Jesus Speaks to the American Church


Marvelous Marv Gerbig(The following is a GUEST BLOG POST written by our friend Marv Gerbig in Illinois, senior pastor at Wyoming 1st Church of the Nazarene in Wyoming, Illinois. Marv wrote this in response to my challenge posted on Facebook to identify “Seven Survival Tactics for Thriving Churches.” Thank you Marv for sharing…)

“I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ~Revelation 2:2, 11

This is what I commend you for:

You have excelled in education. You have studied and gone very deep into my Word. Your system of education in the Church is unparalleled in all of Church history. Anyone who desires to go deep into the Word of God can fill their desire in your churches. You educate believers.

Nevertheless, I have a few things against you:

You have taken your educational system in the churches and made it a stumbling block for the sheep of my fold. Especially when it comes to Sunday School, you have made learning the Word of God difficult. You have taken too much authority from me, Jesus, as the Teacher. Have you forgotten what I said? “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah” (Matthew 23:8-10). Too many of my people feel as if they need the church to tell them what the scriptures mean. You have created a dependent church and have made people think they cannot learn from me directly.

This is what I commend you for:

Your leaders have been highly educated and somewhat trained.

Nevertheless, I have a few things against you:

You have created a professional office of ministry that only those who are of a certain learning ability can achieve. While you may think this is a way to qualify those called into ministry, you have created a system that is not duplicable. If the leaders of the church were to be taken out, your churches would cease to exist. How do you read Acts? My church, from the beginning, was not dependent on professional leaders. If a leader was taken out, the church could not be stopped!!

This is what I commend you for:

You have taken into account how I created believers to understand my Word as they age. Your ministry by age group is truly amazing as far as it goes.

Nevertheless, I have a few things against you:

Yet, you have segregated the generations from each other. No longer do my people congregate together as families, but rather on Sunday morning we look like the age-segregated secular world I am saving you from. Separating families from the time they enter into your churches until the time they leave is not my command. If my servant Paul were to see your world today, could he tell the difference between an elementary school and your church?

Creating age barriers is not my heart. Take a look at all the churches in America that are filled with seniors and no young people in the service. That is the fruit of generational segregation. Repent.

Your desire to build the church is admirable. You have many ways of attracting people and attempting to lead them to me. Yet, did I not say that I will build the church on your faith (Matthew 16)? Why have you tried to do my job? Did I not command you to “go and make disciples”? Why then do you try to get people “saved” when I told you to disciple them? I am Lord! I am the Savior! You are my friends and servants and your mission is to teach obedience in everything I have taught you. Yet, I see no obedience training anywhere in your churches. You have educated believers, but not many true disciples that understand how to be disciple makers.

My heart grieves as I see the American Church look more and more like the Gnostics. Prepare for the last days. Again, look at the Great Commission as I gave it to you in Matthew 28, and GO, MAKE DISCIPLES, for I am the Lord your God—and I expect obedience from you.

(Rod’s Comment: And so, dear brothers and sisters, please feel free to chime in with your own thoughts! May we listen continually to the still small voice of our Lord. And may we glorify him in all we do!)

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