This page is a reprint of a post by Bishop Bob Hellmann. I’ve copied it to this page because his original post was made on his “My Blogs” Facebook page. Facebook doesn’t allow links to specific posts, just to a page. As time goes on and he writes more posts, his original post will drift further down on his page and will be much harder to find.
I did a direct cut-and-paste of his post here without a single change, so you can read it as he wrote it. The reason I did so is because I wrote a response to it on September 2, 2014. My post was entitled, For Those Who Are Struggling With How the Church Is Changing. Reading Bishop Hellmann’s post will help my response make sense.
– Karl Vaters
Why I’m Struggling With Church
by Bishop Bob Hellmann
I’ve tried. I really have! In fact, I’ve tried hard! I’ve tried to wrap my mind around so many things the modern church is doing and I’ve tried to bring myself into agreement with it. I don’t enjoy swimming against the current, and swimming alone, at that. I’ve wanted to change and fit in! I wish I could change and fit in. I’ve seen others change. Why can’t I?
So I’m going to tell you what I am struggling with. Maybe you can help me!
1. Dark sanctuaries that are as dark as a bar or nightclub. I have been told that dark sanctuaries help people come to church who don’t want to be seen in church. What? If you don’t want to be seen in church you will hate heaven! It’s completely light there. No darkness at all! I can understand why someone may not want to be seen in a bar, but church? Now, if you are trying to reach young people, I can see where this might be a tool to use. But for the rest, turn up the lights!
2. Sloppy dress. I know. The church got way off base with clothes and fashion in years gone by. That needed to be corrected. But now to slip out of bed, get in your jeans and flip flops, and throw on a tee shirt, and shuffle off to Sunday Service, is a bit of over correction to me. To go to a church where the pastor comes in looking like he just changed the oil in his car is not a plus. Dressing up in one’s best was mandatory for a meeting with the King. I’m afraid that the God of Heaven has become, to us, a Buddy and not a Royal. Dressing up was itself an act of worship, if done with a pure heart, and not to be seen by men. Bring back proper dress on Sunday mornings, but with proper motives!
3. The anti charismatic, charismatic church. I was saved and Spirit filled in the great Charismatic Outpouring of the 1960’s. Along with this outpouring came the gifts of the Spirit (and the fruit of the Spirit). We laid hands on the sick and prayed openly and unashamedly for healing and miracles. We prayed with power and boldness and broke satan’s hold over people’s lives. We did all of this publicly, up front, in view of all. We were not ashamed of the Holy Spirit. Fast forward the clock several decades. Praying for the sick up front, publicly, unashamedly on Sunday mornings is now thought to turn people off to the Lord. (It wouldn’t turn you off if you were the one sick or suffering!) So charismatic churches now don’t pray for the sick and suffering at all or if they do, its in a dark corner somewhere where no one will see it. This is where I absolutely draw the line. I will not deny or be ashamed of the Holy Spirit, even if it means I never pastor a church again. These anti charismatic charismatic churches are the ones growing by leaps and bounds. I’m sorry. I can’t bring myself into agreement with this.
4. Too much emphasis on music. The church has copied the world and entertainment industry. Lights, camera, action! Music is occupying a place in the church that it never occupied in the NT. Along with that are all of the musicians who can’t play without being paid large sums of money. Biblically, there is a 5-fold ministry. But the music industry in cahoots with the church has made it at least an 9-fold ministry. Add to apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher, the worship leader, lead guitarist, bass guitarist,and drummer. There are actually churches who feel that they cannot have a quality worship service if they don’t have a drummer. Insanity! Especially since music and singing is only one way to worship God. True worship is a lifestyle and happens every day of the week for the believer.
5. Children and youth overemphasis. People actually choose a church home today by the kind of children’s and youth programs that are available. In my former city there is a big non charismatic, charismatic church. Since its inception people have flocked there because of the children’s and youth ministries. No one, and I literally mean no one, has ever told me that they go there for the teaching of the Word of God or the moving of the Holy Spirit. In the NT God’s Sunday School plan was called mother and father.
6. Bass fishing. Really? We have to go to a church that has organized groups of men who go bass fishing? You can’t call a couple of buddies yourself and say, “hey, let’s go fishing Saturday?” We have to have the church arrange these types of outings now? And ladies, you can’t call some friends on your own and say, “let’s go to the mall tomorrow and have lunch?” There has to be a small group in the church for that now. Really?
7. Hamburgers and hot dogs. In the early church when they fished for souls they fished with Holy Spirit power, signs, wonders, and miracles. Today’s church fishes for souls with hamburgers and hotdogs. Or, fixing up someone’s house, or cutting someone’s grass, or who knows what. (Yes, if there are widows etc it’s good to do all of those things) I’m actually embarrassed by what some pastors post concerning what they are doing to attract people. There used to be a thing called prayer and the Holy Spirit drawing people.
8. The absence of strong, biblical discipleship teaching.
Luke 14:25-33 (NCV)
25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and said to them,
26 “If anyone comes to me but loves his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, or sisters—or even life—more than me, he cannot be my follower.
27 Whoever is not willing to carry the cross and follow me cannot be my follower.
28 If you want to build a tower, you first sit down and decide how much it will cost, to see if you have enough money to finish the job.
29 If you don’t, you might lay the foundation, but you would not be able to finish. Then all who would see it would make fun of you,
30 saying, ’This person began to build but was not able to finish.’
31 “If a king is going to fight another king, first he will sit down and plan. He will decide if he and his ten thousand soldiers can defeat the other king who has twenty thousand soldiers.
32 If he can’t, then while the other king is still far away, he will send some people to speak to him and ask for peace.
33 In the same way, you must give up everything you have to be my follower.
Remember teaching like this? I do! My pastors taught deep biblical truths that challenged one’s soul and commitment to Christ. Then we hit the altars! Openly, publicly, unashamedly, and in a brightly lit sanctuary!
9. Satellite churches where one basically goes and watches television from the home church.
I’ve tried. I really have! I’ve tried to like the new ways. I’ve worked at liking it. What’s wrong with me? I don’t like the new ways! I can’t seem to make myself agree with it or even understand it. So, I guess I’m destined to keep swimming against the current. Anyone want to swim with me?
– Bishop Bob Hellmann