One is the "Minister of Involvement" and (this one is a lulu!) the "Minister of Concern:"
These job titles fascinate me with all sorts of possibilities of what could be made out of them; but I shall not here indulge myself in presenting some ludicrous ideas that come to mind. Is it possible that our people can be so ignorant of God's word as to think such things are any part of God's arrangement?
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