Today on the way to church I flipped on the local Christian talk radio station to hear what was on. This particular morning there was a church service being broadcast for all to hear. I’m all for that if it is a good church service, sadly this was not. The first thing I heard was a girl say “I’m ________ and the youth have taken over the service today”…..yikes. It wasn’t the puritan in me that was ruffled by this; I’m convinced that there are essential things that churches should do to be able to honestly use the title church. 1) Preach the gospel faithfully from the scriptures each week (exegetically of course). 2) Have a correct view and administration of the ordinances (sorry Rome). 3) Practice church discipline. That really isn’t that much to ask although none of those things are easy to do. This particular “church service” didn’t faithfully proclaim the gospel from the pulpit (hence the quotation marks). They instead had youth giving testimonies and trying to explain Scripture…again yikes. I really appreciate the opportunity to have teenagers participate in the local congregation, but in the place of the proclamation of God’s Word during corporate worship is not that time. These students and older members of the church would have both benefited from these stories over a meal on a Wed night during fellowship, but not Sunday morning. Not only was this church forsaking the faithful preaching of the gospel of Christ on a Sunday morning the students were misusing scripture. You see, over a meal or during a week night gathering older, more mature Christians could have been encouraged by the students and the students could have been taught and discipled by the older Christians. However, this show ended up being a train wreck. It is sad that I can’t think of many churches in our area that fulfill any of these three criteria.
I could go on and on about this but I’ll stop. May we never cease striving to honor a holy God when we gather and may we continue praying for churches around us!