home > Pastor’s Desk > 2022 > August 5th > The Kind of Church That Super Successful Christians Really Need To Join


Spare a thought for those people who are often overlooked by churches—and if they are Christians—they frequently struggle to even find a suitable church where they can deepen their relationship with Christ. Often we think of those who struggle with life as those who are “down and out” and blighted by impoverishment, or destitution, or ill-health, or family breakdown, or poor mental health. But surprisingly, even those who are seen as super-successful because of their wealth, social stature, public acclaim or amazing achievements, are actually struggling with loneliness, emptiness, and poor mental health — even if they are a Christian. These super-successful Christians are CEOs of large companies, or world-class or national sporting champions, or internationally renowned performing artists, or A-lister actors, or media personalities, or highly sought after professionals such as surgeons or barristers. They often pay a high price for their success, including, long work hours, constant stress, public criticism, extended time away from their families, fierce competition, and strained marriages. These pressures are exacerbated by their constant travel associated with their work which also makes them vulnerable to exhaustion and extraordinary temptations. This is why these super-successful Christians need to join the kind of church that can provide them with the kind of support, counsel, and accountability that every Christian needs. Here’s how a church can become this kind of church.   

¶ For consider your calling, brothers:
not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,
not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
First Corinthians 1:26

 

WHAT EVERY CHRISTIAN FINDS IN BELONGING IN A CHURCH

Based on what Jesus said in John 13:34-35, you can not consider yourself a follower of Christ – a Christian – and not belong to a local  church. The establishment of the Church was the central the furtherance of Christ’s redemptive mission (Mtt. 16:18; 18:17). When the apostle Paul wrote his explanation of the gospel to the Romans in which he explained how someone could become a Christian, he concluded with a “Therefore” List in Romans 12:9-21. His Therefore List includes 27 things every Christian is expected to do since repenting and putting their faith in the Saviour. None of them, and I repeat none of them, is possible without belonging in a local church.

As a church we pray a lot for the hurting, lost, lonely, and broken to come to Christ and find salvation, forgiveness soul-cleansing and healing, acceptance, and restoration. We rejoice that over and over again God has answered our prayers. We have welcomed into our church family many people who had formally lost hope and who had thought that their life no longer mattered to anyone. But each of these converts to Christ would tell you that this is no longer the case. They have experienced the power of the Holy Spirit who has  transformed (and is transforming) them into a new identity as a son or daughter of God the Father. They have also found unconditional love and acceptance from, and in, our church family. Many these trophies of God’s grace would testify that their lives had hit rock bottom before they turned to Christ. But for many super-successful Christians, this is not their story.

Some of the godliest people I know are also super-successful Christians. In my experience, the statement by Christ about a rich person finding it difficult to accept that they are spiritually bankrupt, corrupted by sin, and in need of the Saviour, has been verified over and over again (Mark 10:23). Nearly all of these super-successful Christians were Christians before they became super-successful. As such, they have been discipled into the virtues of humility and teachability which they have continued to cultivate. Most of them are very committed to their local churches and have become accustomed to making sacrifices in their careers in order to maintain their walk with Christ and service within their church. They have found immeasurable value in belonging to their local church.

 

WHY EVERY CHRISTIAN NEEDS TO BELONG IN A CHURCH
– EVEN THE SUPER SUCCESSFUL

These benefits of a believer belonging in a local church include:

  • It is their spiritual ‘home’ where they can be nourished, fed, relax, learn, and connect with their church family.
  • It is their refuge, a haven, and a sanctuary, where they are safe.
  • It is their reminder that they are not alone, and the GOD cares for people who are different, and so should we.

Because a local church is like:

  • a garden, a green-house, a plant nursery – for propagating and planting (Psalm 1:3; 92:13).
  • a birthing clinic, a hospital, a hospice, and a clinic where new souls are birthed, wounded souls are healed, and those souls ready to depart are reassured (Matt. 10:6-7).
  • an inn, a hotel, a retreat (Luke 10:34-35).
  • a dispensary of spiritual medicine, care, relief and counsel.
  • a meeting-place, an introduction agency where new friendships can be forged, and a place of significant relationship-life-moments (marriages, baby dedications, water baptisms, and funerals).

Each of these aspects of the local church satisfy a deep longing within every human soul to belong. And belonging to a local church provides several unique blessings compared with belonging to any other group. But I have discovered that often the super-successful are very lonely. They can find it difficult to trust people. They are often left wondering, “If I was not so successful, would any actually like me?” This is why some super-successful Christians even find it difficult to join a church. And as a result they miss out on something that Christ has designed to be immeasurably precious for His followers. Could we be the kind of church where those constantly in the public eye could find a refuge and dispensary for their soul?

 

HOW A CHURCH CAN SUPPORT THE SUPER SUCCESSFUL

I remember hearing the C.E.O. of the world’s largest public company, who was a Christian, being interviewed about the challenges he faced in leading a company with a ninety-billion-dollar annual turnover and one-hundred-and-seventy-thousand staff. His week regularly involved flying to several continents for face-to-face meetings with managers and government officials. It was ordinary for him to get home late on a Saturday night. He made it his habit to attend his local Presbyterian church. He was asked by the interviewer what he needed from his church. His answers can be divided into two categories and it is these categories that I will conclude with what other super-successful Christian needs in their church:

 For a Church-

  • Treat a super-successful-Christian as a brother or sister-in-Christ, not as a celebrity.

  • Don’t assume that they are doing well just because they are successful in their role.

  • Pray for them as you would for any brother or sister-in-Christ.

  • Don’t try to seek “a favour” from them.

For a Pastor-

1. Do your job well — work at each of the aspects of pastoral responsibility especially preaching. This involves continually improving your level of preparation, presentations, and delivery.

2. Do not treat the super-successful as “trophies” don’t name-drop that you are pastoring so-and-so when talking with other pastors.

3. Reach our pastorally to the super-successful —  catch up with them. Invite them to dinner, or coffee, or breakfast near where they work. Listen to them and ask how they would like to be prayed for. Enquire how their devotional life with the Lord is going with very specific questions as “What did you read in your Bible this morning?” or, “Where are you up to in your Bible reading?” 

4. Protect them spiritually — by praying privately for them and ensuring that their spouse and children are being pastorally cared for as well.

If you are a super-successful person, I hope that will come to accept the assessment of Jesus Christ about the dangers of neglecting the condition of your soul because you have been distracted instead by your success (Mark 8:36). And so doing, I also hope that you will come to apply what Jesus Christ taught was the solution to an empty and dark soul — surrendering to Him as your Saviour (Matt. 11:28). And if you are a super-successful-Christian who has not yet found a church-family to join, I hope that you find church that adheres to principles above led by a pastor who is committed to the above four principles of pastoring – because that’s the kind of church every super-successful Christian really needs to join.

Your Pastor,

Andrew

Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.

1 Comment

  1. LYDIA

    Welcome back Andrew!

    Cut and paste: These benefits of a believer belonging in a local church include:

    It is their spiritual ‘home’ where they can be nourished, fed, relax, learn, and connect with their church family.
    It is their refuge, a haven, and a sanctuary, where they are safe.
    It is their reminder that they are not alone, and the GOD cares for people who are different, and so should we.

    Amen. I can testify to this as being the truth, having been led by the Spirit to dare to walk thru the doors and continue to come.

    Reply

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THE PRODIGAL FATHER

 Does anyone know what the word prodigal means? Perhaps most people assume that it means: “wanderer”, or “rebel”, or perhaps even “backslider” or that it only applies to sons. This seems to be based on the story that Jesus told in Luke 15 to which most Bible Publishers assign the division title – The Parable of the Prodigal Son. But the word prodigal does not occur in this parable. Interestingly, there are three lead characters in this shocking and famous parable: the father and his two sons. One of these was genuinely ‘prodigal’, and, as Tim Keller points out, it was neither son! To appreciate what Keller means we might need to take another look at what the word prodigal actually means. It comes from the verb prodigious which means remarkably great in extent, size, or degree (New Oxford American Dictionary). It is a word often used to describe an author who regularly writes books – John Grisham is a prodigious author. A prodigal person is therefore, prolific, extravagant, excessive, and, lavish. Keller points out that even though most people ascribe this to the wayward son in the parable, it is more appropriately a designation for the lead character in the story, the father!

MAKING CHURCH A WELCOMING HOME

For many people, making a decision to attend a church is a significant and potentially daunting decision. As they come through the front door they are entering an unfamiliar environment. It is also an environment that may be associated with preconceived ideas of what the expectations and rules of the church community may be. These people probably will not know anybody and they might have concerns that relate to their previous or current lifestyle. For those of us who are regular church attendees, it is possible that we may not fully appreciate the challenges a new attendee may be facing. When we can relate to these concerns, I believe we are better equipped to provide a warm and patient “welcome” to what we hope will become their new church home.

LOVE IN ACTION

Physical illnesses and stressful events are endemic in our society. They can be likened to the thorns that cause both pain and damage. It doesn’t take much for them to impact a person’s life in ways that they did not expect. I believe that we can become more resilient as followers of Jesus by applying an appropriate solution to a known problem. I believe that an appropriate and important part of the solution is for us to show love the way that Jesus demonstrated love during His ministry on earth.

THE TOOLS OF REMEMBERING

I like to think I have a pretty good memory.  I like to think I’m organised.  Generally, I am – I don’t double book appointments, I keep track of what I’m doing and when, I mostly turn up on time. But, on reflection, I’m not so sure this means I have a good memory.

TRUTH vs SOMETHING BIG AND HAIRY

“You were lying in your bed, you were feeling kind of sleepy.
But you couldn’t close your eyes because the room was getting creepy.
Were those eyeballs in the closet? Was that Godzilla in the hall?
There was something big and hairy casting shadows on the wall.
Now your heart is beating like a drum, your skin is getting clammy.
There’s a hundred tiny monsters jumping right into your jammies”!

These are lyrics from a song on the very first Veggie Tales video every made. The title of the song?  “God is bigger than the Boogie Man”. Junior Asparagus was lying in bed frightened, and Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber appeared to tell him that he doesn’t have to be scared of the imaginary monsters because, “God is the bigger.” My childhood night-time fears weren’t so much about big and hairy monsters, aka boogie men, or Godzilla in the hall. My fears were house fires – our home burning down, and “burglars” or “robbers”. But I certainly identify with lying in bed, my heart beating like a drum, my skin getting clammy, my imagination in overdrive.

CLOSING THE DEAL

In 1871, the American evangelist, Dwight (“DL”) Moody was preaching to huge crowds each night in Chicago. At the end of each message he would give an appeal for people to either respond immediately to the gospel message he had just presented, or at least go home and consider it. But on Sunday October 8th, 1871, a huge fire broke out in Chicago. It burned through the city for days and became known as The Great Chicago Fire. Around 10,000 people were homeless as a result, and hundreds of people lost their lives. Moody was heart-broken when he realised that many of the people who had died were the people who had attended that Sunday night meeting where he had urged them to consider accepting Christ. His deep grief over this tragedy led him to make a vow that he would never again merely urge people to simply consider accepting Christ. From now on, he vowed, he would plead with all those he preached to – to immediately turn away from their sins and turn to the Saviour. DL Moody committed his life and ministry as an evangelist to be someone who would always strive to close the deal because he was now aware—more than ever—that people’s eternal destinies were in jeopardy! 

BUILDING A MOODY CHURCH

The three things that make the Christian life exciting and enthralling are the same three things that enable a believer to develop a closer relationship with God. The combination of these supernatural gifts gives the child of God an awareness that there is more, much more, to this world than we can see, touch, taste or feel. When the Christian’s faith is grounded and buttressed in God’s Word, godly prayer, and God’s house he or she flourishes. But there are forces at play that are determined to stop the believer from reaching their spiritual destiny. While we might think these enemy forces only use the fiery darts of doubt to hinder the believer’s journey to glory, there is something that they successfully use far more often: our mood. This is why, for any church to be successful, it must discover how to build moody church.

PRAYING PRAYERS

The amazing thing about prayer, is that nearly everyone does it – but hardly anyone thinks they do it well. If you visit any Christian bookstore you will notice that the largest display of books is about prayer. And it’s not just Christian bookstores where you’ll find books on prayer. Regular bookstores also sell a wide range of books on prayer (even if they do classify them as books on ‘meditation’!). One of the most frequently searched questions on Google is, “How to pray” (which then points enquirers to over 2.3 billion web pages answering their question). But in all of human history – and two thousand years before anyone but one had ever heard of Google – there was just One person who was supremely qualified to answer this question. And fortunately for those of us who really want to know the answer to this question (without having to peruse more than 2.3 billion web pages!) He gave us the answer.

WHY SOME BELIEVE

Why is it that two people can look at exactly the same evidence and can come to completely different conclusions about it? Even more puzzling is how two equally qualified scientific experts can look at the same data and utterly disagree about what it means. This happens many times in court cases where the prosecution will call their “expert witness” to give his or her professional opinion to verify that the defendant is guilty only to have the defence to present their “expert witness” who gives his or her professional opinion as to why the prosecution’s expert witness was wrong and to prove that defendant is innocent! This at least illustrates why it is not always the quality of the evidence that leads a person to accept or reject a claim. This especially apply to the claims that Jesus Christ made. Of the four accounts in the New Testament written about His life, three of them were written by eye-witnesses and the other one (Luke’s) was written by someone who interviewed many eye-witnesses. It is with interest that we turn to the last one to be John’s Gospel, where he describes dramatic proofs that Jesus was who He claimed to be. Yet despite these otherwise inexplicable proofs that at times thousands of people witnessed, many still wouldn’t believe. But it seems among those who did believe they all had one thing in common.

UNPACKING CHRISTIANITY

home > Pastor's Desk > 2022 > JUNE 3rd > UNPACKING CHRISTIANITY UNPACKING CHRISTIANITY I have a thing for bags. Not shopping bags or lady’s handbags, but manly bags - functional bags. A few years back I became fed-up with the number of bags I was...