How to Find A Good Church?

So you are looking for a new church?  This is a common issue.  So what do you look for in a church? As a pastor I am always shocked or surprised about how Christians go about looking for a church.  Most of the time it is very self centered!  I am sure I could write a whole blog on reasons why people join a church.  Instead of looking at the negative side, I would like to focus on applicable ways to truly find a TRUE church in your area!

find a church

1.  You Must Plan

When looking for a job, a wife, a source of entertainment there is always a plan!  At your future job you may ask questions like how much money am I will to be paid minimum?  What hours would I be willing to work?  What are the benefits?  Is there are retirement program?  What is the insurance like?

These are all great questions to be asked.  And probably MUST be asked.  We would ask like questions in regards to our marriage  and entertainment choices. We would study things out before we jump into a situation we do not want to be in.  We make a diligent and disciplined effort to make sure we are making the right choice.

However, when it comes to make one of the MOST important choices of your life,we do not have a plan of action!  So here are a few thoughts on how to make a plan.

  • Know What You Believe
  • Write a Formal Written Plan
  • Make Sure You Know What the Non-Negotiables Are

Understanding these 3 points is really important to your success in finding a church.  Make sure you keep the MAIN things the MAIN thing.  Too often people make the main things the negotiable, and their own personal preferences the NON-negotiables!  These people are plaguing themselves with churches that will falter on the True teaching of God’s Word.  These churches often focus more on Man centered worship than Christ centered worship.

2.  You Must Use Tools

 

Talk to your neighbors or get on the internet!  These are VALUABLE resources and cannot be neglected.  If you talk to your neighbors and they do not have a church, it makes it a GREAT transition to share with them the Gospel.

The internet is such a valuable tool…that is if the church has a website.  You can often listen to sermons or music from their church, and get an overall feel of what they are like.  However, in some cases this should not be your final decision maker.  Often the websites are very basic in information.  You may be able to get a general idea of doctrine, but the overall atmosphere is something that can ONLY be understood through walking through the front door.

 

3.  You Must Be Diligent

Treat finding a church like you would finding a job.  This church is going to be your spiritual influence!  You need to make sure that you leave not stone left unturned.  At the same time, make sure that you do not just visit one week and make that your church!  Visit several churches, and visit them multiple times.

 

4.  Make it a TOP Priority

Choosing a True church is NOT a small thing.  And it is not necessarily easy!  We must understand what the purpose of church is!  It is for the strengthening of ourselves through the GENUINE preaching of the Gospel.  The Word of God is something that needs to be the center of the church.  If the Word of God is not being preaching, opened, or expounded than you are not going to be stretched like you should!
If you are more focused on programs than the preaching of the Word of God, you will end up in a church that is shallow and will not teach you to stretch yourself spiritually.  The goal of a Christian and going to church is too stretch themselves to be more like Christ. It is not a social gathering and it is NOT about entertainment.  Do not exchange TRUTH for entertainment.

 

 

For more information on Carbon Valley Bible Church please go to cvbiblechurch.com or call 303-736-9959

 

 

 

 

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Firestone Baptist Church will be doing a series on the Book of the Revelation

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Come for a great Bible Study on the book of the Revelation.  We will see through our study on what the 2 themes are as well as what will happen next in our historical timeline.  This will be a great time to understand what the BIble teaches about the things that will be yet to come!  We look forward to seeing you starting on Sunday April 7, 2013 at 10AM.

Looking for an Easter service in Firestone, Frederick, or Dacono Colorado?

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Come join us then at 9AM for breakfast!

10AM for a wonderful time as we celebrate the resurrection of our Wonderful Savior!

For more information on Carbon Valley Bible Church please go to cvbiblechurch.com or call 303-736-9959

or call 303-736-9959.

Is Gay the New Black?

It’s hard to deny that homosexual marriage appears to be a foregone conclusion in America. This is a frightening prospect not only for those of us who understand marriage to be a testimony of the relationship between Christ and his bride, the church, but also for all who value the family and its contribution to the well-being of society and human thriving. And while it’s difficult to watch a coordinated, well-funded, well-connected propaganda strategy undermine thousands of years of human history, it’s especially disconcerting to witness the use of the civil rights struggle as the vehicle for the strategy.

The idea that same-sex “marriage” is the next leg in the civil rights race is ubiquitous. One of the clearest examples of the conflation of homosexual “marriage” and civil rights is Michael Gross’s article in The Advocate, in which he coins the now-popular phrase “Gay is the new black.”1 Gross is not alone in his conflation of the two issues, however. At a 2005 banquet, Julian Bond, former head of the NAACP, said, “Sexual disposition parallels race. I was born this way. I have no choice. I wouldn’t change it if I could. Sexuality is unchangeable.”2

Nor is this kind of thinking exclusive to the political left. When asked by GQ magazine if he thought homosexuality was a choice, Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, replied:

Oh, no. I don’t think I’ve ever really subscribed to that view, that you can turn it on and off like a water tap. Um, you know, I think that there’s a whole lot that goes into the makeup of an individual that, uh, you just can’t simply say, oh, like, “Tomorrow morning I’m gonna stop being gay.” It’s like saying, “Tomorrow morning I’m gonna stop being black.”3

Even the California Supreme Court bought in to this line of reasoning. In a February 2008 decision they reasoned:

Furthermore, in contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual’s sexual orientation—like a person’s race or gender—does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights.4 (emphasis added)

The California Supreme Court, like Gross, would have us believe that the homosexual struggle for a redefinition of marriage puts them in the same category as my ancestors. However, they would rather you didn’t take a closer look, lest you see how flimsy the comparison turns out to be.

Unidentifiable Minority

The first problem with the idea of conflating “sexual orientation” and race is the fact that homosexuality is undetectable apart from self-identification. Determining whether or not a person is black, Native American, or female usually involves no more than visual verification. However, should doubt remain, blood tests, genetics, or a quick trip up the family tree would suffice. Not so with homosexuality. There is no evidence that can confirm or deny a person’s claims regarding sexual orientation.5

Moreover, the homosexual community itself has made this identification even more complicated in an effort to distance itself from those whose same-sex behavior they find undesirable. The Jerry Sandusky case is a prime example. Sandusky is accused of molesting numerous young boys during and after his tenure at Penn State. However, try placing the label “homosexual” on his activities and the backlash will be swift and unequivocal. “Pedophiles are not homosexuals!” is the consistent refrain coming from the homosexual community, media, academia, and the psychological/medical establishment.6

Hence, it seems same-sex attraction alone isn’t enough to identify a person as a homosexual. And what about LUGSin college, or same-sex relationships in prison? Are these people homosexual? How about men who are extremely effeminate but prefer women, or those who once were practicing homosexuals but have since come out of the lifestyle (i.e., 1 Cor. 6:9-11)? In short, it’s impossible to identify who is or is not a homosexual. As a result, how do we know to whom the civil rights in question should be attributed? Should a man who isn’t a homosexual (assuming we could determine such a thing) but tries to enter a same-sex union be treated the same as a woman who isn’t Native American but tries to claim it to win sympathy, or casino rights, or votes?

But this isn’t the only problem with the civil rights angle.

Unalterable Definition

An additional problem with the “gay is the new black” argument is the complete disconnect between same-sex “marriage” and anti-miscegenation laws. First, there is a categorical disconnect. Miscegenation literally means “the interbreeding of people considered to be of different racial types.” Ironically, the fact that homosexuals cannot “interbreed” shines a spotlight on the problem inherent in their logic. How can forbidding people who actually have the ability to interbreed be the same thing as acknowledging the fact that two people categorically lack that ability?8

Second, there is a definitional disconnect. The very definition of marriage eliminates the possibility of including same-sex couples. The word marriage has a long and well-recorded history; it means “the union of a man and a woman.” Even in cultures that practice polygamy, the definition involves a man and several women. Therefore, while anti-miscegenation laws denied people a legitimate right, the same cannot be said concerning the denial of marriage to same-sex couples; one cannot be denied a right to something that doesn’t exist.

It should be noted that the right to marry is one of the most frequently denied rights we have. People who are already married, 12-year-olds, and people who are too closely related are just a few categories of people routinely and/or categorically denied the right to marry. Hence, the charge that it is wrong to deny any person a “fundamental right” rings hollow. There has always been, and, by necessity, will always be discrimination in marriage laws.

To Continue Reading this article Click HERE

Why the Future of Pastors is Bi-Vocational!

After reading a recent article on church planting and bi-vocational pastors, of which I will link at the bottom, I have to say not only do I see this trend happening in church planting, but I see this happening everywhere in established churches.  Right now the economy is so bad many college graduates are not even going into their career field because of the lack of experience that those careers require.  Also, the average college graduate has en estimated $30K-$100K of debt depending on how far they go in their education.  This is obviously effecting giving to the church.

With economy getting worse and people giving less to the church, I see that the 20% of the people who are giving 80% of the money has now slimmed down to about 10% of the people giving 80% of the money.  This change will greatly effect the position of the full time assistant pastor as well as the full time senior pastor.

ImageBecause of economics, there are more and more church’s that are no longer able to support the assistant pastor role.  Many of my colleagues that hold this position are now having to get a second job so that they can still be in the ministry but pay the bills.  I also know a significant amount of them that are going to be completely bi-vocational.  If economy tends to go this route, the idea of a full time assistant will be something of the past within 5-7 years.  It is not that the churches cannot afford it, but rather that the people are giving less and spending more outside the church.

With that in mind, this also puts pressure on the position of the senior pastor.  I know several pastors within the last couple of years that have received no increase in pay.  There have also been several who have had their pay cut and drastically.  Some of them have had a 35%-50% decrease in pay.

Where does this leave the church? and where does it leave the pastor? Well again it leads us to the question of where should a pastor focus his long term goals and where should the church focus its money?

This creates a real problem, especially for the older generation of pastors.  My estimate is that the next 15 years there will be very few full time senior pastors.  This is devastating to think that the future of the church will limit the ability for the full time pastor. Most pastors go to college and get their education solely in ministry.  They have no skills or trade that they can fall back onto if the economy continues to fall the way it is.

Colleges and Seminaries need to recalculate their thinking on how their philosophy on training preachers is going to have to change.  They need to redirect some of their training to teaching these young men skills and trades because they most likely will have to become Bi-Vocational.

What Should The Pastor Do Now?

This is a BIG question, of which I will not going fully in detail, but I will give a general guideline on necessary steps.

Giving in the Church

First, it is important to address the idea of giving in the church in general. The stigma is that the pastor always preaches on giving.  I find however, that because of that stigma, the topic of giving rarely gets talked about. Preach it!  because it is in the Bible and it is important! Do not worry about the stigma, preach the full council of God’s Word.

Secondly, it is important to understand a proper concept of giving to missions.  Unfortunately the church has a terrible concept of missions!  What the church does not understand, is that their first mission field is what is in their own back yard!

Acts 1:8 teaches us to understand, focus, love, and have compassion for the souls that are in your own backyard.  Your church is in the middle of a mission field.  However, the concept of reaching those who are in your own backyard is significantly lacking.  The reason being is that we expect the unsaved world to come crashing through our door on Sunday!  We expect the unsaved world to feel comfortable with coming to church.  The problem is that the church was NEVER meant for unsaved people.  God designed the church for the Believer to be encouraged and edified, to worship and glorify.  It is for iron sharpening iron.

We make all kinds of activities inside the walls of our church of which we invite many unsaved people to and expect them to hang around and be comfortable here at our church.  This will never happen.  God teaches us to be IN the world but not OF the world.  If we are going to effectively reach the lost, we MUST go where they are at.  This does not mean that we have to go into sin and live like the publican and heathen.

The fall out rate of people coming to the church to hear the Gospel, getting saved, and truly getting discipled is ridiculously high.  How you get them is how you keep them. If you do not constantly put those type of “activities” on for them, they will not likely stay around. If you properly disciple them before they get saved, they will not feel uncomfortable once they get saved to want to come to church.  There is a pattern of progression in discipleship and it starts before the person ever accepts Christ as their Savior.

If this concept is acted upon, the people will understand more the value of giving.  If they get a passion for their relationship with Christ, and a passion for seeing souls won to the Lord locally, the churches will grow.  As the churches grow, so will the budget.

Local Missions VS. Foreign Missions

Why is it that we get all excited about foreign missions planting churches, but here in America church planting is a foreign concept and something that is not practiced.  We have churches who have 200+ people who never have planted a church, never have thought about planting a church, and have absolutely no desire to plant churches.  Because of this our giving to missions is completely unbiblical.  And unfortunately this also means that our concept of missions is also completely unbliclical.  I believe God LOVES local church planting.  I believe that God does not like big churches as we see when God allowed persecution to come to Jerusalem in the book of Acts.  God used this persecution to scatter the Christians abroad. They ended up all throughout Judea, of which God told them to do originally in Acts 1:8.

We expect a local church planter to be indigenous in 2-3 years.  Now this potentially may happen in the East, but in the West this is a totally foreign concept.  Churches supporting church planters here in America typically have a limited giving to a church planter.  However, statistically a church plant in the West takes 7-8 years to establish a good foundation to potentially become indigenous.  If this state does not happen, those churches drop the support and then the pastor of the church plant is then expected to become bi-vocational.  This can become a detriment to a church plant.  When a church, the elders, and the congregation get a true love and heart for whats in their backyard, then they can have a true heart for foreign missions.

I know this, because of the few churches that supported us during our first few years, the majority of them dropped us after the third year.  I am not saying this in bitterness, but merely to point out the common thought process of established churches in America.  Most of these churches and pastors have never planted a church and therefore do not understand the difficulty of planting churches.

The reason why I mention this is because the concept of local missions is something that is not talked about, it is not acted upon.  When the going gets tough, the church would rather cut the salary of the pastor, then cut the salary of the missionaries.  If you do not have a pastor, eventually you will not have church and you will ultimately not have missionaries to support.  The order of giving needs to be reversed.  Make sure the pastor is supplied so that he will be able to minister to the church without the burden of looking for a second job.   Many pastors do not feel that they are able to minister the way that they feel like they could because they are constantly barely breathing from paycheck to paycheck.  The other aspect is that long term, they have very little to invest in retirement or none at all.  After a recent survey only about 6% of pastor have something for retirement.

The Bi-Vocational Pastor

Finally, pastors need to understand that most likely this economic crisis is going to happen.  There is a significant evidence in our own churches, that the people are not giving as much as they did even 10 years ago. Since this is potentially going to happen, I would encourage you to consider starting a business, building a trade, and building your skills.  The reason why I say starting a business as opposed to working a job, is that this gives you flexibility, but it also gives you the ability to impact your community by getting into their homes.  This is something that you also need to start encouraging your young men in your church who are considering going into the ministry.  If these thoughts are started now, you will be ahead of the game when this financial collapse starts to significantly pick up pace in the next few years.

I have had some lay people and other Christians who have been angry at me for this idea for taking the pastor away from the ministry. However, it comes down to the thought of knowing why you believe what you believe.  It is very obvious from Scripture that many if not all of the apostles had a business. Paul was a tent maker, Peter was a fisherman, Luke was a physician.  Paul had to sell tents, and most likely was able to impact more people’s life for the Lord, because of the tent making business he had.

The other aspect is that this does not have to be separate from the ministry, but very much a part of the ministry.  You are able to because of your business be able to impact, disciple, witness, and shepherd the people that God has allowed in our lives.

What Should the Church Do from Here

This is simple.  Develop a biblical philosophy of missions, giving, and giving to missions.  Your first priority is your church and giving to it.  Your second priority is then giving to missions.  But if you do not establish the first priority eventually you will not have the ability to give to the second priority.

One of the biggest things for a church to do is get involved in local church planting.  Not by just giving financially to church planting, but to physically establish a local church out of their church.  To take 30 or so people from their church and physically establish a new church plant.  The concept of the local church has completely been disregarded in our modern Christian society. Develop that passion for souls right in your own neighborhood.  Reach those people in your own neighborhood.  Lead those souls in your own neighborhood to Christ. And finally get those new converted souls to a “local” Bible believing and preaching church.

The church has become more of a social gathering that a place of true worship, true spiritual edification, and true ministry.  More people are looking to “fellowship” over food and conversation about their hobbies, than for them to really seek each other out and bear one another’s burdens.

Conclusion

There are some churches that will be able to maintain a full time pastor if they can establish a true biblical philosophy in giving and giving to missions. However, the smaller churches, of which I would estimate those church to have a congregation of 250, will have to completely remodel their church philosophy and the pastor himself will have really evaluate the idea of a bi-vocational pastor.

If you have a true and proper concept of local missions and local church, this whole dilemma maybe completely avoided. Again, if you do not have a true love for what is local to you, how then can you ever develop a heart for foreign missions.

Here is the article on the Bi-Vocational Church Planter click HERE

For information on college debt go HERE

For more information about our church go to CVBibleChurch.com