Question: What do you think churches should talk more about, but don’t?
This here is a very interesting question. It’s actually one that I ask myself often. It’s also one that people talk about often. There will be critics out there who pointed churches, and say you’re not teaching this or you’re not teaching that. It would be easy for me to jump on that bandwagon, and to be honest, I have probably done so too many times. Let’s turn to the Word though and see what it says.
There is quite a bit in Scripture that is talked about as pertains to pastors, sometimes called bishops, and or elders. These are people who God has equipped to feed His sheep. Sometimes referred to as gifts, but I think that can be misleading. If I were to look at it wrong, I would say I am gifted to do this or that. The truth is, the gift is for the people, the minister is simply a vessel. Recently, while my wife and I were traveling, we were stopped at a railroad crossing as we waited for a train to pass. It took quite a while for this train to pass, and I was a little bit annoyed as most people probably would be. As I sit here, now, I smile as my annoyance becomes an example. That train had many different kinds of train cars with what I am assuming must’ve been a lot of different kinds of cargo. The cargo was what mattered not the train. The train was important as long as it was carrying the cargo, but it was the cargo that made the train important. The same thing goes with the gifts in the body of Christ.
What we partake of when we come to church is the gifts that God has placed among us however they will manifest. When it comes to the preaching, a very specific gift, there is much instruction on it. 2 Timothy 4:1-4 (NASB) says, “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” Jesus instructed Peter, “If you love Me, feed My sheep.” We as pastors are called to feed God’s people with the Word. When you are feeding people, you seek out what they need. Before I prepare any sermon I seek the Lord, “Father, what do your people need.” Sure sometimes I just know, but I still seek Him as well.
I say all that because each church has different needs but all of their answers revolve around the Word. With that understanding, what should be taught in churches can vary at different times. Sometimes there is a need for more emphasis in one area than another, depending on where the church is, what the people are going through, and what’s happening in society as a whole. Different people are bound by different things and so their needs can vary quite greatly. In the book of Revelation, chapters two and three, we see the letters to the seven churches of Asia minor. Each message pertains specifically to each church, and it seems as though they had their strengths and weaknesses.
As a whole, to answer your question more specifically, I think that the most important thing to teach is what we are commanded to teach by Jesus Himself, and that is the Gospel. To understand what the Gospel is is very basic, it literally means good news. The good news of Jesus Christ is that we were lost sinners, without any hope, and Jesus came and saved us and brought us back to God. I believe that every Christian should have a firm understanding of this and know how to share that with everybody. There are a lot of doctrines that are important, but this is the greatest need in every place. Sure there are times when we will share things that are less important in churches, but we have to keep what’s most important at the top of the list.
The aspects of our faith are incredibly important for us to understand, but I have seen that the foundations of our faith, the simplicity of the message of the Cross, seems to be lost on too many people. Many Christians have been so consumed with self-help that they have forgotten that we have been commanded to take love and truth to the world. Too many of God’s people are so focused on what they know that they cannot relate to those who know nothing about God. They are supposed to be the salt of the Earth and the light of His glory, and yet when dealing with the world, they leave bitterness in the mouths of unbelievers.
We need to teach truth, but we need to know how to do it in love. If we are not winning the lost, we are not fulfilling the most basic call of our entire faith. If the focus is on what we get, and what we want, we will miss every true opportunity of following Christ. With that said, there are many things that need to be taught to help people be equipped to share the gospel, and I believe that it is important for every leader, to seek God and get what is needed to be delivered in order to do so. Teaching people how to live godly, desiring His plan, is the greatest need in the Body of Christ. Though that can look different at times, if our focus always points back to Him, we can’t be that far off!