Is church where it should be?

I have to admit, I’ve been mulling over this for quite sometime so Im interested in hearing your thoughts both pro and con with sound biblical support. This may be somewhat disjointed, but jump in whereever you feel a need to clarify or question. I’m not anti-money but I do think that the need for money seems to have eclipsed the need for fellowship and even God.

Here is the thesis: The new testament church was or began as a house to house movement. There is no requirement in scripture that Im aware of which mandates meeting in a “church building”.

Money to do ministry?
Have we created a monster we now are forced to pacify? You have probably heard the phrase “it takes money to do ministry” before. I’ve even used it several times to justify the need to get money to do God’s will. But is that true?
In fact, it seems the contemporary church is driven not by the desire for sincere fellowship, but rather the need to collect money for “the vision”. Money to get the mortgage paid, money for rent, money to fund programs, money to pay salaries, money for building maintenance, money to pay denominational fees, money for legal bills, money to put on expensive conferences and the list goes on. And guess who has to pony up all that money? Let’s face it “the church” today is big business generating and paying out over a billion dollars yearly. Just last year, Creflo Dollar released a shocker stating that just his local church took in $68 million dollars in one year.

Big churches equal big money equal power, prestige and influence. But we have also seen those with the most “influence” built on their wealth have dismal records on following biblical foundations. Compromise?

That’s not to say that the early church did not have issues with money, but they seemed to employ a system sufficient to handle all things. Some may argue that the times forced the changes in the contemporary church, but was it the times or the greed of people who wanted the church to produce more cash to support their lifestyles?

Church is where the heart is

According to Hebrews 10:25, fellowship is mandated. That’s clear and settled. We cannot be lone rangers and mavericks. Fellowship with other believers is necessary for proper growth. But notice the overidding focus of Hebrews 10:25 is not where, but what. In fact, it makes no mention nor suggestion of where. Forsake not the assembling of yourselves as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Most of us have been taught not coming to church is a sin. But is it really? Some preachers have openly ridiculed “house churches” as “separatists”, but the truth is that smaller fellowships birth much more relational cohesion than one with thousands of people who may never know each other. And in these days of financial hardship is the church in the home more beneficial?

The message of the church today to the world is “come to us and be saved”, but does that conflict with Jesus’ command to go into all the world and make disciples? In other words, we tell people to come to church and Jesus will help them? But cant Jesus help them right there on the corner of  Jones Ave and 92nd Street? Do we want them at church to increase our membership or do we want them in the kingdom of God? What if  we promise ” a miracle” at church, but they dont live to make it to Wednesday night or Sunday morning?

The hard work of fleshing this out biblically was done by blogger DC Lake in his post titled “In defense of house church meetings”. He argues that Jesus met and ministered in homes (Mark 2:1-3), the Holy Spirit was poured out in homes. The “upper room” was actually someone’s upstairs house quarters. (Acts 1:13-14), and the church met in homes (Acts 12:5-12). Thus meeting in the home is fundamentally biblical.

Bound  to buildings or free to serve?

In suburban Atlanta, Rolling Hills church sold their 1.5 million dollar building because the pastor said they spent over 50 percent of the church’s budget on a building that they were in less than 10 percent of the time.

“Our motive should not be to fill these seats, but to empty these seats,” the Rev. Frank Mercer decided last year.
Amen, said the congregation, which is $150,000 away from paying off $1.4 million worth of land and buildings
He spoke a phrase that became a mantra for his church: “I’m afraid if we become a church of bricks and mortar, we’ll cease to be a church of flesh and blood.”

That’s deep. I got a brief revelation while preaching about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The church was intended by direction of the Holy Spirit to be an organic entity: mobile and deployable. Thus, we (people) are the “temple of God” (1 Cor 6:19). Temples that can go and do and be when God says so. Having said that, do these churches of brick and mortar mean anything in the eternal scheme of things? And if we are not a church of people who serve God, not a building are we fulfilling the great mandate of our faith?

71 thoughts on “Is church where it should be?

  1. What else is their to say! You have backed it up with scipture and I believe this is the right way.

    I take this as confirmanation, the day before yesterday I was saying relatively the same thing to a Bro of mine becuase we feel lead to start this type of ministry!

    I read a book called love, acceptance and forgiveness (by Jerry Cook). The nmost best and most practical Christian literature I have ever read. He is totally against big buildings and being visible, simply put if the love of God and power of God are moving people will be saved.
    He said he once asked God to “give me this community”, Gods reply was “never asked Me that again, I am not going to give the community to you but give you to the community”

    Yes, we have it twisted!

  2. Amen! Amen! Amen!

    This article is ON POINT! Amen.
    This is the thing the HOLY SPIRIT keeps dealing with me about.

    Point 1.
    Find in the 4 Gospels where the LORD JESUS CHRIST took up an offering, received a tithe, or told someone to “sow a seed”.
    I have searched up and down, and have not found 1 verse that the LORD JESUS took a financial offering/tithe/seed. The only things I see is where the LORD JESUS received tangible assets: HE used Peter’s boat (as a platform) to teach the people and HE received the young boy’s two pieces of fish and 5 loaves of bread and HE MULTIPLIED them to feed 5,000 men plus how many women and children were present(????). In theory, HE could have fed 5,000 men, xxxxthousand of women, and xxxxthousand of children and there were 12 baskets full that were leftover for the 12 disciples. And HE received the albaster box of perfume from the woman(some say it was Mary Magdalene?) who anointed HIS feet and the rest for HIS burial preparation.
    Now, HE had people supporting HIS ministry because the thief Judas Iscariot was the trustee of the funds. How many of us could handle that????
    The one time there was a money shortage was due to overzealous tax collectors and the LORD JESUS supernaturally provided funds
    to pay the tax for HIMSELF and Peter and the others!

    Point 2. The rich young ruler. This man would be in today’s terms a multi-millionaire. JESUS did not even blink when it came to this man’s wealth. Check it out. This man was faithful and kept all of the commandments but JESUS said HE lacketh one thing and told HIM to SELL ALL that HE had and give to the poor and thou shalt have treasure in heaven and take up thy cross and come and follow ME! HOW MANY Churches/Leaders today in the USA would turn down this man’s money! JESUS did not say Give it to HIM but to the poor!

    I believe there is a revelation HERE that so many of us have MISSED since day the “Church” became a building and not as you put it Pastor Foster, A Living Organism—The LORD never said to have building funds, burn the mortgage after its paid off,
    TELL THE POOR that they ARE CURSED WITH A CURSE because they DON’T TITHE?????????????
    When Jerusalem was destroyed 70AD and with Constantine’s “false” conversion to make Christianity a state religion…i.e. the birth of the State Church(Holy Roman Catholic Church)…many of us never left ROME! What did Rome and Greece have before Christianity, pagan religion with pagan temples or BUILDINGS!

    Last Point,
    I declare and decree that borrowing money from the world and paying usury(interest) to the world system has put the Churches in America UNDER BONDAGE. I truly believe this BONDAGE to money
    in American Christianity is ONE of the MAJOR reasons WE DO NOT SEE the POWER of GOD moving like the POWER of GOD moved in the book of Acts! PERIOD. There are other major sins in the church but THIS ONE MUST be dealt with!
    (Hey I Know this personally and have repented and having been delivered from this Yoke/Curse/Debt…Thank YOU LORD JESUS! I am seeing the Hand of GOD move again and even greater in my personal walk and ministry!)

    Pastor Foster,
    You have confirmed what has been in my spirit for months! Hallelujah! GOD bless you man of GOD for being a Nehemiah/Ezra to the last day Church! In JESUS NAME! Amen.

  3. I have to second the motion by Paul N

    I think you’ve already hit the nail on the head in regards to the question you presented. Christians think “church” is the building, a concept, an organization, and “in you”, when “church” is neither of these things. “Church” is people who have placed their faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    My answer – NO. The church is not where it should be. The church has gotten far away from what it truly is and what it was meant to do.

    And to reiterate Paul N – Yes, we have it twisted!

  4. OK Pastor Foster,

    You got me stirred up! I got to release this!

    Could the Rich, Young Ruler, SYMBOLIZE the Churches in the United States Today?????????????
    I believe that because of the LOVE of MONEY, PRESTIGE, and FAME…which are all fruits of the flesh, lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the PRIDE of LIFE!

    IS IT BECAUSE Americanized Christianity, our presenation of the Gospel is NOT SOLD OUT, is ONE of the MAJOR REASONS that THERE IS NO…I REPEAT NO POWER…but REPROACH in the Church!

    It really is LEAVEN of the PHARISEES YEAR 2010! Because it was the Pharisees that did works to BE SEEN OF MEN/TO BE PRAISED of MEN! “Look at me! I have a mega ministry! Look at our building fund! Look at how prosperous we are!”

    The heads are sick and if the head is sick so is the whole body!

  5. Sir, you are about to stir up a hornets nest with this one…i agree the thesis…thats where me and my wife are right now….i always had issues with certain church practices…the tipping point was when i made the mistake of buying Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola in December…that book opened my eyes to a lot of the practices of the institutional church…shortly thereafter, we left COGIC…we’ve visited a few other churches…but its all pretty much the same stuff with a different name…i believe that God has us in a holding pattern right now in order to detox us from the “churchy” stuff….so when we move forward in whatever He has us to do(and im 99% sure that will involve a church gathering in our home), that we dont infect others with that stuff…

  6. OK, for all the Creflo Dollarites out there, When the LORD JESUS CHRIST was on the earth, IF HE was so financially RICH as Cashflo claimed HE was, WHY DID HE have to be buried in another man’s tomb? Seems like to me a rich man WHO knew HE was going to die would have had HIS financial house in order and at least would have been able to pay for HIS own funeral/tomb???

    Please forgive me for quoting a Spike Lee movie, but Laurence Fishburne’s character at the end of School Days?, screamed and screamed to everyone, WAKE UP! WAKE UP!

    This scripture really speaks the truth when it comes to money and material things:
    Romans 14:17 KJV
    17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

    Whose Kingdom are we building? Man’s/ours/Satan’s or HIS??????


    You better shut yo mouth speaking truth like that!!!

    Especially that AMERICANIZED CHRISTIANITY reality. I believe it’s been a thorn in the church’s side since it’s beginning, but I don’t think we really realize the influence that culture has had on the church. It shouldn’t….. but it’s a heavy and fast-charging machine that has infiltrated us throughout the years. I love the people where I fellowship, but I continuously teach my two children about the true meaning of the body and it’s function.

    Paul mentioned that those who are true leaders are worthy of living of the gospel, but not being made mega millionaires by the gospel. But if society and culture says that a CEO gets a big salary, the church leader should get a big salary also.

    Rich Young Ruler – Americanized Christianity at it’s best!!
    Holy Capitalism!!!

  8. EW, I think that the RYR is a type of church. He symbolizes the “if I cant have it my way then I wont play” type of church. So they do it their way…without Christ.

    Okay one Sunday a while back, I got up on Sunday morning, got my children dressed and we ended up at… Dunkin Donuts. We ate donuts and I talked to them about life and Jesus. I was really surprised at how they responded to me in that atmosphere. Not that I would do it every Sun, but it was an eye opener.

    @ Djenk: You aint by yourself. With all the [just list here] going on in the institutionalized church, one wonders how to survive without being caught up in da system of church.

    Its greedy, bloody and cold. But they say you have to be there. I aint so sure about that anymore.

    I do believe accountability is necessary but fellowship includes accountability. We shouldnt duplicate the manipulation of the institutionalized church leadership under the guise of accountability

    And youre right…it pretty much is all the same, just with a different name.

  9. Wow, this seems like a kindred spirit amongst a lot of people of late. And saying that you are not the only one here with that revelation.

    Reading 1 Peter 2:5-10, lets us know that we are the lively stones that make up the church, we are those chosen lively stones to show forth praise unto Him that called us out of darkness into the marvelous light.

    According to church history, there is a lot that we’ve adopted that weren’t according to the original design. And it seems as if we need to retrace our steps while cleaving to the good and discarding the bad or erroneous.

    In Acts 5 or 6, it was the needs of the neglected widows that had to be looked into. And my thinking lets me know that the destitute would take priority over some of these outlandish reasonings by these ways and means committees that make up these church boards.

    Comfort is priority, whose comfort ought to be the consideration from God’s truth of His word.

  10. WOW!!!! this has really caused a shift in my spirit!! i never looked at it like this but it is a very sound and truthful way to see the church and whats going on today! but i do have a question,what about the churches that are really doing kingdom work? i am apart of a pretty small congregation but my apostle and the church name is known worldwide, people come from all over to come to our medium sized church. we are definitely not money driven but purpose driven. i guess my question is should this article apply to all churches or just the ones who are about the money?

  11. No, royalboy the focus (at least of what I wrote) is about the location of fellowship based on Heb 10:25 and what validates that biblically. I think that money is one of the driving factors behind what is pushing the institutionalized church thus causing many to leave it for something purer and less demogagery (sp). I know some people get so discouraged they never return to the four walls if you will. So Im exploring what is a biblical option or even foundation of the church.

    But essentially what Im asking is it is wrong not to be a part of a local church as we know it?

    Hope that helps.

  12. Wow, this is an awesome disccusion!

    Moses built a Tabernacle, Solomon a Temple, Jesus the Church, which is the true believers in Christ, we are The Temple of God! this is what should be focused on and not just preaching or building. What about the poor amongst us? what about the single mother? what about the unemployed or those who have lost their jobs and cant pay their morgage? the sick? the elderly? the persecuted Church? what is the point of going to a mega Church and you cant ask for help, this is what goes on! When we pay all these bills and the Church goes hungry and needy, while the Man of God flies a jet or drives a bently, is that of God?

    We have missed it by a wide margin, Jesus said men should se our good works and glorify our Father in heaven but we dont want to be someone’s miracle we are waiting for God to send an unexpected inheritance or some check in the mail! We often pray for others when it is something we can help with:
    James 2
    “15If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
    16And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
    17Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

    As far as this sowing of seeds this is the scripture Paul uses to give understanding in II Corin. 9

    “He has dispersed abroad,
    He has given to the poor;
    His righteousness endures forever.”

    Its about money for service and to help the less fortunate and not to build any fancy place as if you can build something more beautiful than God prize possession which we are.

    I hope I didnt go off base but this is what was in my heart.

    Be blessed!

  13. Charzetta3, Go ahead now! I feel the HOLY GHOST!

    Thanks for the confirmation Pastor Foster on the RYR!

    Pastor Foster, Question:
    Could it be that the HOLY SPIRIT is saying to the RYR Denominations, RYR Churches, RYR ministries, RYR Apostles, RYR Prophets, RYR Evangelists, RYR Pastors, and RYR Teachers and RYR Christians at every level, Bishop to Deacon to layman….
    Could it be that the LORD JESUS CHRIST/YESHUA HAMASHIACH HIMSELF is saying to all of us in the USA (everyone from the least to greatest Christian in the USA is “rich” compared to third world poverty brethren)…Could it be that GOD is saying to us to SELL ALL THAT THOU HAST in American Christianity today and give to the Poor among USA(JerUSAlem, Judea(North America),and the uttermost parts of the earth(the rest of the World)…I gotta print the scripture for this one. Matthew 19:21-30 KJV

    21Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.(****This is the CRUX facing American Christianity TODAY! Will they, we, you, and I, ANY of US..give up this world for HIS KINGdom and Luke’s version said SELL ALL***)

    22But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions(*****Sounds like the majority of the American Churches today!****)

    23Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
    (****RYR Churches/Christians something to seriously consider****)
    24And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

    25When his disciples(***those of us like Pastor Foster and others whose eyes have been OPENED by the HOLY SPIRIT to the truth****) heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

    26But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

    27Then answered Peter(***Pastor Foster, LOL!***) and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?(***I left the mega congregations & denominations & the TRADITIONS OF MEN***)

    28And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

    29And every one(***YOU GOT To give it UP!***) that hath forsaken houses(***Religious buildings, Mortgages, Mega Rent, Mega Bondage, the HOUSES of BAAL!***), or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
    ****Many of us have been CALLED OUT of Americanized Christianity and the TRADITIONS of Men, and when YOU come out of Babylon, the walk is somewhat LONELY at first, but once YOU get delivered and KNOW YOU are free, YOU will be EXCEEDINGLY GLAD YOU DID!***)

    30But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.(****All of those Churche/Leaders/Denominations, etc. etc. that are 2010 Pharisees/Sadducees, IT LOOKS LIKE They are Winning, Looks like they got everything together…BUT in the end we shall know WHO was really Who?***)

  14. Thank you, Pastor Foster, for your indepth discussion on this issue. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I recently left a megachurch after 13 years for this very reason. It was all about the money. The pastor and the “first family” drove a Rolls Royce, a Bentley and top of the line Mercedes Benzes, yet members could not get a meeting with the pastor if desired. They were told it could take six months, if they were willing to wait.

    I still receive e-mail videos from the church I left and they are now experiencing a budget shortfall. They already have two Sundays per year when they ask the people to come and bring $1,000 over and above tithes so they can pay for the “vision,” but this was still not enough.

    The pastor, with large gold rings on both hands, said that if people did not bring $200.00 on the last Sunday in July, over and above tithes, that they would have to start laying off employees. It seems to me that if you are asking regular folks for money, you could at least remove your thousand-dollar rings from your fingers.

    Here’s something people may find amusing. A couple of days ago, I was at the drive-thru at KFC and I checked my rear-view mirror. There was a white Rolls-Royce in the line behind me and I only know one person in Houston who drives a white Rolls-Royce — my former pastor. The car then got out of the line and pulled in front of KFC for the passenger to go inside. After I ordered, I had to pull around front to wait for them to bring my food out. My former pastor came out of KFC and got in the Rolls. I did not speak to him, but I did wave. It is doubtful that he recognized me and, strangely, that was the closest I had been to him in a few years. At the megachurches, the pastors don’t take time for one-on-one with members because they are too busy raising money for their “visions,” flying around in private jets and being far removed from the people’s concerns. In this economy, anybody driving a Rolls Royce and then pleading for money for a budget shortfall just doesn’t get it.

    This focus on prosperity and “what’s in it for me” has distorted Christianity. We need to get back to the original intent of our faith and that is saving souls, studying God’s word and addressing the human needs of the people.

  15. Well, I dont know about indepth, but its definitely issues in my own head that needed airing out.

    The KFC-Rolls Royce needs to be a book! Gwen he probably did recognize you but wouldnt dare acknowledge it. He, like many of the others are not pastors (Jer 3:15) they are CEOs who live above the common folk. And its not just the “big” churches. In preacha talk, its all about the numbers doc!

    I was watching local Christian tv (I know God forgive me) and this black preacher in Austell was strutting back and forth (the WOF thing) across his church probably in a shopping mall saying that he was going to be one of the richest men on the planet. He boasted and bragged about how important he was and why people had better watch out for him because he was going to be big. Im not exaggerating. The people (maybe about 30) sat kinda numblike until he started talking about how white people bred blacks to be strong just like he breeds dogs to be purebred. Insane.

    But betcha who’s he’s looking at primarily to make him rich? That means get and keep people in the seats who have money no matter how low you stoop. Ive said its demeaning to looked at as a nothing but a $$$ sign when you walk in someone’s church.

  16. The rich young ruler made a big mistake when he said “what can I do” to get eternal life, fact is he thought he was good enough and Jesus showed him and the Church you can never be good enough. I dont think it was as much about money as it was about salavation through grace. Jesus said in response to the disciples who on earth is good enough to make it to heaven, “with man it is not possible but with God all things are possible”.

    I agree that we should start to focus on the less fortunate for sure!

  17. Paul N,
    I believe we are on the same page. I agree with your view. Let me clarify what I am trying to bring across.

    First, I believe the LORD was showing the RYR that riches do not make one righteous before GOD. We agree here. Many in America equate prosperity with righteousness or the “FAVOUR of GOD” is upon them…This is NOT ALWAYS true! Moses left the riches of Egypt and chose to suffer reproach for the sake of CHRIST.

    Hebrews 11:24-27
    24By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;
    25Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
    26Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
    27By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

    This is where GOD is calling all of us who claim HIS NAME, to forsake Egypt(the ways of the world). Egypt and Babylon and Sodom and Gomorrah has INFECTED the Churches as a whole!

    Second, JESUS and GOD CANNOT be bought! That’s where I am coming from! When we hear ministers say over the pulpits, radio, tv, and internet, “It takes money to run a ministry!” That REALLY, in all truth, is A MISNOMER. NO, IF GOD has sent you, and HE is with YOU, HE will provide…ravens, a brook, a coin in fish’s mouth, a miraculous catch of fish, turn water into wine, feeding 5,000 men PLUS women and children with 2 fishes and 5 loaves of bread….based on OBEDIENCE to Whatsoever HE commands us to do!

    So think about it TRUE Saints, IT DOES NOT TAKE MONEY…JESUS called it Mammon to serve GOD or run a ministry!

    Third point, What if(Wishful dreaming) a significant portion of the Body of CHRIST did what the first Church did in Acts and SOLD ALL THEIR POSSESSIONS(from the least to the greatest)…THERE WOULD BE NO LACK in the BODY! Amen.
    IT HASN’t CHANGED…the mission from Acts to NOW.
    Acts 2:44-47 KJV
    44And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
    45And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
    46And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
    47Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

    This is the type of Church GOD is calling for since the Day of Pentecost!

    What HAPPENED to where we have what we have today?

  18. I’m reminded of the multi-part video segments your site had on the Man of God who began the orphanages, hundreds of years ago, in Europe, because the H.G. spoke to him. He raised no money…all provisions came strictly through prayer. It struck me, as well, that he was far from rich—however, his needs were always miraculously met, and he moved in power! They said that ministry is still in existence, today. I remember being wowed by his faith, and then being reminded that this was true biblical faith—the legacy of Abraham. I’d say that though there are some, few churches operate in that manner today. It really isn’t, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all things shall be added unto you;” and this kind of thinking has infected the body. We often seek hospitals/doctors first for healing, not the Lord; likewise, we seek “1st National Bank,” and every other worldly remedy, first. We often do “put our trust in horses and chariots,” versus Jehovah Jireh!! Hence, I have decided to press more into prayer, and into the Word to change these ways because I certainly have operated in faithlessness! But, thank God for deliverance, revelation, and impartation!! God is so good! So, it is a matter if “faith without works being dead;” prayerfully we’re going to be the remnant—some within the church, and some outside of it, or both–to bring about authentic CHANGE! P.S. Forgive me for my naivete, but what do your symbols mean (RYR/WOF)? (smile)

    GCMW: RYR=Rich young ruler, WOF=Word of Faith, GCMW=Gay christian movement watch lol! be blessed!

  19. This thread is excellent. Much of what has been expressed here concerning the current Laodecian “church” and the true church of Christ have been mulling in mind for quite some time. The primary thing that people are looking for is to be among people that are true and sincere to the teachings of Christ. If this is done minus all of the trappings of “riches” and “mand of gawd-type visions,” that would help alleviate so much of the discontent, disconnect and overall dissatisfaction people feel when encoutering people of God overall.

  20. Yes we are on the same page, thats for sure.
    Pastor would it be possible to hold something were we could all meet? we could make it possible with Gods help.

    This article has blessed me more than any other, this is what I believe God has put on my heart and to hear others with the same veiws has caused some tears to flow! this is so beautiful, this is what Jesus was talking about!

    Lets do It with The help of The LORD!

  21. Paul:
    It’s a small world. We’ll have to talk off line. My husband and I run a business on the northwest side of town (FM 1960 area). When things settle down here a bit (we have a lot going on right now and will be vacationing at the end of this month), perhaps you could come by.

  22. I have heard two Pastors of mine say, we are going to get a building and with a bigger building comes more bills so we will need more people!!!!!
    COMEE ON! so Gods main purpose for saving people is so we can keep the lights on in the pretty new sanctuary and not because He longs for fellowship with his prize creations?

    I wonder?

  23. Yes, I would love that! let me know when you get back and I will come by. I am somewhat new to Houston from Miami but I am living close to the medical center.

  24. Don’t get me started…I attend one of those high-rise churches in the hood where we have a lot of (24-7) prostitutes who work right in front of the church (well we are behind the gate and it’s on the main drag); but it amazes me that after twenty years–none of them ever felt motivated to come inside the church to see what we were doing and none of the people of our church have been motivated to come outside to see what they were doin’ …so much for the great commission… just ridiculous…

    but, i haven’t given up entirely; although jesus did minister in homes, it was also his custom to teach in the tabernacle/temple or whatever that thing is called back then…

    Paul washer has talked a lot about how the church has lost his power (not only because of its love for money, the world, and numbers) but also because it has taken over the duties–that strictly belong to fathers and parents–the spiritual education of youth–with instituting all the sunday schools and youth departments that he believes to be not authorized by scripture–your post really gives me something to think about…

  25. Praise the Lord…

    One thing that I have learned is that the people who need help are outside of the church – those that are in need of hearing the word of God. It is our ministry to reach them.

    As the founder of a women’s ministry – the first thing I said to the sisters is that we are here to help, not ask for money for this or that. This is what the Lord has laid on me to do…you know that story about George Mueller who prayed INSTEAD of asking for handout…it takes faith to do ministry work. You either have it or you do not…period…

    I think someone already said this but God does not give a vision without the provisions. It is sad as I have talked to women from some of the churches that you mention who need help and can not get it from the church…or send friends to their church for help only to be turned away. It is a shame really but then I gues that is why the Lord has ministries out there doing real work that He has called them to do.

    I truly enjoyed the writings today and the comments and have shared yet again your site with my sisters in Christ to come and hear the truth as it is truly a shame how many are not hearing that from their own church…

    God bless and keep on speaking the truth – we hear ya and are learning more of the Lord…

    Your sister in Christ

  26. Pastor Foster,

    This is a very enlightening post. I was in a church were the leadership purchased a building they knew we could not afford. Anyone who raised questions was considered “doubters” and did not have faith. Soon after moving the sermons began to take on a different tone. There were more tithing sermons. There were more sermons stressing the anger of God to those that did not obey. Every time I looked up there were “love” offerings and pledge drives.

    I am no longer a member of that church, but I am 100% sure the church’s financial state drove the pastor’s theology and coinciding tone of the sermons. I think the Pastor’s fear of losing the building forced him to preach a “different” gospel. It wasn’t always about money, an angry God who wants that money, and obedience. At one point there were more sermons on love and helping your fellow brother and sister. However, it changed. I guess it did not serve the particular end the leadership was trying to bring about.

    All churches have to be careful on what they allow themselves to be obligated to. There are spiritual obligations to us as a body. After that anything extra should be very limited. Personally, I am not really interested in going back into an institutional church setting. I am looking to have a real relationship with my Christian brothers and sisters.

    When I was at this particular church all of our conversations were about programs that needed to be put on or other church business. My church family became more like my coworkers. As church projects dominated our conversations more and more we stopped talking about ourselves. And in many ways we stopped talking to one another. Soon church was just a job that I did for free with people I no longer knew. It was time to stop and reboot. So I left.

    I am not completely sure what I will do next. But reading sites like this sure does nourish the spirit.

  27. Praise God Alissa, your words ring true and thanks for your comments. Trust me when I say it means a lot. Jesus went outside the walls to rescue those who had no strength, power to come. I was one of them. Sometimes we think we need one thing, but as the psalmist wrote: He sent his Word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions. 107:20. There is no substitute for God’s word to redeem the lives of the lost.

    Please come again and welcome.

  28. Ocean (love that screen name) thank you so much. Im kinda like you, I am not sure what’s next even with my thinking. But I cannot go back into bondage when its clear that’s what the m/o is.

    You are like so many people who get trapped into “church work” which is drenched in slavic programs to provide for more unnecessary programs and events. Its and endless cycle. I hate I ever thought that was “normal” church life. I have to confess there were times in my ignorance that I preached because I was afraid that the money wasnt coming to take care of the building and the bills and inviting other preachers to preach, anniversaries, appreciations etc…that whole cycle. And like you said it starts to consume everything. And everybody better be with the program, ooops I mean the vision…or else. Im all for obedience to them that have rule over you, but I equally believe the pastor/bishop etc shouldnt “lord” over God’s property trying to make his “vision” come to pass.

    A brother told me about his church and it was simular to yours. The pastor declared that God had spoke and they had to buy this huge building. He was trying to impress the higher ups in his organization and I guess get a promotion. Needless to say he whipped them to give, give, give to get in the building. Then when they got there ppl were so burnt they started to leave and things just fell apart. Of course they lost the property and pretty much all the money they poured in it. The pastor also divorced his wife and left the church. Shame that men feel pressured to impress others with buildings and numbers to be accepted (and call it success). That’s very superficial and the sheep are the ones who suffer.

    Im not trying to throw the baby out with the bathwater but we do need to publicly discuss this to clear our heads. If a person doesnt step back to re-evaluate whether they are slaving for a system or truly serving the Lord with gladness, Im afraid burnout is inevitable.

    Many blessings and I pray that you find others to fellowship with and serve the Lord with gladness without being chained to some building fund god.

  29. GCM, you are absolutely correct regarding the “church work” phenom. There is a specific e-mail that was circulated a long time ago (mad that I can’t locate it at the moment) that spoke specifically to people so caught up in “church work” and all of the “services,” “conferences” etc that satan and his co-horts literally laugh at the people. That is so because the people will be too tired and too distracted to do, among other things, pray, study scripture, tend to their households/families, etc. This, of course, creates the prime setup for him to strike from the inside out. Sadly, a person’s worth in these sects is strictly tied to their “giving and participation.”

    I have NUMEROUS stories to share of people that were literally crying b/c of the rigors endured to “make it happen” in the chu’ch with the endless rehearsals, services, meetings; and NEVER acknowledged for the efforts. One specific incident revolved around the recording of a music CD at my former “church” back in 2007. Among the travesties were competition encouraged among the music members to get the most advanced orders for CDs (which in many cases were never filled), be subject to physically & emotionally brutal rehearsals (aside from the weekly “services”), made to pay out of pocket (atop of “tithes & offerings”) for specific outfits for the “concert” and for me specifically to design a CD & DVD cover and other accesories for which I was never fully paid. Atop of all of that, the person that ran the department at the time had the nerve to publicly and specifically acknowledge just TWO PEOPLE out of two DOZEN just because they happen to spend the most hours at the chu’ch before and after services and rehearsals. To date, out of the near two dozen singers involved in the project, only two remain at this so-called “church.” CD sales never went anywhere (pimp-daddy had to get his cut of the sales) and many people were left spent on the verge of burnout.

    The current landscape teaches people to use others, God and scripture for their own expediency and without regard for the devastating results. Much is taught surrounding “excellence” and “increase” but is all futile against the atmosphere that is anything but.

    Again, I say I will applaud the day when these parasitical monstrosities and the emporers that them run fall once and for all…….

  30. “The Church at Dunkin Donuts” Gotta love that. And why, BTW, wouldn’t you have “service” there regularly?

    Our church currently meets in a home. One of our mandates is to “travel light.” We’ve had a lot of success having meetings (introductory Bible studies, etc.) in public places like restaurants. You’d be surprised who is listening, and the prayer requests that come from just being a presence of light in the world. The contemporary Church misses the fact that the “go” part of the Great Commission isn’t “go to church” — it’s to the world. Including the Dunkin Donuts baker, the Starbucks barista, whoever needs Jesus. (That would be everybody.) For the admission price of a donut or coffee, you have a “pew” and a congregation. Some of those old Baptist churches I used to visit had signs at the exit reading ‘Come in to worship, go out to serve.’

  31. Pastor Foster I was so excited reading this because this confirmed what the Holy Spirit revealed to me some time ago… The Church has definitely lost its way… I recently read a study where it stated that most people who attend mega churches are not newly saved converts but are those who left smaller congregations…so in fact they are not reaching anyone but recycled “christians.” Some of these people see buildings and fame and the leaders prey on these dumb sheep who would give money for a breakthrough rather than give God total obedience.

    The book of Acts discusses the early Church and how the apostles handled money that was given to them Acts 4:32-36 (NIV) All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

    So the apostles did not take the money that was given and build lavish homes for themselves with bentleys, maids, private jets and plastic surgery, while those who are among them are broke, busted, and disgusted.

    I used to be part of a mega church but I left because the Holy Spirit was tugging at my heart about how the Body of Christ is suppose to operate…How can a church have thousands of members and NO disciples going out and preaching the Gospel to all men! How can we have a president with an Anti-Christ Spirit in office? Because we have these Church leaders who voted for him and led their congregations to the voting booth right along with them! How is it that homosexuality has become so prevalant in our society today? The Church has definitely forfieted its power for money and personal gain…

    But, on a positive note, one thing I do know as I read some of these comments that their is a Remnant that will rise from all of this! Praise God!

  32. Just left my church several month. Told my wife and kids that I am taking a sabbatical. Reading God’s word, prayer and am thinking about going back to the Bible school where I first heard the “real” gospel preached and accepted Jesus as my LORD and SAVIOR. Not only are the mega churches at fault for promoting ministry through money and the tactics and bondage put on their constituents, but also small churches where leaders aspire to grow and flourish to become “big”. I left the small church I attended because we were taught ministry as it mostly pertained to “church growth”. I was a janitor, a sunday school teacher, grounds keeper, told to adhere to membership policies, worked two jobs, and lend to several other functions. Pretty much stressed out and something had to give.

    There was a lack focus on discipleship. The LORD calls for the apostles (and us) to MAKE DISCIPLES. NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING can take the place of this precious call, other than maybe the call to SALVATION. Older men teaching the younger men, older women teaching the younger women, maintaining a purity that is fixed in holiness.

    Could it be that this negligence to make disciples, that is replaced with the underlying ministry to build up buildings and a false pride in the congregation, be one of the main reason that sin like homosexuality, abuse, adultery, ect, flourishs in the “membered church”? This “church growth” thing is more serious that one could imagine. It is destroying the saints throuhg the deceptions that lie therein. We are all called to redeem the time. The LORD be GLORIFIED, not MAN.

    GCMW: Amen, Rob. I still dont get why discipleship is such a dirty word in the church today. And why its is viewed as something boring or unimportant. When it is a core component of the great commission.

  33. Charmedia—love that Dunkin’ Donuts concept! Definitely an example of “outside the box,” in today’s world! I love the testing my church is offering me as it relates to many of the issues mentioned. I get to “contend for the faith” within the church setting (by pressing to be Christlike & by speaking up/exercising discernment as to what God wants me to partake in), as believers have had to do from the very beginning of the church; and I get to stretch myself by taking my faith into the world so that J.C. can draw men unto Him! Hallelujah!!!


    It’s so on point that I can’t even really say anything accept
    “Well done thou good and faithful servant!”

    Like all the other commentors here, you just struck a Holy Ghost nerve!

    Just this week my husband and I were talking about this very same thing, as we’ve been in this “unchurched” place for the last 2 years now. We absolutely REFUSE to go back to “church as we know it” because we were pimped for almost 10 years and our eyes are now “wide open!” We’ve started attending a local church that meets at the Hilton and the teaching is very sound. Of course you know they are getting to the point that they are looking for a building of their own, which is fine, but my “Holy Ghost” wall is up and my spiritual antennas (sp) are on high alert to discern any change in the messages and the shifting from sound teaching to sermons on “money”, give for the “vision”, “building funds”…blah blah blah!

    The last church we were in for 10 years has been (and still currently) collecting for a building fund for OVER 10 years and the only one that’s getting new real estate is the Pastor…(and cars etc.) He even bragged on how he dropped $300k “CASH” on a Ferrari! a few years back.

    I tell you, we are done with pimps, wolves, and so-called ministries that has turned God’s house of prayer into a den of thieves!

    You know, I was reading Matt 24 starting at vs. 1, when the Disciples came to Jesus showing him the temple buildings as if they were bragging about how grand they were, and Jesus said, (this is my my version)
    Don’t get all caught up in these “buildings.” As a matter of fact, they are going to be destroyed, not one stone shall be left, so don’t get it twisted. Now what you need to be worried about is the wolves, pimps, hierlings that are going to come in and try to “deceive” you! Umh! I had to stop right there because that just struck my spirit as what’s happening with these “mend of gawd” and all their “grand temples” and the sheep all caught up in the “visions” of building these temples that are really built unto a “man” not thee “Son of Man!” Deception at it’s finest!

    I truly thank God after reading this piece and the other comments to know that we are not alone. I pray that the Lord will lead and guide us all to a place of worship were He and He alone is on the throne and He alone gets the glory. Thank God that he has preserved a remnant that will not bow down, nor worship temples that are built with mans hands, but worhsip the Living God in spirit and truth because He is looking for such…

    Be blessed my fellow Saints of the Most High God!

  35. This reminds me of when Elijah ran from Jezebel, he felt like he was all by himself God said – I Kings 19:18 Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

    I am so encouraged and was dragging over the weekend but God has sent you all to strenghthen me!

    Thanks and God bless you all!

  36. I soul feels vexed on this issue and thank you Pastor Foster for this wonderful insight. Just this past Sunday my pastor just mention how we going to build up a church over on the other side of town because we have to go to the people because some people just won’t drive far for church. I have my reservations for it because I don’t think we have to drop alot of money for another one.

    However, the Pastor has alot of discipleship classes and we do have evangelism stuff to go out in the hoods and just tell people about Jesus. I don’t see alot of people signing up for that and I must say that I didn’t do it myself. However, I am getting involved with a small group of people for a college ministry. Basically we trying to make an organization at my school, USC, and (go to the people). The school is very diverse with alot of beliefs and there are souls needed the word of God.

    Well, I know this is lengthy and a little confusing but this is my main question and concern. It seems that the church I am at do go out and evangelize. However, I just have concerns with the building of another church. I just sense a little pride in my pastor but he does have many sound biblical teachings and I still haven’t heard a sermon strictly on tithing, necessarily. My question is do one needs to build another church way across town to build souls? Wouldn’t the money be better used somewhere else?

  37. Im also very interested in knowing (and this is assuming that all the previous commenters are African American) if this tension exists in white congregations (the pressure to build and pay).

    @ Mercedes: that’s a very legitimate question. Again (as Jesus would say) you have heard that we shouldnt question the man of God or the vision, but I say to you, spending money should be questioned. Respectfully mind you.

    I dont see why in these times of financial instability, how it is wise to build a building to accomodate people who dont want to drive to a building already in place? What about people who cant drive? That’s just not a reason to build or purchase another church. Is this just another reason to get into the one church in “two…three…four locations” club? I dont know if this applies to your pastor but, in some denom circles, if you want to be promoted you have to have several churches under you and they better be large. That, honestly is a lot of these guys’ motivation, not a mandate from God.

    @Sis Pat: That happened once while I was preaching and I actually thought someone had lost some money. I stopped preaching, picked up the bill and said, did someone drop this? LOl, so please dear sister keep thine money.

    And Sis Pat now that I think about it, when our church was in the hotel, we reached so many people who would come into the service just for spiritual edification. One guy on the hotel staff said to me when we left (for our building) that he was really going to miss us. He had to work on Sunday and just hearing us there really blessed him and the other staff. My response: well, visit us in our new location. How stupid.

  38. Just heard this from a fellow believer as I was telling her about this dicussion and how I feel.

    She knows a sister that goes to a Church where every year they have a “business” meeting. In this business meeting members have to state how much they are going to give to the “Church” for the coming year and sign a CONTRACT! and woe be unto you who do not fulfill your pledge to God!

    You just cant make these things up!

    Mercedes, I understand your concern about pride as far as having more and bigger Churches. I once went to a small store front Church and the leaders were very humble. Anyway, things began to change and we bought some land, upon that and building a new building, the need for the members changed. If you didnt like what was going on “go to a church down the road”. while you never heard this while in the store front. People were asked to leave the Church because of hear say,I was one of the casualties, Praise God for that!

    GCMW: Believe it or not Paul, I have heard of things like this. In fact I was visiting a friend’s church and the guest preacher launched one of those trick “sow a seed and put it in my hand” deals. Totally insane. But like you said, there is an element of control and intimidation in our churches due to the perceived exalted state of the leader.

  39. Bless the LORD Oh my soul and all that is within me!
    Bless HIS HOLY NAME!

    Pastor Foster, Brother you have started a REVIVAL!

    I got release another one!
    Christian Television/Radio/Satellite: Who does it reach? Does it evangelize? Does it reach the lost? OR………..does Christian Television rob widows and the poor?

    It seems to me that, overwhelmingly, Christian media “Churches” other Christians.

    I know this, before my conversion…I NEVER watched Christian TV, listened to Christian radio. Now, I have been edified with the preached word over TV and Radio. But do the COSTS justify the means????

    The churches in America really need to pray and seek the LORD concerning media outlets….what is proper? Is it righteous to pay money to the Booty Entertainment Television(BET) for a time slots that most sinners never even watch to BEGIN with?????

    Is it Biblical for a Christian organization charge exhorbitant broadcasting fees to spread the gospel?

    Why do an OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of the Christian Television/Radio programs SOUND LIKE INFORMERCIALS?

    Now, I am NOT AGAINST local assemblies and church buildings(they were called Synagogues in the Bible)…BUT HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? Where do we draw the line? This is where we must all repent and seek the LORD’s face! Amen.

    I agree Pastor Foster wholeheartedly with your commentary…Have we all of us FED and created this monster because of the traditions of men????

    Another thing,

    Doesn’t Christian TV make sheep lazy and hurt local assemblies or fellowships?

    Now, I know this much, IT IS out of order for sheep to support financially a pastor they CANNOT TOUCH or pick up the telephone to TALK IN PERSON? When you get in trouble, is that TV minister going to come to your house personally? Or does he/she just want your MONEY?

  40. Re whether the financial tension exists in white congregations: I’m sure it does somewhere, but in the white (and Hispanic) congregations I’ve been a member of, I didn’t see it. At one point, the offering wasn’t even a part of the service! There was a simple wooden box in the back of the church for after church. They later switched to a Baptist-style two-ushers-going-up-the-aisle-with-plate, but nothing over the top. Have visited other white/Hispanic/ethnic churches and didn’t see it either.

    Very interesting question.

  41. Pastor Foster,

    In regards to your question,

    This type of thing happens where there is white shepherd over a majority black congregation(LOL, LOL, LOL!).

    I don’t have a thus saith the LORD on this, but my holy guess is that its black folks as a majority that support TBN, and other white owned Christian networks. “Master is still runnin the plantation!”

    I have started stepping out of the box and fellowship with white people who are in the 5-fold. The genuine ministers I have worshipped with HAVE met get much opposition/condemnation from the seeker friendly, Joel Osteen, and extreme worst case scenarios, Todd Bentley type churches because most white ministers, if they really are SOLD OUT…they PREACH AGAINST sin HARD!

    Granted white folks have the same issues as black folks but most white people don’t have the extreme out of balance issues we have in the black community…(another discussion)
    I say this much, the sincere majority white churches has more qualified men in leadership than the black churches do! Now, that’s the truth!

  42. Charmedia, Im down for some Dunkin Donut Temple. But we will definitely need a weight watchers ministry. And a weight room. And a personal trainers ministry…oh and we probably need to get a van because so many people will want to come.

    LOL 🙂

    I agree with your premise. Taking our faith into “unconventional” places at “unconventional” times is to me part of the mobility asset of the church. Or at least what was intended.

    I have a good friend who I joke with about “pastoring” the Starbucks (I call it Starbucks Tabernacle) in Atlanta he frequents. I wouldnt dare tell him to change it because of the ministry he is doing there.

    I havent been a member of another racial makeup church so I dont know internally if this is widespread like I KNOW it is in black churches.

  43. Another thing is the Pastor is not LORD in the white community from my experienc, the dynamics are a bit different. In the white churh, you dont have so many bishops and Apostles, etc and it is not uncommon for the congregation to call Their Pastor, Bro or even by their first name. In the black Church you better make sure you say all the titles or you be asked, “do you mean Bishop, Doctor whatever the name.

    This may seem off but there is an issue of control (by fear) and pride which makes it more easy for the leader in the black church to abuse the situation.

  44. Paul N is right from my experience. The “white” church I was ordained under had three fully-ordained, recognized bishops — as opposed to the (as my dad used to put it) slap you on the forehead, spin-around-three-times and you’re a bishop types. I called each of them by their first names.

  45. People: Those whom the Holy Spirit has enlightened with understanding and discernment as knowing the signs of the times, you are now responsible for sharing that knowledge and wisdom to draw others into the full counsel of God.
    The present day American church is becoming so wordly and bringing in doctrine of demons that if Peter, Paul and James were to take a six month tour of the entire USA and visit both large and small church facilities and take note of what is being preached and taught and how the fellowship operates and how they give their money and to what they give their money to, they would rebuke those churches as being apostate and not under the Lordship of Jesus.
    But, we, having the Word of God, allow this adultery to take place because we want to be loved and fellowshipped and not be singled out as being different.
    Who wants to be peculiar? We run from controversy and refuse to speak a right word when the time/situation demands it because we are caught up in titles and money and want to be a part of a fellowship.
    How many christians are selling their birth right just so they can call a church facility….”my church home?”
    If God is calling you out of Babylon…be assured that He has a reason for this calling and when you obey and come out and are led by the Spirit to another fellowship or a small group of Bible based believers, you will be properly nurtured so that you can
    become more like Christ and be a blessing to someone else.
    The Hagins, The Dollars, The Copelands, The Meyers, The Hickeys,
    The Osteens, The Price’s, The Paula White’s The Long’s, among many, many others have corrupted the given Word of God and have mangled the gospel message so bad that the world laughs at the church when they see us running to be like them.
    We are supposed to be different by design but yet we forsake hardship and trials because we want to be liked by the world and not suffer from being different.
    Judgment is beginning at the house of God and I do not want to be found wanting due to my flesh wanting to return to Egypt for its leeks and onions!
    Do you?
    Pray for a spirit of power and love and a sound mind that you can refute those who bring contrary doctrine and with some….snatch them as if they are about to fall into a furnace and with some…leave them to their own devices.

  46. Ministry in the Black community is seen by too many to be a way to make an easy buck and elevate one’s self without having to obtain the proper credentials. I say this as a pastor’s daughter. My father had an earned doctorate in ministry and so did my brother, who passed away a couple of years ago.

    But it is appalling that just about anybody can call themselves a minister — even a doctor — in the Black church and no one questions their credentials. Most of these so-called doctors have barely graduated from high school, split verbs when they speak and only know a few Bible verses that they selectively repeat. If they have a “doctorate,” it is either through a correspondence course or through an unaccredited institution that gives out honorary degrees for a certain amount of money. There is no other profession, other than the Black church, where people can pretend to be a doctor and it is not considered to be illegal.

    The going thing now is that everyone is a prophet or prophetess, apostle, evangelist, bishop or “doctor.” I would venture to guess that 90% of these people do not have an earned bachelor’s degree in any field. Most are able to make money through speaking engagements this way and a lot of it is based upon theatrics more than sound Word.

  47. GCM (and to all),

    I was asked by my brother a few years ago what I had against the church; and that was because I wasn’t “going” to church regularly. We stayed outside talking for a couple of hours and, to make a long story short, I told him that I don’t have anything against “church”, but I have something against error, including the misunderstanding of what “church” is.

    I honestly thank God for you, your insight, and your challenges. This post has garnished over 50 replies in about 24 hours.I read most of the comments made, and all of them gives me relief and encourages me in that I’m not alone when it comes to understanding what the church or body of Christ is and its mission. And I want to encourage all of my brothers and sisters in Christ on this blog to continue to stand for and proclaim truth no matter the opposition, whether it comes externally from the world or internally from fellow Christians who either do not understand yet or don’t want to understand.

    There are those who say that this is a trivial issue, but we all know that it isn’t and a lot of problems and setbacks have occurred because this subject/truth has been perverted and also not dealt with or given proper attention. But as Jude says, we are to “CONTEND EARNESTLY for the faith which was delivered to us once and for all.” That wasn’t just a command to defend the gospel, but also to defend everything that the gospel entails, including the understanding of who we are, which is “THE CHURCH” or “THE BODY OF JESUS CHRIST”.

  48. “Why must we pretend to act so important to each other?” LOL!!! Please, don’t get me started with that……. 🙂

  49. What do we have here?

    RYR (pasa): I just read an article of a black pasa in IL who was looking for love in a secular magazine. I’m not against the reading of these magazines at all; however, in his writing he let it come out of his mouth that “the last thing he wanted to hear, from a woman he just met and was getting to know, was about Jesus.” As a so-called Pastor (noticed the difference in spelling), shouldn’t that be his main concern: where is this woman in GOD? He went on to say how he loves Biggie Small’s CD and Dr Dre’s The Chronic. Huh? I’m at the beauty salon reading this, I had such a righteous indignation that I spoke my disgust out loud. Forgive me. Whew! I’m so frustrated with the make-up of the church!!!

    Lastly, another situation with RYR (apostle) This particular apostle is well known and resides downsouth (must be the water, who knows, LOL). He just built a gym and talked about how he was getting mad due to the grand opening date being pushed back, over and over again. He made it clear, YES, we will rent the facilities out for basketball and other venues. He made NO bones about getting PAID.

    Who would have thunk it??? The church in competition with your loca gym or YMCA. The church in competition with your local sports bar & grill. The church in competition with the latest club/lounge. The church in competition with the local strip club (you gotta see it, to believe it).

    I like to say: I wasn’t raised in church, I only grew up near one. How sad it is to have the compassion and the fire for the things of GOD, particularly people, as GOD’s main concern is people, but no place to attend that’s healthy and safe. Talk about a situation!!!

    Forgive me for rambling…

  50. Hello,

    As an African-American who attends a predom. white church (with a significant number of ethnic members), I find that most white people who drop out of church do so because they are tired of hearing sermons that tickle the ears. Usually these churchs have gone from “traditional” to “purpose driven” aka following the pattern of Rick Warren (there is a book by Don Southland called ”
    Transitioning; taking you church from tradtional to purpose driven” with a forward by Rick Warren which details how to deal with people who resist the purpose driven change in your church). Or they are seeker-sensitive, meaning that weekend services are tailored to the seeker aka the sinner/goat while the sheep starve from a lack a bible teaching. Preaching sermons on topics like “7 steps to having the stress free life” or using the latest movies like the Dark Knight, The Return of Superman, etc to preach a sermon on whatever. Or worse the latest trend of issuing sex challenges to congregants like the 30 sex challenge (or like TD Jakes’ friend Ed Young a 7 day sex challenge), creating a lot of buzz, getting written up in the local news paper and then claiming that no one in the church today is talking about sex. I can go on and on. But in reading various articles at sites like , etc. these have been the reasons that I have seen for people in predom. white churches leaving. They feel broke down and discouraged and isolated and starved.

  51. @GMC, that’s funny about the $100 bill. When people would do that at my former pimps church, he would stop in the middle of “whooping” bend down, pick up the money and put it in his pocket and say “thank-u-ver-much!” Oh I can’t believe I use to fall for that crap! Thank God for the Holy Ghost and discernment!
    He whom the Son sets free is free indeed!

    @Shantay…you said a mouthful…I feel you!!!

  52. Can I ask where on earth does putting money on the platform because the pasting is preaching a good sermon comes from?
    I hate it!

  53. This is yet another truly great piece.

    About 14 or so years ago, I asked The Lord, “What was the purpose of membership in the church? Where did candidate class come from? Why do we have right hand of fellowship? What was the real meaning for having members on a role?”
    In an instant I heard Him say, “To control people and their money!”

    As the years have past, this revelation has become clearer and clearer and the evidence of its truth is now so overwhelming that we cannot ignore the facts. God cannot lie and His Word has been proved true and it is with sadness that we now have to discuss such issues, however it was inevitable that this would happen because The Great Falling Away, has to happen and it will only get worse as The Return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, gets ever nearer.

    Recently I woke from a unusual dream with the words, “This generation of hirelings will be replaced by wolves” ringing in my ears.

    As I look at our churches today, across the world, I see mechanisms where it is the charismatic individuals and not Jehovah who is worshiped. I asked a question to The Ministry about some of the decisions that it had made and I asked about how the decisions were made and was God consulted? The response was, “God has no say in what happens in this church. Like Moses we have the rod in our hand, so what do we need to ask God for? He told us to occupy until he comes, so why bother him when we The Ministry have been appointed to made decisions?”

    I sat in a Ministers Conference some years ago to be told by the Presiding Overseer, “Brethren we have some talented people in our churches, people who know how to study! What you as ministers need to do is give these people the subjects to go away and study and then for them to bring what they have learnt to you, so that you can tell the people!” Were we not told to ‘Study to show ourselves approved”? I was told that God can only speak through The Ministry and that the blessings flow down first from the Elders, so only those that have been released should minister and that God would never bypass The Ministry to speak to any lay members. I asked why not? I was told, “God respects protocol and as the ministers were appointed as heads of the church, God has a duty to go to them first if He has anything to say!” It may sound laughable but this is where a great majority of ministers are today

    Having looked into church finances at a micro level, I see the depth of corruption and I understand where all of the politics about getting more members to feed the consuming greed of our charismatic leaders have come from. Hear the words of a Regional Overseer, “We ministers want you the brethren to go out and bring people in, we want you to pray, we want you to visit the backsliders and we want you to work and we are giving you 3 months. At the end of the 3 months we are going to see how serious you lot are!” There was no commitment from any of The Ministry to work, study, pray or do anything other than sit and wait for the people to bring more people to the church to increase their targeted income.

    There have even been Prophe-liar (not prophesiers) come to the churches and say that The Lord sent them and He had told them to tell the people to give more money because The Lord had need of it but what this Prophe-liar didn’t say was that they had been tapped up in advance by the Bishop who had made his request known because he wanted a new community area built and although The treasury had more than enough money for the church to operate comfortably, the cost of the new building was such that people were not bringing in what the Bishop wanted so he brought this deceiver to give the church a beat down.

    However the biggest problem we have with the church is that the church today, (COGIC, NTCOG, COGOP, Episcopal, United COG, Baptist) is that these churches have taken on the role of becoming “Law Giver” and now the church decrees what the people believe, the church tells people, what to believe, what to give, how high the ministers are to be esteemed (paid and given all the benefits), the church interferes in people’s private lives without any care for when people are struggling, sick, hungry, naked etc and the church now tells people who and what they are supposed to be.
    I began attending a Bible School some years ago and in the very first week I had conflict with the lecturers, as they were teaching church doctrine and not The Bible. On one particular point, I told the lecturer that what he taught was unscriptural but he told me, “Whether it is bible or not, it is what the church teaches and what the people believe..” I proved to him that what he had said was heresy but he told me, “I don’t care if you are right, it is what we believe and it is what Head Quarter teaches! And we follow Head Quarter!” Today it is what the church says that rules and what God has said is a mere relic that may be referred to once in a while. The preachers are not teaching people to study their bibles but encouraging them to buy the latest 10 steps book. And don’t you think that the devil know that the church isn’t reading The Bible?

    “This generation of hirelings will be replaced by wolves”

  54. There is only one account in the new testament where they placed the money at the apostle’s feet…I don’t think that justifies the foolishness people do today…

    It’s kinda like the requirement you stand when the word is read; when it only occured once in the old testament; because the word or the law had not been heard in decades, so they stood during the reading of it

    it’s funny how Blacks will make a practice/ritual out of the weirdest things

  55. Blessings all,
    As a simple church (housechurch) advocate and Pastor, I am a firm believer in that the original intent and purpose of the church was
    simple fellowship in the homes of the brethren.
    I agree, Pastor Foster, with your statement: ‘the truth is that smaller fellowships birth much more relational cohesion than one with thousands of people who may never know each other.’
    I have found this to be true, and it is my family’s goal to train others to do just what we do.
    I believe also that in the coming years, as the socio-political climate continues to change in this country, the Ocean Grove case will not be an isolated incident, but will be the norm. Churches will be forced to either accept and perform gay ‘marriages’ or (those that are incorporated) will be sued, lose the cases, and their 501-c3’s. They will in effect, be forced to either close their doors or reorganize in people’s homes…
    Continue your work Pastor Foster,
    God’s richest and best to you!
    Pastor CTJ

  56. John, there was an anointing on those words. I dont quite have the words but to say Thank you Lord for your unfailing truth. There is nothing I want to add to it other than gratitude.

  57. GCWM: Well, I feel compelled to really ask why is there a need for another church. I guess I will call my caregroup leader. Where is the scripture of Jesus saying that? I need to put that in memory. I really don’t want to step out of order to speak and stuff. I know as much as we talk about the abuse of “touch not my anointed” I really don’t want to do that. however, if we all are children of God by adoption and part of the inheritance of holy priesthood, wouldn’t we all be anointed? I don’t know.

    Paul N: Wow. I think the church I am regularly attending is going to that direction. Praise God you got out. I am just reading all the comments and taking to heart all of you all’s wisdom. I am just learning and growing.

  58. Mercedes, Im sorry that was a paraphrase of Jesus using the “you have heard that it was said” (example Matt 5:38). It wasnt a verbatim scripture.

    My point is that we are told not to question the man of God, just go along with the vision or more specifically “get with tha vision of the house”.

    But if my money is involved that means people should be informed and allowed to be part of the discovery phase before money is unecessarily spent.

    So asking respectfully if the justification for getting another building is really prudent is not wrong. And if you accept their response then just let it go.

  59. Oh ok. Thanks. I will ask because I do tithe and would like to know if it will help somebody in need. I am more into the point of giving to people directly but my uncle has schooled me that we are to bring in tithes for the storehouse as directed in Deuteronomy, Malachi, and Hebrews. I am just still a little confused tithing because I want to make sure it goes to good use.

    GCMW: I understand. Maybe we will have to delve into the tithing/offering issue too. Its kinda related to this whole post. Is the “churchhouse” the “storehouse”? LOL.

  60. The edict regarding tithing always seems to be in one direction. The parishioner is mandated to tithe by the pastor (in some cases, coerced). Yet, the following question should be raised: How is the tithe being spent? Too few pastors are open to respond to this question. They believe that they should unilaterally be able to make the decisions on how the funds are spent and that the members should just hand over 10% of their income, no questions asked. That’s how the folks at the People’s Temple ended up in Guyana, drinking the batch of suicidal Kool-Aid. They took everything Jim Jones said as gospel and followed him to their deaths.

    GCMW: Uh-oh. I tried to be nice, but you just kicked the door down. 🙂 Ok, folks the floor is open.

  61. Mercedes

    “Paul N: Wow. I think the church I am regularly attending is going to that direction. Praise God you got out.”

    that should be “Praise God you got KICKED out”, ha ha!!

    God is a master Chess player, he knows exactly when you need to be moved and uses unusual means at times.

  62. Great work as usual Pastor Foster. I love you man. Keep exposing the darkness. It’s good to see so many people are fed up with ‘religion’ and the foolishness that takes place in religious institutions (I won’t call them churches because that would be an insult to the true church of Jesus Christ). People are tired of being tricked and manipulated by wolves.

    God still has a remenant who will not bow the knee to the harlot. From your post, it seems that God has sounded the alarm and many are hearing and fleeing Babylon by the droves.

    Why are black people so addicted to entertainment? It seems that the drive for entertainment is what empowers the wolves. Wolves are great entertainers. The sheeple are in love with the drum beat, the whoop, the charismatic preaching, the miming, the praise dance, the singing, the dancing, the shouting, the jumping, the goose bumps, etc. Our services have turned into itchy ear shows that are geared to satisfy the flesh instead of glorifying God. People are being entertained right into hell.

    I pastor a small ‘house church’ in a rural Georgia town. Man what a blessing this has been. Three years ago, God called me to leave the church that I pastored and establish a church within my hometown. I wasn’t necessarily trying to make a particular statement nor was I rebelling against the traditional steeple church. I just didn’t have the money to rent or purchase a building with a steeple on top (very expensive). However, it was in God’s providence that we start the church in our home. Like Moses, everything that I needed to accomplish God’s will was already in my hands. We began in our garage and that’s where we meet every Sunday and Wednesday for Bible Study. Man what a blessing!! We are FREE to be the church. Although it was difficult at first to get people to change their traditional ideas about church. But eventually they stopped looking at the building and began to look at the Body. We are the church (the Body of Christ) and not a building with a steeple. I am free to fearlessly preach the true gospel without worrying about people coming or leaving. With little or no overhead, if I preach to myself, my wife, and the angels, it won’t cost me a thing. However, we are about to run out of room because more and more people are being drawn to the ministry. Our services are built around worship, sound doctrine, discipleship, evangelism, and fellowship. The people are free because they are not continuously pressured to give money. They are free to use their gifts that the Holy Spirit has given them within the services. It’s not a one “Mand of Gawd” show. God moves mightily in our services and He uses everyone from the ministers to the children. People give, but it’s not pressured nor do we use witchcraft to get them to give. They give freely. I don’t take a salary from the church. I work a job to take care of my family. All the money received goes to the administration of the church and not to profit myself.

    Because we are not traditional, we are free to do things that would not be possible in a traditional church. Every 2nd Sunday, we share a meal together, enjoy one another’s company, and just love on one another. This Sunday, we watched the move “Fire Proof” together. Next Saturday, some of the men are going deep sea fishing together. It is wonderful!

    A house church might not be for everyone because it has it problems also, but I love it. I hope this has helped someone whom God has commissioned to establish a church. Someone might have been wondering “How am I going to get the money to get an expensive building?” You don’t need one. All you need is a house, a park, a donut or coffee shop. The main thing you need is the Lord being where ever you are.

  63. Okay…GCW please let me say I am so happy you posted something like this. TOO many pastors are focused on get, get, get and gimme, gimme, gimme; it is rediculous. Now I am all for leaders getting paid. When you read 1 Corinthians 9 it talks about leaders being paid…but when you look at vs. 18, Paul did not want to abuse this and become a stumbling block for the church. How many pastors really follow that example. So many have become stumbling blocks and hinderances to the Body of Christ. Creflow taking in $68 million is not shocking. 90% of his messages are about money. Well when you look at how the church was ran in ACTS, the aposltes equipped the people and they went out and won souls for CHRIST. In the new testament you rarely if any see the apostles asking for money to build…when they gathered money and land it was so that everyone could prosper (note: not just the apostles) Acts 2:45. When did Paul, Peter, John, and James have massive donkeys (cars and jets) big houses (mansions). They are getting FAT from innocent people. Stop building a church and actually feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and help the poor. I remember sowing my tithes in an instutition and when I lost my job and ran into some hard times they did not come through. So I stopped tithing…I did not become cursed as GOD still supplied all my needs. As a matter of fact, no evidence of tithing in the New Testament (not against tithing) but more of GIVING and doing it from the HEART. Pastor Foster, I am happy to have this site as a reference cause you, like Minister Lewis, care for the body.

    GCMW: God bless you Antoine, pray that the Lord continue to give us the passion to make him known to all.

  64. Wow….I sat and I read every single post and afterwards all I could say was wow!!! This has been the most awakening post I have ever read here on GCM….and there have been some good ones.
    It’s more to it than what I’ve been receiving at my local church…it’s so much more to it.

    You know I find myself looking at different ones walking the streets, the ones that don’t look like the have two nickels to rub together, the struggling mom, the kids that I teach in public school that come from some rough stuff….and as many “churches” as we have in the United States of America…as many as we have…and we have a great deal…IF the church was where “it should be” I wouldn’t see what I see…

    We’re doing it wrong people…we are doing it all wrong….God help us….please help us…

    Thank you again for this post…spread the truth…don’t comprimise the truth….

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