A Live Church Or A Dead One?

Written by Stephen Kingery

Have you ever stopped to consider what kind of church your congregation is alive or dead? Does your congregation put forthrepparttar sense of one that is alive in its service to and worship of God? Or does your congregation put forthrepparttar 143605 sense that it is just hanging on, waiting forrepparttar 143606 last nail to be driven intorepparttar 143607 "coffin?" I would like to suggest some characteristics of a church that is alive, on fire for God. And then contrast that withrepparttar 143608 characteristics of a church that is dying.

Live churches are constantly changing. They are not changingrepparttar 143609 message inrepparttar 143610 Bible, for that never changes. They do not switch from one new fad doctrine to another every timerepparttar 143611 "spiritual wind" changes. NO, that is not what I mean. However, our society is changing. Anyone who pays any attention at all torepparttar 143612 world around us knows this is true. Inrepparttar 143613 early part of this centuryrepparttar 143614 church wasrepparttar 143615 focal point ofrepparttar 143616 family and even of society in many areas. I fully agree that it should be thus today, butrepparttar 143617 fact remains that it is no longer true. Forrepparttar 143618 Christian it should be true. But for many of them it is no longer true. People no longer flock torepparttar 143619 church for that social interaction.

The church must reach out torepparttar 143620 community andrepparttar 143621 lost. We must learn to leaverepparttar 143622 four corners of our sanctuary and seek out those whom Jesus commanded us to, and do what He said. "Go therefore and make disciples of allrepparttar 143623 nations, baptizing them inrepparttar 143624 name ofrepparttar 143625 Father and ofrepparttar 143626 Son and ofrepparttar 143627 Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19) That may mean doing things just a little differently than we have inrepparttar 143628 past. It may mean that we take "the church" back intorepparttar 143629 home with small group Bible Study. I may mean that we develop "family circles" with several families that have some things in common so they can relate to each other. It may mean that we start "ministering" to those who have been divorced, are one-parent families,repparttar 143630 homeless, and yes evenrepparttar 143631 homosexuals and other undesirables. It may mean that we not only feedrepparttar 143632 hungry but also minister to them as well.

Changing may also mean that our worship service changes from one which is rigid, alwaysrepparttar 143633 same Sunday after Sunday after Sunday; to one which is more joyous. It may change from one with "stone faces" to one with Christians smiling and singing and praising God. It may mean that our worship services are exciting and full of variety. It may mean that asrepparttar 143634 congregation leavesrepparttar 143635 worship service they have more joy in their hearts and a spring in their step because they know they have been inrepparttar 143636 presence of God!

Dead churches don't have to change. All they have to do to remain a dead church, is NOTHING! Dead churches don't have to improve forrepparttar 143637 future, they just worship their past.

Live churches have lots of noisy kids! After all, kids will be noisy. What do lots of kids indicate? It indicates thatrepparttar 143638 church has lots of families that are inrepparttar 143639 child-bearing years - twenty to forty year-olds. Why is this important? Ifrepparttar 143640 church is to thrive, it must contain a significant proportion of these families. Older families no longer have young children. Ifrepparttar 143641 church is mostly older families, who will continue asrepparttar 143642 families begin to go on to be withrepparttar 143643 Lord? Dead churches don't have lots of noisy kids, dead churches are fairly quiet!

Live church's expenses will most likely exceed their income. But that is where faith comes in. A church that is alive will seek new ways to minister torepparttar 143644 people, not regardingrepparttar 143645 cost in money. We must do our part inrepparttar 143646 kingdom. God will providerepparttar 143647 finances to do that job!

There is a principle in strategic planning called, "Cost - Benefit Analysis." In other words, when a plan of action is under consideration,repparttar 143648 cost of that plan must be considered in relation torepparttar 143649 benefits which will be received from that plan of action. Inrepparttar 143650 business world andrepparttar 143651 world of education, I agree that this is a good practice. But inrepparttar 143652 church? How can we put a "Cost-Benefit Analysis" torepparttar 143653 winning of one soul? How much does it cost to win a soul to Christ? Does it matter? Christ certainly did not put that principle in His Great Commission! How much does it cost to minister to one-parent families? Does that matter? How much does it cost to feedrepparttar 143654 poor? Does that matter? Now please don't misunderstand me! I am not suggesting thatrepparttar 143655 church go on a spending spree that would put Howard Hughes (if he were still alive) inrepparttar 143656 poor house. Let's be good stewards ofrepparttar 143657 money God provides, but let's step out on faith to do His work.


Written by Stephen Kingery

"And forrepparttar next four and a half hours, I felt my son thrash around violently while he was being choked, poisoned, burned and suffocated to death. I didn't know any of that was going to happen. And I remember talking to him and I remember telling him I didn't want to do this, and I wished he could live and that his mommy loved him and that I was sorry. I prayed that he understood and that someday, he would learn to forgive me, if he could! And yet he was dying and there was nothing I could do to save him. I remember my son's very last kick. He had no strength left to fight." (From a letter byrepparttar 143604 Ohio Right To Life Society)

The thoughts of a mother as she experiencesrepparttar 143605 brutal and gruesome saline abortion of her son can only begin to showrepparttar 143606 agony of abortion. This mother was having second thoughts, but she was helpless to stoprepparttar 143607 killing. The anguish she must have felt was tremendous. But can you imaginerepparttar 143608 pain that her son was going through? He was literally being scalded to death. This letter fromrepparttar 143609 Ohio Right To Life Society continues, "In a saline abortion, a concentrated salt solution is injected intorepparttar 143610 sac of fluid that surrounds and protectsrepparttar 143611 baby. The mother can feelrepparttar 143612 baby thrash about for hours asrepparttar 143613 corrosive salt poisons and burnsrepparttar 143614 baby alive, inside and out. The mother actually goes into labor and delivers a dead or dying baby."

In America today we, as Christians, wring our hands and shake our heads and agonize overrepparttar 143615 violence we see on television, on our streets and in our schools. Yet,repparttar 143616 violence in these places is NOTHING compared torepparttar 143617 violence that goes on day after day inrepparttar 143618 hundreds of abortion clinics all across America. You and I have not only accepted this violence as a way of life (or death forrepparttar 143619 baby) but we sit idly by and watchrepparttar 143620 President ofrepparttar 143621 United States FIGHT to make abortion available to everyone (including children) and to be paid for and supported byrepparttar 143622 tax dollars WE send to Washington.

Is it any wonder that so many people in our nation consider life to be cheap. Why would we expect thatrepparttar 143623 life of a teacher who is shot and killed in her classroom to be more valuable than that of a helpless baby inrepparttar 143624 "safety" of his mother's womb. Why is it a crime for a person to shoot and kill an abortionist as he leaves his abortion clinic and not a crime for that abortionist to kill eight, ten or more helpless babies each day? Was his life MORE VALUABLE thanrepparttar 143625 babies that he killed that day? Now please don't misunderstand me! I do not advocate killing anyone abortionists included. I simply do not see why we can accept that it IS a crime to kill a person who is an adult and NOT a crime to kill a person just because that person has not had an opportunity to grow in his or her mother's womb torepparttar 143626 point that he or she can be born. If one is a crime, thenrepparttar 143627 other is as well!

The thing that amazes merepparttar 143628 most is that this crime of abortion has been legalized in America and WE have just accepted it. America is supposed to be a Christian nation. Now I know we are tolerant of other religious beliefs, and I fully support that. Nonetheless, this nation was founded on Christian principles and we have been proud of that fact for over 200 years. But killing innocent unborn babies byrepparttar 143629 millions is not a Christian principle and WE should not sit idly by and watch it happen.

Before you start talking to yourself and saying, "Oh I know it happens in America, but it can't be that bad.", let me give you some statistics which were provided to me byrepparttar 143630 Ohio Right To Life Society.

Abortions inrepparttar 143631 United States

* Over 4,300 abortions performed daily * Over 1,600,000 abortions performed in 1988 * 6,749 teenagers under 15 had abortions in 1989 * 196,112 teenagers 15-19 had abortions in 1989 * Over 28 million abortions from 1973 to 1991 * From 744,600 in 1973 to 1,600,000 in 1991

It's not that bad? EXACTLY how many innocent babies do we have to have killed each year before we Christians will say, "Ok, now it's bad." How many innocent babies must die before we will start saying to our congressmen, senators and presidents "Look, I don't care what your politics are, I WILL NOT VOTE FOR YOU if you support legal abortions!" Ifrepparttar 143632 Christians inrepparttar 143633 country would stand united, abortion would become a crime (as it should) in very short order.

The abortion issue is notrepparttar 143634 only indication that things have gone awry in America. Below are other statistics provided byrepparttar 143635 Ohio Right To Life Society which showrepparttar 143636 alarming rise in all sorts of evil.

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