Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Inviting People Back to Church

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



October 2 is World Communion.

An opportunity to experience/express unity through and for Jesus.


An opportunity to show the world how to overcome segregations and separations for the enfleshment of Psalm 133.


Hey, you, stop laughing!

O.K., I should have preceded all of that with the word theoretically.

It's true - the possibility of unity through and for Jesus along with the reality that the continuing disunity among people who say they love Jesus but won't love like Jesus is among the greatest continuing scandals in Christendom.

Titus 1:16.


One of the most sobering moments in my life/ministry (increasingly impossible to distinguish one from the other) happened while sitting with an elder during a high school football game as he pointed out people in the stands and walking around and observed, "She/he left our church about 30 years ago...25 years ago...20 years ago...15 years ago...10 years ago...since you came."

It happens.

Apart from rationalizations for the exits which rarely relate to Christianity as exemplified in Jesus and explained in Holy Scripture, I've felt compelled to write a letter to people who've left First's family over the past 30 years:


Our Lord has compelled me to write to people who have left our family of faith (invitation)at First Presbyterian Church (name) over the past 30 years for many reasons:

1. Our Lord loves you, the saints at First love you, and I love you.

2. Regardless of your membership status, as many who are not members of First know, I am always available to you/anyone as needed, appropriate, and gifted by our Lord:

3. We are not maintaining an "inactive" membership roll or keeping names on our membership roll of people who do not worship with us as able, support our life and ministry as able, and bear fruit with us as gifted. Surely, friends in nursing homes, serving in the military, or otherwise unable to be in worship, work, and witness with us are active members of the church as requested and revered. Just as surely, an "inactive" membership roll is a hypocrisy that has no place in the church. As one saint said, "You is or you ain't." As we move to the greatest revival ever on the corner of Lincoln and Main in Belvidere, we join hands with sisters and brothers
who love Jesus by loving like Jesus;

4. A big part of loving Jesus by loving like Jesus is exposed by a reconciling spirit. Paul's counsel/caution to Titus is clear: "They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him" (1:16). I am convinced the saints at First are reconciling and your relationship with Jesus is partially measured by your prayers and stepping orward to reconcile. Jesus even included this proof of partnership with Him in what we call The Lord's Prayer; and it was so important to Him that it is the only part of the prayer that He immediately explained (Matthew 6:12, 14-15);

5. Personally, I have often failed when it comes to #4; yet confessing that sin is no excuse for persisting in it. Hence, I have stepped out of my boat and taken the hand of Jesus in recommitting myself to the redemptive health of the Presbyterian Church (USA) through my increased prayers and participation in Blackhawk Presbytery, supporting churches like St. James Roman Catholic Church when they are attacked by witting and unwitting accomplices of anyone other than Jesus, inviting you to return even while acknowledging we will need our Lord's help to overcome initial hesitations and discomfort that He will heal by our obedience, aligning with anyone praying and trying to love Jesus by loving like Jesus, and not being concerned about the response, regard, or reward. I find nothing in the Bible to support divorce, wedging, schism, division, segregation, and other self-righteous separations. I am convinced God builds bridges, relationships, friendships, families, and reconciles, heals, helps, forgives, includes, enables, elevates, enlightens, and encourages. When we express the opposites, we expose a kinship not to Him. I want to join hands with Jesus and you to model Someone better;

6. If you have found a new church home, praise the Lord! We want you to stay and grow and glow with His for Him. If you have not found a new church home, return now. You will be glad you did, your reconciling spirit will model Someone better, and the world just may be attracted to Jesus through you; and

7. Divorcing one's self from the Body of Christ is divorcing one's self from Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture. While we want you to be active in the life and ministry of His Church and don't esteem one part of the Kingdom over another, there are very, very, very important eternal as well as existential matters at stake in being a member of His Church.

Simply, we want to encourage the integrity of our relationship with Jesus and you; and we do not want you to miss out on the revival that has come in concert with our Blessings Campaign and marvelous renovations/expansion, exciting offerings in programming, and the fidelity of our worship services and expanded liturgical leadership.

If you would like to pray with me about this, I'm in the chapel just about every Sunday from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Blessings and Love!



I'm not suggesting the preceding is a paradigm.

It's a hastening.

We don't have much more time to be faithful if you know what I mean.

Besides, my pewsitting and pulpiteering friends, we have no credibility when it comes to heralding reconciliation through and for Jesus while remaining irregular, irascible, and irreconcilable.

Paul: "Imitate me as I imitate Jesus" (1 Corinthians 11:1).




Blessings and Love!


Reformed Catholic said...

FWIW ... the PC(USA) has finally come to your way of thinking about the inactive roll of members.

Its been finally done away with. In some churches that means about 30 pages can be ripped out of the red church roll book.

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

I have been asked if the "letter" incorporated in this edition can be lifted, paraphrased to the particular, and used.


I am reminded of a cartoon in Leadership magazine many years ago.

A young songwriter/singer behind the mic says something like this: "Jesus gave this song to me to help people grow closer to Him; and if you use it without paying proper royalties to me, I'll sue your..."

Go for it!

Crystal said...

Dr. K.,
You SOOOO have HIS heart!
Love and blessings

Janet said...

Good disclosure...

"You is or you ain't."

Jesus says, "Follow Me.".

The time to decide may be very short.

Step out of your boat before it is too late...

Jesus is waiting with unending love...for you...

He wants an intimate, dynamic, living relationship... with you...

He says, "Choose this day...Follow Me."

The consequences of that choice are for all eternity...

Again...good disclosure.

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

Thanks, sister!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I believe I will take you up on your offer to utilize this!

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

Praise The Lord!