I was driving around today, and I noticed a church that had the following below the name of the church:
“One of HIS churches”
It struck me. For one, it’s sad that the church as a whole has splintered and divided to the point that a church would feel the need to clarify their belief in HIM, i.e. God as revealed in Jesus (I know that they mean Jesus, because there’s a cross on the church and I happen to know who the pastor is). It also got me to thinking about church names in general, and what we mean by them.
I mean, we have the First (insert your denomination here) Church in each town. In the South, you will actually see “Second” and even “Third” in some towns. Sadly, the ones I’ve seen are not in large towns where you would expect to see a denomination find the need for more than one church. Usually, I’ve seen them in very small towns, where it makes you wonder why they were developed.
Today, you wouldn’t see names such as “First, Second, or Third.” Now, we have names like “New Life” or “The Worshipping Church” (as if no one else is worshipping?), or “The Greater Intergalactic Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Church for the un-Churched.” Ok, I made that one up, but you get the point. Now, you don’t even know what a church believes or where they stand based on their name. Sometimes, you’re not even sure it’s a church. But one of two things happened here too: either someone split with another church, or it was a plant out of another church.
I wonder about these things. I know, I’m weird. But really, I wonder: what births these churches? Did they come about as a result of serious doctrinal questions? To me, that is a legitimate reason to change churches. And today, there are plenty of churches that are NOT one of “HIS” churches, and we have to be careful about that.
Were there personal issues involved? I know there are wolves in sheep’s clothing in the church, and many of them are in pulpits where they are fleecing the rest of the sheep. Many of them are so entrenched and powerful that the only way out is to leave.
Was it simply a matter of “I don’t like the way you sing so I’ll start my own church?” Sadly, I fear that this reason is one of the largest reasons for new churches today. I know it’s a major reason for multiple services in “traditional” churches. I can’t tell you how many signs I see on church marquees advertising their “Contemporary” service along with their “Traditional” service. And many churches are started simply over the fact that someone didn’t like the music being played. Sadly, this is seldom over content (what the songs are saying) but more over style.
Am I the only one that thinks about such things?