|First Congregational of Buffalo Center|
Upcoming at FCCBC:
In May, we will continue to look at the appearances of Jesus after the Resurrection as we continue our “What is Easter?” series. Then we will come to the Book of Acts as we look at Jesus’ ascension and the Holy Spirit coming in power on all believers.
Why God Won’t Bless a Family Chapel.
Many of you have heard me talk about the three models of Church that were dominant in the United States before the pandemic. Attractional Churches are like the Mega Churches found in big cities and suburbs. Missional Churches, like “The Mission” in Des Moines are intent on serving and loving their neighbors, evangelistically-focused, outwardly- focused, and finally, Family Chapels.
Given what we have learned about Jesus and His ministry, it is fairly safe to say that both the Attractional model and the Family Chapel model are unbiblical. The Attractional Model is unbiblical because it relies on a watered down Gospel and cheap gimmicks to get people in the door. There is a great movie coming out later this year called, “The Church”, that highlights this. Many in the Attractional Church are realizing how they have abandoned the Gospel and are trying to make the pivot back. Jared C. Wilson talks about this in Gospel Driven Church. One could argue that at least Attractional Churches try and are outwardly focused.
Unfortunately, Family Chapel Churches are inwardly focused and thus, do not try or even have an eye on reaching the lost in their communities. They often get the name “Country Club” churches. The Pastor is not there to be a minister of the Gospel, but a chaplain whose whole purpose to see to the comfort of the congregation, and when they stray from that task….
The point of the family chapel is to marry and bury the people, never make them feel uncomfortable and never ask them to “grow up into the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:13). Members of these churches are of the type I described in Sunday’s sermon. They believe, but they never get out of Sunday School and they never grow in their faith. Because of this they never put off the old self with its vices and put on the new self that is hidden in Christ. Family Chapels do not survive, and God does not bless them because they are not carrying out the mission of God in this world. Instead, they are usually known in their communities for their infighting and immaturity. People stay away because the message to outsiders is that they are unwelcome because they upset the equilibrium of the chapel members.
While the majority of the congregation wants to move towards a missional model and really genuinely wants to reach the community around us. There has been a group in this church for decades who has done everything in their power to keep this a family chapel that caters only to them, those who view the pastor as a Chaplain. Members of this group even signed the Church Member Pledge, a covenant before God and between one another in which they covenanted to not let the Church be about their personal preferences and pray for their pastor whose work is never done.
God will not bless this behavior. He takes covenant breaking very seriously. Nor will He bless a family chapel because an inward facing Church is not a Church as defined by Christ or built by Christ. It is not a family on a mission. In Christ’s Church, everyone does the work, the pastor is not a chaplain but rather he is a shepherd who stewards the Word of God to help the people grow up into Christ. Part of the people growing up into Christ is that they partake in caring for one another. In fact, Deacons were first appointed to do the care duties, waiting tables, making visitations after medical procedures and more so that the Apostles could, “Devote themselves to the teaching of the Word and the prayers.”
That’s the model that will bring people to Christ, the model that will bring the peace of Christ into our midst and with that, the blessings of Christ–a Church built by and in Christ, for Christ– outwardly focused for the sake of the perishing in our community. Those who want this to remain a family chapel, those who have been stirring up division through gossip, need to repent and stop the continuation of the cycle that has plagued this church for decades. Do it, so that you, too, can know the true joy and peace of Christ.
Rev. Jonathan David Faulkner
Saturday, May 1 Bridal Shower for Molli Joens and Dakota Peterson from 1-4PM at the Heritage Town Center in Buffalo Center. The couple is registered at Murra Hardware, Target and Amazon.
2nd Quarter Daily Breads are available in the church narthex.
Friday Prayer: Friday Prayer Friday from 8AM-5PM
April Food Pantry Needs:
Fruit juice, spaghetti sauce, spaghetti noodles, grated Parmesan cheese and cookie mix.
For the continued ministry in Buffalo Center and around the world through our mission partners…
Tithes and offerings can be sent to Assistant Treasurer, Tim Heitland at PO Box 345, Buffalo Center, IA 50424.