Brad Banks leads an EFCA church called Faith Bible Church in McKinney, Texas. A while back he wrote a post at his blog about what an ideal church should be and how people were to engage. Its an idealistic view of church that happens through a great amount of kool-aid consumption. This post analyzes what the lead pastor of this EFCA church states in a blog post.
“Propaganda … serves more to justify ourselves than to convince others; and the more reason we have to feel guilty, the more fervent our propaganda.”
“The quality of ideas seems to play a minor role in mass movement leadership. What counts is the arrogant gesture, the complete disregard of the opinion of others, the singlehanded defiance of the world.”
singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 56:19-20 NLT
In this post were going back to the EFCA’s Texas and Oklahoma District to look at what an EFCA pastor says about church. I did some research on Faith Bible Church but there is not that much information about this place of worship. But lets look at what does exist.
Brief Look at Brad Banks and Faith Bible Church
Brad Banks originally comes from Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1995. For the next few years he worked in Young Life. In 2002 he entered Dallas Theological Seminary where he picked up a Masters of Theology in 2005. He joined Faith Bible Church in McKinney, Texas and became the lead pastor in May of 2005. He has pastored Faith Bible Church for the past 13 years. According to his blog he is the regional training director for Young Life in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. As an EFCA Church Faith Bible appears to be Neo-Calvinist in its theology. A look at Brad Banks Twitter account shows that he follows people like Ray Outland, Matt Chandler, Thabiti Anyabwile and other like minded individuals. At Faith Bible Church they recommend The Gospel Coalition and Desiring God at their website. Also it should be noted that McKinney is a part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex area.
A few years ago Brad wrote an article at his blog called, “What’s it Supposed to Be?” I would like to analyze and discuss what is said. From my perspective this article deals with an ideal view of what the local church should be. But there are a lot of issues that need to be raised, and I will get into that below. But let’s look at what Brad Banks says first.
I know this sounds like I’ve just discovered objects fall to the ground when you let go of them but I’m going to say it anyway. Summers in Texas are hot.
True, it isn’t just Texas, but where I live to the north of Dallas can be absolutely brutal. Walking outside in August feels like stepping into a blast furnace. Forget, “average temperatures.” Those numbers are meaningless. Any day between June and August that ISN’T a hundred degrees or higher is a win.
I’ve lived here for 11 years now. I’m not used to it but I can cope…until September.
That’s because my house is close enough to the local high school that I can hear the marching band practice when I leave for work in the morning. The drums and horns evoke a Pavlovian response that makes me think of sweatshirts and jeans. That’s what I’m supposed to be wearing, not shorts and a t shirt. It should be crisp and cool and not as if there’s a hair dryer blowing in my face. That’s not what September is supposed to be like!
If that’s irrational, I apologize. Blame the heat. What the weather is, “supposed,” to be is relative. Ask people from Alaska and Guatemala what winter should be like. You’ll get vastly different answers and neither one of them will be incorrect. Weather is allowed to be in the geographical eye of the beholder.
The local church is different. There are some things that are supposed to be.
Consider 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
Peter is quoting from the Old Testament and applying language whose original audience was Israel to the New Testament church. In doing so, he expands the meaning of the word priesthood.
In the days of the Old Covenant, a priest was a priest because of the family into which he was born. Was he or was he not a member of the tribe of Levi? That’s what mattered.
Under the New Covenant, a priest is a priest because they have placed their trust in Jesus Christ. Are they or are they not a Christian?
Under the Old Covenant that meant administrating the sacrificial system; burnt offerings of grains and animals. Under the New, it means living out the purpose for which Peter says God’s people are chosen, “proclaiming the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
People tend to view church much in the same way that they view the dentist or the place that fixes their car. They view it as a service provider. Has it been a tough week? Could the battery use a jump? Church should do the trick and as long as it does, we’re satisfied.
Obviously, I’m not against refreshment. Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink (John 7:37).” The problem is when we see our involvement as an exchange, when we see it as give to get.
Just like we pay to have our car fixed, if we expect the giving of our time or money to yield a return on that investment, we are falling short of God’s design.
When I was on Young Life staff, my favorite times of the year were staff conferences. I loved those 24 hours at the Holiday Inn in Zanesville because the room was filled with people who were putting it on the line for the Kingdom and I couldn’t believe I was one of them. I thrived on the sense that a small corner of the ministry was my responsibility.
That’s the way the local church is supposed to function. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Church is not meant to be filled with consumers of services provided by a professional staff. We are what Peter says we are: a royal priesthood. We should walk into Sunday mornings hungry to worship the God who called us out of darkness and privileged us with the shared responsibility of the advancement of His Kingdom. That’s His intention. That’s His design. What does that mean?
Discipleship is meant to be everyone’s responsibility. Evangelism is meant to be everyone’s responsibility. The same is true for care, service, and support. No one gets left behind if all are involved.
Do you see yourself as part of the team? Do you believe that you have a role in the discipleship of the body? Is it your conviction that people need to hear about Jesus and that God has equipped you to be involved in the process?
If not, what do you think the apostle meant in 1 Peter 2:9?
It isn’t easy. The temptation to see the church as give to get is real but when Christ died on the cross He didn’t simply pay the penalty for our sin. He supplied all our needs according to His riches in glory. We lack for nothing. We are therefore able to give.
Instead of looking for where to find life, trust the words of Christ who said, “Whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Analysis of Brad’s Blog Post
Before I start to analyze this article let me say that I think Brad Banks means well. I think he’s trying based on scanning his blog and trying to comprehend what he’s communicating. But I find some serious issues that need to be raised.
Sometimes in evangelicalism there are a lot of people who have a pollyanna view of the church. They are buried in a theology of a particular book or they have their head in the clouds. They are describing what church should be like and often they can be oblivious to what is happening on around them. That is what Brad’s blog post reminded me of. I saw something that was full of idealism and lacking in reality. The challenge in this line of thinking is that when problems develop, or issues arise these individuals can be the one who buckle down, claim you’re gossiping and saying, “It’s not that bad.” Yes the youth minister sexually assaulted a number of teenagers and fled and commits suicide but sexual abuse is not that bad or its not a major problem in the church. When problems arise these can be the individuals who dig the trenches and can make a bad situation worse.
There was another aspect of idealism that bothered me as I thought about writing this post today. Look at what Brad says about a Young Life conference. “When I was on Young Life staff, my favorite times of the year were staff conferences. I loved those 24 hours at the Holiday Inn in Zanesville because the room was filled with people who were putting it on the line for the Kingdom and I couldn’t believe I was one of them. I thrived on the sense that a small corner of the ministry was my responsibility.” Another translation is that I am the true believer. What Brad should familiarize himself with is Eric Hoffer’s classic work “The True Believer.” What Brad says is over the top from where I am standing. In evangelical Christianity conferences are the rage. Conferences are the way a church can make money form my perspective. Bring in a speaker, sell tickets, sell food, and push merchandise. Over the years I can’t believe how many conferences I have participated in. And just when you finish a conference they start planning the next one. When I was a student leader for Campus Crusade in Wisconsin I went to their Winter Christmas conferences regularly. The conferences for many people were like a high. You are sleep deprived, and not eating much and the endorphin kick in. People develop a high and then they can make decisions when they are not thinking straight. For me participating in an evangelical conference is really no different than looking at pornography. They both are a high, they both are unrealistic and they both can lead to surreal perspectives. That’s what stood out in Brad’s post. In such an environment he is putting it all out on the line. A line when all the people are on a high because they are truly committed. The kool aid has been greedily reached for, and wolfed down. And now comes the time that you are wiping it off your face with your long sleeves as you eagerly await more to consume.
Brad asks in his post do people see themselves as being part of the team? Do they see themselves as part of the church? I disagree with that in this one point of contention. For me the church shines in small ways. Many people think you have to sign your life away in a membership covenant. Others think you have to do a million church programs. I am amazed how many people who dive into a church and then ignore the people around them. When I was unsuccessfully recruited to Sovereign Grace here in the Washington, D.C. area. All I heard about from someone was all the church programs they did. That and the goal of getting people involved. In other words be a tool for the church and don’t give a damn about the pain or harm you cause in the process. If you can’t evangelize in a proper way or deal with the questions you cut your losses and run and focus on another person. I see that also in this post by Brad Banks. While Brad is pushing this kind of bubble I wonder how many people who plunge into this don’t know their neighbors, co-workers, colleagues or even the person they are standing next to while they watch their kid play soccer. As people are ignored Brad and others who think like him can have that kool-aid smile can say were giving it all for the kingdom.
That’s all I have to say for today’s post. Faith Bible Church in McKinney, Texas I will be writing about you again. Please take care!