Marks of an Effective Church
CONCERN FOR ONE ANOTHER
• “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor” (Rom. 12:10).
• “Be of the same [lowly] mind toward one another” (Rom. 12:16).
• Do not judge one another, but determine not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way (Rom. 14:13).
• “Be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus” (Rom. 15:5).
• “Accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God” (Rom. 15:7).
• “Admonish one another” (Rom. 15:14).
• “Through love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13).
• “[Show] forbearance to one another in love” (Eph. 4:2).
• “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32).
• “Be subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (Eph. 5:21).
• “Regard one another as more important than himself” (Phil. 2:3).
• “Do not lie to one another” (Col. 3:9).
• Bear with one another and forgive each other (Col. 3:13).
• “Encourage one another, and build up one another” (1 Thess. 5:11).
• “Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another” (James 5:16).
• “Fervently love one another from the heart” (1 Peter 1:22).
• “Be hospitable to one another without complaint” (1 Peter 4:9).
• “Employ your spiritual gifts in serving one another” (1 Peter 4:10).
• “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another” (1 Peter 5:5).
That list alone is infinitely more valuable than all the volumes on marketing techniques and user-friendliness that have ever been written. Those are the qualities of the church Christ is building. Like the builder Himself, the church that puts those “one anothers” in practice will be a caring, sensitive, and loving church. Add to that the proper exercise of spiritual gifts (Rom. 12:3–8; 1 Cor. 12:4–11; and 1 Peter 4:10, 11), and what will be produced will be a community conformed to the very image of Christ. But it will not be conformed to the world.
A COMMITMENT TO THE FAMILY
BIBLICAL TEACHING AND PREACHING
The moment you begin to turn from preaching to these other expedients you will find yourself undergoing a constant series of changes. One of the advantages of being old is that you have experience, so when something new comes up, and you see people getting very excited about it, you happen to be in the position of being able to remember a similar excitement perhaps forty years ago. And so one has seen fashions and vogues and stunts coming one after another in the Church. Each one creates great excitement and enthusiasm and is loudly advertised as the thing that is going to fill the churches, the thing that is going to solve the problem. They have said that about every single one of them. But in a few years they have forgotten all about it, and another stunt comes along, or another new idea; somebody has hit upon the one thing needful or he has a psychological understanding of modern man. Here is the thing, and everybody rushes after it; but soon it wanes and disappears and something else takes its place.
This is, surely, a very sad and regrettable state for the Christian Church to be in, that like the world she should exhibit these constant changes of fashion. In that state she lacks the stability and the solidity and the continuing message that has ever been the glory of the Christian Church.
A WILLINGNESS TO CHANGE