The Southern Methodist Church |
By Dr. Paul D. Thigpen, President
Acts 2:42-43 KJV And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
We live in a culture where “shopping” for a church has become like scrolling through a list of options on a web-site. You can literally find anything you are looking for! If you want a “traditional church” you can find one. A “contemporary church?” No problem. Churches bill themselves as “seeker sensitive” and “seeker friendly.” You can find those that focus on drama or music or youth programs or yoga or whatever your particular interest might be. I have heard that there is now even such a thing as “drive through churches!” It is all about the experience. It is all about the emotion. It is all about giving you what you want. It used to be that you kind of knew what to expect when you would go to church, but today there is no telling what you might encounter when you walk through the front door. Is this what God intended for His church? Is this how you “do church” these days? It seems to me that in many cases the effort to reach people (a noble effort indeed!), many have compromised their Biblical integrity and in doing so have dishonored the very Lord we worship! As we’ve all heard many times before, it’s not about US, it’s about HIM!
And that is why, I believe, that what we are seeing in our culture today are churches that, for the most part, are operating by the wisdom, programs, and efforts of man, while lacking the presence and power of God! It seems logical to me that if we are God’s church then wouldn’t we want to “do church” God’s way and not our own? A lost and dying world does not need to see what man has to offer. They need to hear about what God has to offer! The world does not need to see what man can do, but what God has done!
In Acts 2, Dr. Luke declared quite clearly when the church met, why the church met, and what happened when the church met. I know you’ve probably heard dozens of messages from this passage of Scripture, but I get from this that we, as Christians, are to consistently meet together to worship God through Biblical instruction, encouragement, and prayer. So my challenge is for us to return to doing church the way God intended! I believe that there is a lot that we can learn from the 1st century church! Vance Havner said, “Too many church services start at eleven o’clock sharp and end at twelve o’clock dull.” We do not want to start out right and end up wrong! So what can we learn about doing things God’s way?
The Bible reveals that the purpose of the Church is to enable individuals to know God as Savior and Lord through faith in Jesus Christ and to glorify Him through evangelism, edification, education and equipping of the saints for the work of ministry. The Southern Methodist Church seeks to carry out this Biblically-revealed purpose through adherence to the Biblical beliefs and historic traditions of Methodism. This Church shall have a Biblical ministry that will depend upon the power of God to meet the spiritual, moral, emotional, intellectual and physical needs of mankind.
Adden Hall, Headquarters of The Southern Methodist Church on the campus of Southern Methodist College in Orangeburg, South Carolina.
First SMC of Augusta
Charlestowne Southern Methodist Church
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