Since 1990 or thereabout, there had been an upsurge of some crop of preachers that have started churches I refer to as ‘Church of Adam’ in our nation and continent. Before then, majority of our churches have been following the pattern of Jesus in the Bible, but since then, there had been a gradual shift from the core of Jesus’ church to a church that is more Adamic in nature. Sadly, most young preachers of today know next to nothing about the church our Lord Jesus Christ promised to build in Matthew 16:18. Almost everyone that has or is newly planting and leading churches is copying the pattern of the ‘Church of Adam’.
A. What is An Adam’s Church? Gen. 5:1-3
God created Adam in His likeness, but after falling into sin, Adam begat children after his own sinful image and likeness. Adam sinned principally because he wanted to be like God, gained secret knowledge and be accepted, by listening to His wife, against the clear instructions of the Lord. In one word, Adam wanted to be a celebrity, outside God’s will.
Adam’s church therefore is a church that is patterned after man’s image, religiosity, disobedience and sinful nature. The following are marks of an Adam’s church:
➢ A church where the preacher is a celebrity, wants to be a celebrity, thinks he is a celebrity and desires to attract worldly celebrities.
➢ A church built by man’s educational, social and class considerations.
➢ A church built on the person, image and personality of the preacher.
➢ A church where sin, sinful nature and evil passions of men are overlooked.
➢ A church that whitewash evil and focus only on the positives.
➢ A church of high religiousity but no spirituality or relationship with God.
➢ A church that does everything to attract the creame-de-la-cream of the society.
➢ A church where your fashion sense, financial strength and business acumen are crucial and celebrated.
➢ A church where your private, personal and moral lives is your private affairs.
➢ A church that makes God to work for you even if you make Him angry everyday by your lifestyles.
➢ A church where the pulpit is entertaining, celebrating and compromised on scriptural truth.
➢ A church where your business, financial and material achievements are the measurement of God’s favour upon you.
➢ A church where the whole Bible is a closed book and other books are used.
➢ A church where the physical structures, buildings and facilities are top notch, even though the people are spiritual kwanshiokor.
➢ A church where prophecies, prophetic acts and prayers are prominent, nothing on discipleship.
The church of Adam has produced more cultural, nominal and religious Christians today than in past centuries. Church of Adam is found among Pentecostals, Charismatics, Orthodox, Mainline and Independent churches. This is a very popular mode of churches today. I have found myself in trouble on few occasions because I was invited to a celebrity church and I preached the message of Jesus there. Because of this, I was blacklisted since then from their pulpits!
B. The Church of Jesus – Matt. 16:18; 18:20; Eph. 5:26-27; 1 Peter 2:9; Matt. 5:13-16
Jesus was full God and full man, however, He only used His human attributes during His earthly ministry (John 4:6; Matt. 24:36). He is the Founder, Foundation and Head of His church (1 Cor. 3:11; Eph. 2:19-22). Jesus did His public ministry for only 31/2 years and produced eternal results. He did not only start the church but also demonstrated examples of church growth for everyone of His disciples to emulate.
✓ He started alone.
✓ Won 12 disciples
✓ Grew to 70 disciples
✓ 120 disciples in the Upper Room.
✓ 600 at His ascension – 1 Cor. 15:6
✓ Explosive growth through His trained disciples.
✓ The church still thriving over 2,000 years later.
There had been no movement like the church Jesus started in the history of mankind. That church has survived kings, presidents, emperors, and serious persecutions. His church is more impactful than any government, populous than any other religion and life transforming than anything else.
Here are marks of the Church of Jesus:
✓ A congregation of those who are called out of sin, and from serving Satan and idols.
✓ An assembly of the redeemed, transformed and liberated people unto the Lord.
✓ A church of saved, sanctified, separate and distinct people unto the Lord.
✓ A congregation of disciples, devotees, and dedicated worshippers of Jesus, irrespective of tribe, class, status and tongue.
✓ An assembly of people that live to please God, obey His word in every area of their lives and different in values from sinners around them.
✓ A church that loves the truth, lives the truth, walk in the truth, and stand in the truth of God’s word in their daily and private lives.
✓ A fellowship of believers that are in the world, but the world is not in them because they are not of the world.
✓ A gathering of people that are true lights that dispel darkness around them.
✓ A gathering of people that are true salt that sweetens and preserves.
✓ A church that lifts up and lives for Jesus unashamed, proclaims Jesus by deeds and actions and seeks to bring others to Jesus relentlessly.
✓ A church that rebukes sin, fights sin, and stands against corruptions of every kind.
✓ A church that demonstrates love, compassion and devotion to each other’s well-being and welfare.
✓ A church that prevails and overcomes the tricks, traps and temptations of the enemy against her.
✓ A church that is careful not to bring reproach and derision to the name of Christ through controversial doctrines, practices and lifestyles.
Every local church must be patterned after the church of Jesus, irrespective of name, location, denomination or philosophy of operations, because it is only the church of Jesus that will survive the world.
C. Which Church Are You Building? – Romans 5:18
Jesus is the last Adam that has come to undo what the first Adam did. The church of the first Adam will never make the heaven of the last Adam. Until you begin to pattern your church according to Jesus’ church, you are doing a work that will be cast out of heaven at the end.
➢ Return Jesus as the Foundation of our church – 1 Cor. 3:11
➢ Lift up Jesus and His word as your Lord and source.
➢ Imbibe the strategies of Jesus to lead your church.
➢ Adopt and adapt the principles of Jesus to grow the church.
➢ Raise people to Christ-likeness, not your own image.
Further Reading: “Church Growth Principles of Jesus” by Bola Akin-John