Text- Hebrews 12:22- "But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly.”
As you prepare to go to Church today, I want you to answer this simple question: what is your church paradigm? You see, paradigms play a major role in shaping a church's culture; in other words, the mindset and way of thinking that each person brings to church on Sunday will largely determine how the Church functions.
I have grouped church paradigms into four broad categories:
1. The Political Paradigm
This is a mindset of competition between interest groups or individuals for power and leadership. This was the paradigm of Diotrephes; In 3 John 1:9, John said, “I have written to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, will not accept our instruction”
The political paradigm usually leads to formation of ‘factions’ and ‘caucuses’ within the Church. The focus is on how to impress or surpass others rather than to glorify God.
2. The Social Paradigm
This is the mindset of compromise. A Church that operates with this paradigm is a place where they just want to carry everybody along, even when it is against God’s instructions or principles. This mindset will rather seek people’s opinion than ask for God’s direction; it will put human idea ahead of divine instruction.
This was the mindset that messed Saul up. 1 Samuel 15:24 – “Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice”
The social paradigm usually leads to sensuality, lukewarmness and impunity in a Church. The focus is on how to please people rather than glorifying God.
3. The Socio-Political Paradigm
This mindset combines social and political factors. This was the case of the Corinthian Church. They had factions – 1 Corinthians 11:18- “For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it.” They also compromised and condoned sin – 1 Corinthians 5:1- “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father's wife.”
4. The Spiritual Paradigm
This mindset sees God as the priority, focus and driving force, and as such, seeks to please Him without compromise. This paradigm joins John the Baptist to say, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30); it joins Paul the Apostle to say, “Yes, let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4). This is the mindset you should carry to Church; it is the paradigm that every Church should operate with.
I want you to find out what your Church Paradigm is, and how you may have been contributing to it. If need be, make necessary adjustments so that your Church will be safer, healthier and more conducive for spiritual growth.
Lord, I ask you to please forgive me for every way I might have contributed to a wrong Church paradigm in the past. As I go to Church today, Lord Jesus, you will be my priority, focus and driving force in everything I do. Help me so to do in Jesus Name.
Image Credit: idisciple.org