Integrity and Relationships vs Event-Sponsoring

Had an interesting email exchange about integrity in ministry. This is one of the most integrous people I’ve known—yet he’s concerned about “phoniness” in his own life and in churches he’s experienced. Good to stay concerned as it’s one of our best course correctors, keeping us on the right path.

My friend focused on his own experiences as a worship leader.

He said that once he felt he was doing it for wrong reasons, he stepped down. It was then that he realized he didn’t know the words to the songs. He only knew how to play them.

Playing the Right Role

Sometimes we play a role before others that is less than what we should be doing before God. It’s easy to run events in God’s name with little input from, or concern for, him. Someone recently told me that you could run a modern church without being a Christ-follower. I think they are right and here’s why…

I’ve watched people confuse church, the called out/called together followers of Christ for a “church service.” The former is a relationship between people and the Lord. The latter is an event.

Sadly, some well-meaning folks have fallen into the trap of planting a series of weekly church services rather than plant churches. These often fail because they lack the life of Christ. Worse than that, many succeed in building a platform for human ability. Our watching world takes a dim view of event-driven Christianity. We should do the same.

Doing Church Before Doing a Church Service

Two days ago my wife and I attended the kickoff service at Aloha Church, a”new-ish” congregation in San Diego. The pastor is a friend of mine named Dru Teves.

Why I say new-ish rather than new is that these people were a church launching their first weekend service that day. During the nine months that they met as a core team they had melded into a living relationship with Jesus and others. This was most evident in their obvious love for each other. They reflected love in the five meaningful conversations I enjoyed with people I had only just met. The production values for the service were good, but took a backseat to serious worship. The choice of songs had little to do with attracting outsiders as it was focused on pleasing God. I could go on…

Integrity, the Cross and Simplicity

My point is that integrity should draw us back to the cross and to the relative simplicity of the earliest churches.

I spend much of my life trying to motivate Christ-following leaders to mobilize people to multiply church. Its best that we get down with what we mean by that six-letter word. It should suggest people who are called out of the world to minister to the world. Not to imitate it. Some of us have our people so busy supporting events that they have little time for meaningful relationships in the church and precious few with those who need us most.

You could snoop on Aloha Church by clicking on . Beyond that, I’d like to hear what you think about what I just wrote. Please sound off in the comments box below.



5 thoughts on “Integrity and Relationships vs Event-Sponsoring”

  1. I totally agree. In 2013 (while on a mission trip to Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.), I had the privelage of visiting a few churches in the area. Since I was going to be there for a few months, I thought it was best to touch bases with either the senior pastors or youth leaders, to see what kind of support (not fiduciary) I could expect . I must preface the following statement with this), while all of the churches preached the gospel well, they were very heavily program based in terms of ministry. The pastors that would meet with me would wonder why my friends and I were having so much success, making inroads and developing relationships in areas where they could not. I tried to explain to them that we didn’t have a secret formula but sought, to deepen our relationships with God. That we first and foremost always strove to be right in our hearts before God. Then just love people the way God wanted us to. Then show others how to do that by taking them by the hand and walking them through life. How the Bible was our road map on how to live/think. People responded overwhelmingly well. We were conducting weekly bible studies and I quickly looked for the ones that would be good leaders and worked on developing them while encouraging everyone to draw closer to Jesus (through daily devotions, heartfelt prayer, fellowship, etc.). I made it mandatory for them to get out of their comfort zones and begin loving people throughout their week, then come back at the next bible and share with the group on their successes and failures. We would discuss what they experienced and pray, pray, pray. They didn’t know it but, I was discipling them and teaching them how to disciple others. That it was all based on our relationship with Jesus. To be filled with the love of God to overflowing. And it was the overflow that was touching others and changing lives. That it wasn’t us or anything new but, it was the Holy Spirit that was doing everything. I was teaching them how to disciple people one on one or two on one. Teaching them how to draw closer to God as well as how to teach others through example. To be living examples of our faith. Well, it didn’t go over very well. In some cases, I was politely asked not to come back or even to speak with their youth (18 – 24 yr olds) at all. I later found out that in one church, their youth were threatened with excommunication if they listened to what I was saying. A lot more interesting things happened but, Ill suffice it to say that I totally agree with Pastor Ralph. Ive seen it myself.

  2. Since stepping down as a Sr. Pastor almost 7 years ago, I have visited many, many churches in my area (Portland, Oregon). I have seen that, too often, the largest churches are the ones who ask the least of their members. Instead of making disciples and pressing people to follow hard after God, they make it easy, too easy, to come and sit in the back and leave unmoved and unchanged.
    Of course, this happens in churches both large and small. The larger ones, though, seem to do it intentionally with a philosophy that making it a comfortable place to not just come but to reside is the path to growth. The smaller ones just don’t seem to know how to challenge and awaken people, so it doesn’t happen.
    Nearly all of them strive for the well oiled, smooth machine–but whether they succeed at it or not, as you said, it is not necessarily changing lives.

  3. I loved what you’ve shared. I’m a marketplace ministry creating an opportunity for churches to come and share their church, opportunity for leaders and associates to share, worship teams to worship not to entertain but to worship in the marketplace to an audience of One. In the beginning, there were worship leaders asking how many people do you expect. My answer would be who ever God sends. If you’re looking at numbers, maybe this isn’t for you. I agree about teams being so busy with church projects, that they’re unable to touch those that have walked away or don’t know Jesus yet. Our mission field is here. There is so many that are lost. When we realize that our ministry is to Jesus…it’s possible to work with each other, help each other and even minister together. The Glory is to God…and pray that we all press into Him, listen and follow His instructions…you won’t go wrong. Keep sharing! God bless you! Pastor Ralph

  4. Absolutely right, Pastor Ralph! I’ve attended and participated in a couple other churches (church services) since being a member of Hope Chapel Kaneohe and have come to realize that church, at these others are mainly “events” meant to draw people in but not truly disciple those same people.

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