The Congregational Church: Putting Together the Structure of the Church – Titus 1:5-9

Today is Tuesday, April 21, 2020, and I am Pastor Kim, and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 30

Welcome – so glad that you are joining me today.

Announcements:

20/20 Ladies Bible Study – PLEASE pick up your book. Available at the church.

Thank you for your Faithful tithing during the Coronavirus pandemic. Paul Kressin reports that we have met budget last month, and we look good so far this month.

 Make sure that you visit the SLBC website – lots of free stuff available. Today I want to highlight: Adventures in Odyssey and Answers in Genesis. If you want a great program for kids have them listen to Adventures in Odyssey, and if you want to learn about our young earth visit Answers in genesis.

 

 In The News Today: I want to read to you about a New Bible Translation – It is called the 2020 Bible. It was published by the Danish Bible Society. You are not going to believe what you hear.

I will attach this article as a PDF. Lutherans Publish New Version of Bible Without the Word

The Hill reports: President Trump intends to sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration, a move he says will protect jobs as the country begins to reopen. It’s his most drastic attempt yet to seal off borders, though officials say flow to the U.S., has all but stopped during the pandemic.

Bloomberg reports: The price of U.S. oil fell below zero for the first time in history. Producers were willing to pay customers to take barrels off their hands after storage ran out.

 Church Bulletin Bloopers:

 At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be ‘What Is Hell?’ Come early and listen to our choir practice. 
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Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones. 
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Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children. 
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The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
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Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM – prayer and medication to follow. 

 Pause for Prayer:

Bob Ahsmuhs

Tom Spann
 
Dianna Paschall’s son, Andy. For test results today. 

Paul Kressin

SLBC families

National and local response to COVID-19

Revival in America

Our WORD from the Lord today is taken from Titus 1:5-9,

For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you—if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

I want to have a word with you about, The Congregational Church: Putting Together the Structure of the Church

There is nothing in the Bible about how the universal church worldwide is to be organized. The Bible is silent. However, there is 66 books telling us how we are to live the Christian life before a watching world.

Also the Bible does have a lot to say about the local assembly – those who have been called out, and placed into the body of Christ, and then who by choice join a local assembly. We find a lot of information in the book of Acts, and in the letters from Paul to the churches, as well as Paul’s letters to Pastor Timothy and Pastor Titus.

The Bible has principles which inform congregational life. And the New Testament has explicit teaching on church structure. Both church officers and polity (structure or organization) of the church. Again I would direct you to the letters of 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus.

Local and Universal

A congregational church recognizes the congregation as the final earthly court of appeal in matters of dispute. Decisions are made by the members of the local church. SLBC Constitution and Bylaws read, “The will of the church on any matter duly expressed by its vote shall be carried out by all committees, officers, and organization of the church.”  

A lot of responsibility rests on each individual member.

Relations Between Congregations

Southern Baptist Churches are independent (they are governed by their own respective congregational body – church members).

Church history tells us that churches have cared for other churches and have come alongside and helped other churches. We see this exemplified in 2 Corinthians 8-9, and in Philippians 4:10-19.

In the New Testament period collections were taken and given, missionaries and teachers were sent, and recommendations and cautions were shared between congregations. This pattern continues to this day. Southern Baptist share much of the Great Commission together through the Cooperative Program. We are able to support 5,000 plus foreign missionaries. We also support a large number of North American missionaries here at home. We are also big time into church planting, and this happens better together.

The Benefits of Associations

SLBC is in association with the Inland Empire Baptist Association. We have around 43 churches that are a part of our Association. Here is a partial list of what benefits we receive from being a part of a local association:

  • Pastoral support
  • Church strengthening
  • Conferences – VBS, Leadership training
  • Missions conference
  • Support when problems arise
  • Church planting
  • Financial support

Denominational Relationship – Southern Baptist Convention

Can you name various denominations? (Make a few comments below).

  • Southern Baptist Convention
  • American Baptist
  • National Baptist Convention

These denominations have long settled into the popular American consciousness as denominations.

Many denominations are connectional churches – they are dependent upon their denomination to settle issues – Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran to name a few. However, this is not true of Southern Baptist Churches. Each SB church settles its own internal issues, and each church set its own policy and structural decisions.

Congregationalism with Leadership

Congregationalism doesn’t mean anarchy. We have a strong leadership structure based on Scripture. All of it is clearly laid out in our constitution and by-laws, and it is Scriptural based.

Elder Led, Congregationally Governed

Elder can also be translated, bishop, pastor, overseer, shepherd.

Churches are led by a congregation and a shepherd (a pastor who tends the sheep).

People have various ideas:

  1. Church should be led by a pastor (like a CEO).
  2. Churches should be led by a plurality of elders and the congregation.
  3. Church should be led by the elders.

It appears to be that churches were led by a pastor with active involvement by the congregation. Timothy at Ephesus.

What is your take? Congregationalism, Plural eldership, or Senior Pastor?  Is it possible that anyone of these can work, or a combination of them?

NOTE: Nothing will work without being Spirit led – Ephesians 5:18

Never should a congregation be in competition with the elders, nor the elders with the congregation. The congregation’s authority is more like an emergency brake than a steering wheel. The congregation more normally recognizes than creates, responds rather than initiates, confirms rather than proposes.

Congregations are responsible for:

  • What is being taught – church doctrine (What the church believes) – Galatians 1:6-9
  • Who can be admitted and dismissed from membership – 1 Corinthians 5:2; 2 Corinthians 2:6-7
  • Congregations CANNOT delegate their responsibility to others. You can ask for council from others, but ultimately responsibility for determining teaching or membership in the local church may not be outsourced to anybody outside of itself.
The New Testament teaching on the nature of the congregation and the role of its leaders clearly indicate that a biblically faithful church is a congregational church.

Remember, I am in touch, so you be in touch. Make contact with your church family. Be supportive at this time.

As always, “Walk with the King today and be a blessing.” (Dr. Robert Cook).