When thinking about the church, there is a difference between Biblical convictions and a preferred strategy. A preferred strategy are ways of doing church that are not required by the Bible. Things like contemporary vs traditional worship, Small Group vs. Sunday School, and red carpet vs blue carpet are all preferences in how we think and do church. A lot of times these preferences might be rooted in biblical reasonings, but scripture does not specifically tell us which one to do. It is left to the wisdom of the church to decide.
Biblical convictions are beliefs that are solely rooted in Scripture. Now different people have different convictions on what the Bible teaches on the church, but convictions must not be confused with strategy. Some of the Biblical convictions I hold are things like believers baptism, regenerate church membership,church discipline, and congregationalism led by a plurality of elders. These Biblical convictions are things instituted by scripture, not by man-made strategies.
The tension between convictions and preferences is tightened in the local church. Far too many people confuse preferences for convictions. We will have a passion to make our traditional church contemporary or we will hold to our precious Sunday School as if Peter himself went to Sunday School as a child. We dig our trenches into fight over our strategic preferences and ignore Biblical convictions.
Many are asking great questions about who the church is, how should it be structured, and for what is its purpose. However many get caught up reading pragmatic church growth books with brand new strategies, rather than studying in God’s Word for the answers. Yes, God has given us great freedom on how to do church, but He has left us with some guidelines. We spend so much time wondering what God is leading us to be as His church all the while forgetting that we have His Word right under our noses.
What are your biblical convictions about the church? Are you confusing preferences for convictions? Pastor, as you lead your church are you building your church on God’s Word or the next cool hip church growth strategy?