Establishing a Church Group
Where is the True Church?
This question is asked by thousands of believers each year; and the
answers to it are more varied than one can imagine. To make matters
worse each denomination claims to be the True Church, the
single channel of truth through which the Almighty is doing His work.
You'll hear of groups calling themselves the Remnant Church
the First Church, the True Church, the Last-Day
Church, the Apostolic Church, the Church
of God and so on. The list is long. We understand that
there are currently over 2000 Christian denominations on earth and
the number is still growing. What a tragic situation is this: that men
and women in their millions should delude themselves
into thinking that they can monopolize the Almighty's message and
imagine that He is working through their group alone and not
The truth is this: Yahweh can no more be monopolized by a single
believer or group than He could be by a single farmer or farming
corporation. He is too big for that, and the sooner denominational
leaders realize this fact the better it will be for the believers in their
groups. Admittedly, the Almighty does work more successfully
with some groups than with others; but that depends on how faithfully
they apply the rules He has set in motion for the growth and
production of spiritual harvests.
Yet, paradoxically, according to the Scriptures the Almighty God of
Israel does have only one church - one body - on earth:
|1 Corinthians 10:
||17: “For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.”
|1 Corinthians 12:
||12: “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.|
13: For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14: For the body is not one member, but many.”
||18: “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead;”
||4: “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.“
The official register for this one body - the true church -
is called the Lamb’s Book of Life. It is the only
church register recognized in the courts of heaven, and if you do
not have your name in that book, then no matter where else
it may be recorded it will avail you nothing in the Day of Judgment.
To join the True Church, which has its register in heaven,
a person must have faith in Yahweh the Almighty God of Israel
and personally accept the salvation which He has freely offered through
faith in His Son Jesus Christ. (Yahshua the Messiah) In addition
to faith, which is the starting point of one’s walk with God,
a believer must exhibit his/her faith by endeavouring to keep Yahweh's
commandments. Faith, in other words, must find expression in
obedience. The moral laws we are expected to obey are recorded
in the first few books of the Bible. They are amplified and explained
in the Sermon on the Mount and repeatedly demonstrated in the
lives of the prophets, the Apostles and the Saviour himself.
But where on earth is the True Church? Can anyone point to
this or that denomination and say, “Here is the True Church
of the Almighty God. All its members have the required faith and they
are all obedient.” It would be wonderful to be able to point
to any group and say that with conviction. But the truth is we dare not -
because it would not be true. For the fact is, you will not find
all the members of the true church in one denomination. Nor will you
find many denominations which do not have at least one member of the
true church. In other words, the members of the true church are
at this moment in time scattered throughout the various groups of Christendom.
This conclusion shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone.
It is obvious. But one day soon, there is going to be ‘one flock’
under the Good Shepherd; and only then - for the very first time in centuries -
we will be able to point to a single company and say, “Here is
the True Church of God.” (John 10: 16) In the
meantime a believer has one of two options to follow if he/she wants
to “join a Church.”
- He (or she) may look around for a Christian group whose doctrines and behaviour are nearest to what the Bible teaches, and worship the Most High each
Sabbath day with that group.
- Or if such a group does not exist in the area, he may, under the Almighty's prompting and guidance, consider starting one.
The following guidelines, and do remember that these are
guidelines not rules, are given to those who wish to raise up
a Sabbath-keeping group in their area. This step should only
be taken in extreme circumstances, when it is not possible or beneficial
to worship with an already established group in your area. So do not rush
off and try to establish a separate congregation when one which has virtually
the same teachings already exists in your locality; because if
there is no special need and leading from above, your efforts will end in failure.
1. The Group’s Name
There is much argument between groups as to the name of the church;
but from the book of the Revelation we can plainly see that it is perfectly in order to
refer to a congregation by its local name. e.g.
Strictly speaking, these are descriptions not names.
A name by definition is a proper noun by which a person
is called. For example consider the statement:
‘Sarah, wife of Abraham.’
- The Church of Smyrna (Revelation 2: 8)
- The Church of Sardis (Revelation 3: 1)
- The Church of Laodicea (Revelation 3: 14)
‘Sarah’ is her name, the proper
noun she would answer to if called: whereas the phrase
‘wife of Abraham’ describes her
relationship with Abraham. It tells us that she is his wife.
But the proper noun ‘Sarah’ tells
us what her name is. In the same way the phrase
‘The church of God’ is not a name,
but a descriptive phrase telling us to whom the
church belongs. It belongs to God. It is God's church.
As for the church's name: it would be more accurate to call her
Zion or Israel. The point being made here is
that the phrase ‘church of God’ is a
not a name, but a descriptive phrase. However, for the
purpose of identification, it is perfectly in order to use such
descriptions as names and many groups do.
The ‘church’ (the original word
‘ecclesia’ means “those
who are called out and set aside for God”) can
equally be described by the name of the town, the village or
the area in which the ‘called-out ones’
meet. In your case it could be the church or congregation of
(your town's name) or simply the Bible Class of (your street's
or district's name.)
Our name, A ‘Voice’ In The Wilderness - Canada
is an example of the use of a local name to identify our group.
We are nevertheless well aware of the fact that Yahweh works through
other believers and other groups just as surely as
He uses other farmers and farming corporations,
granting to each a harvest in line with their motives,
doctrines and performance.
Having a church register is perfectly in order. Registers were
kept in ancient Israel and can be extremely useful. They help
organize the work of the congregation and enable the leadership
to contact and inform the believers in the area as to the various
group activities being planned. But never forget that earthly registers -
useful though they may be - are no substitute for having one's name
on the Book of Life; because unless the members are
converted and have their names on that heavenly register, having
their names on the local register is of little value.
A Voice In The Wilderness - Canada does not have a
membership role, simply because our students are scattered around
the world and we have absolutely no way of knowing their spiritual
standing with God, or even what they believe. But, as stated above,
having a register of members is perfectly in order and has many advantages.
3. Doctrinal Aim
It should be the aim of every Christian to “fear God
and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
(Ecclesiastes 12: 13) This instruction appears in our letterhead.
Yahweh is the name of the Most High, the deity whom Abraham,
Isaac and Israel worshipped. Our group considers the A Voice In The
Wilderness - Canada Bible Course
of 21 lessons will further explain this aim and the fundamental doctrines
essential for the development of Christian character. Feel free to print and
photocopy those lessons in your group study. Correct doctrine is based on the
Bible and the Bible only: and may be summed up in the sentence:
Trust and Obey Yahweh.
In addition to the basic aim of faith and obedience, groups
should also have specific or individual aims. Here are a few examples:
These are just a few of the well known aims church groups could have.
The list is obviously longer and you may conceive many more.
- To preach the Everlasting Gospel.
- To put Bibles (or even smaller books, like one of the gospels) into the hands of those who are searching for truth.
- To visit the sick or those who are in prison for the True Word of God.
- To help the aged, the orphan, the poor.
- To speak or write against the popular evils being practised in our society.
- To highlight a particular truth that is in danger of being ignored: e.g. the
& Feast Days truth.
- To point out the disasterous corrupt errors in modern
Besides these group aims, each person in the congregation
should have a personal goal. The best, in our view, is holiness -
to be like Yahweh and His Son Yahshua the Messiah.
(Jesus the Christ) Other personal aims could be:
|Patience||Control the tongue & temper
|Meekness||Give others a chance
|Hospitality||Entertain the needy
|Generosity||Finance church projects
|Kindness||Help particular people
|Diligence||Maintain church property
|Wisdom||Write spiritual articles
|Love - Not as the world knows love, but as God loves us.
These are, of course, the fruit of the Holy Spirit and every believer
should aim to produce them. Understanding correct doctrine is important:
but never forget that doctrine is merely the spiritual skeleton, the chassis,
the framework on which character is built. The mature person, the grown-
up believer will always be recognized by the fruit of the Holy Spirit. In other
words, endeavour to translate correct doctrine into holiness.
A person's character, behaviour, manner, personality, thoughts, words
and deeds constitute the flesh that covers the bare bones of sound doctrine.
In the final judgment we will be judged by our behaviour, not our
knowledge of doctrine. Remember this fact.
The unseen leader of each group must be the Almighty Himself.
His Spirit should be allowed full sway to lead the leaders. Always
bear in mind that Yahweh does not measure by human standards.
He is not impressed by:
Others are impressed by these things: but the Almighty is not!
If you seek to establish a group in your area you should endeavour to judge
as Yahweh judges: not by the outward appearances, but by spiritual fruit.
Yahweh looks for:
- A man's good looks, wealth, educational qualifications
- Social standing, fame, material possessions
- Or even with his knowledge of the Scriptures.
Yahweh's warriors are often ignored by the world,
ridiculed and rejected by those who judge
by human standards; but in the final analysis they are the
ones of worth and lasting fame. They will be
the ones who will rule with Him during the coming millennium.
Examples of the types of leaders Yahweh chose are:
- Repentance, faith, gratitude
- Faithfulness, honesty, diligence and dedication
- A desire to understand His Word
- Obedience, which is faith in action
- Purity of heart, holiness.
In (Titus 1: 5-8) you will find a detailed overview of the kind of
believers who should be chosen as leaders. Qualities listed there are:
- Joseph: Disliked by his brothers, but holy and wise.
- David: Not highly esteemed by his family, even by his father,
but a man after God's own heart.
- Jeremiah: Totally rejected in his day, but bold and true
in the face of enormous odds.
- John the Baptist: Forthright and very humble.
- The Apostles: To all outward appearances, ordinary men,
but men who will one day sit and judge the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19: 28)
- Messiah: Rejected of mankind and crucified as a common criminal;
but one who was faithful unto death and who is scheduled to rule the mighty
universe as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
As you can see, these are extremely high standards, and you may
wonder if any elder can meet them all. But that is the goal. They
obviously can be met with Yahweh's help - so strive for them. If a
group ignores these Scriptural guidelines or engages leaders who
contravene these biblical requirements, you can be sure that
that group will pay the price in tears.
- They must be blameless!
- The husband of one wife. A vitally important point this one,
especially in this world of collapsing moral standards.
- Have faithful children who are not accused of disobedience,
violence or unruliness.
- Not self-willed.
- Not short-tempered.
- Not a drunkard or glutton.
- Not a brawler or contentious person.
- Not someone who is in the church for the money.
- He must be a lover of hospitality.
- A friend of good men.
- He must be sober minded.
- Elders must hold to the truth (Bible doctrine) and also
be able to teach, exhort and to convince the opposition.
It is not necessary to own a building. The Church (called-out believers)
can meet in a private home or a rented hall. Buildings
can be extremely expensive to maintain and should only be purchased or
built in exceptional circumstances. i.e. when they can be put to good use
by a large group. The early church held most of its meetings in
private homes. If, however, you can afford to build or buy
your own meeting place, then go ahead. Our group, A Voice In
The Wilderness, meets in private homes or hired facilities.
Use the tithes and offerings to cover local expenses and to
finance the various projects the group may wish to undertake.
Encourage the members (and we use the word
‘members’ to mean those who attend
the meetings) to pay tithes. A tithe is one tenth
of one's income. The tithe is Yahweh's: it belongs to Him and we
should all endeavour to return it to Him for the upkeep of His work.
(Deuteronomy 12: 6, Malachi 3: 10) See our article on
A group of even a few tithe-paying believers can accomplish
an enormous amount of worthwhile work for the Most High.
If at all possible, workers should give of their services free of charge.
This is how A Voice In The Wilderness - Canada operates.
We are all unpaid workers: but Yahweh has blessed us bountifully.
And, do not imagine it is all giving and no receiving. You may be sure that the
Eternal will repay everyone who supports the work by blessing him/her in this
life and in the life to come. God is no man's debtor. He will always give
you back a lot more than you ever give Him.
It is not always necessary or even advisable to engage
full-time workers. It's amazing how much can be
accomplished by part-time staff. This will keep
costs down to an absolute minimum; because the payment
of wages and the upkeep of buildings are by far the greatest
expense most church groups encounter. Both these costs can
be avoided in most cases, thereby releasing valuable funds for
church projects. Nevertheless, do recompense - with money if
need be - those workers who are in need of help. A workman is
worthy of his hire. But be cautious here because you will be
paying out with Yahweh’s money.
(Deuteronomy 25: 4, 1 Corinthians 9: 9, 1 Timothy 5: 18)
If possible organize the following meetings:
- Divine Sabbath Service (Saturday AM or PM)
This is the main meeting of the week and should last about one and a half hours.
It should be a time for prayer, Bible readings, sacred songs, sacred hymns and sermons.
See section 9 where the matter of study is dealt with.
- Bible Study/Prayer Meeting (On Friday Evening)
- When the Sabbath is due to begin. During this meeting
various books of the Bible can be studied - one or two chapters per week.
Discuss a few verses at a time. End with a session of prayer.
Encourage several believers to pray short prayers of a few minutes each.
Some groups have the prayer meeting on a Tuesday or Wednesday.
- Family Prayers
- All members should be encouraged to organize
daily, family prayers in their own homes.
This may consist of a Bible reading and prayer.
We would rate family prayer & Bible study
as the most important function in which a Christian family
can engage. Disastrous consequences await those who
neglect it. See point 9.
A Christian group may start with 2 or 3 believers. The Master
has promised, “For where two or three are gathered
together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
(Matthew 18: 20) He keeps his promises. It is, of course, nice to worship
with a large group of several hundreds or even thousands: but small groups
have some advantages which larger companies lack. The size of the group
is not the critical factor, so long as the Spirit of Yahweh is present.
If He is with you then you will be successful. If He isn't, then you
labour in vain.
9. Bible Study
The most important aspect of a group's activities is prayer and Bible study.
You will find that the strongest members of the group will be those who are
at the Prayer and Study
meetings. In this article Bible study will be briefly covered. Believers should be
encouraged to read the whole Bible through - yes from Genesis to Revelation.
It is surprising how many Christians have never done this. They have read
parts of the Bible, but never the whole book. And yet it is true to say that no
one will ever properly understand the message of salvation until they have
studied the Bible. In it Yahweh has detailed His plan in:
Encourage group discussion at the prayer and study meetings. Have a question and answer session. Members should be encouraged to study at home with their
families - mornings and evenings. The Scriptures constitute the spiritual food upon which believers live; and they should be read every day at least twice. Failure to
do so will result in faintness of heart and spirit, loss of faith and finally to sin.
- His Laws
- These tell us how we should live.
Spend time reading these to the congregation.
It is usually quite obvious which laws are ceremonial and which are not.
If you have difficulty understanding them, see our article on
- His Prophets
- These instruct, advise and warn us of coming events as we approach the return of Christ.
- These are the hundreds of real-life experiences illustrating
how the Almighty works in the lives of people. He will do exactly
the same with each of us - because He doesn't change. The real-life
examples found throughout Scripture should therefore be closely
studied by all who seek to understand how the Almighty God judges
There are several methods of preparing sermons. Here are two:
- Using the Bible Concordance. Select a subject and read
every text in the Bible about that subject. Then analyse those texts,
separating them into group meanings. What is being said, to whom, why,
by whom, for what purpose etc. Look for the instruction, the warnings
and the overall spiritual lessons in the examples. Remember many of
those ancient dramas are living prophecies with meaning for our day.
Then deliver the sermon - quoting the Bible texts. It is most
important to set aside your own ideas about the matter and to speak
only what the Bible is saying. Resist the temptation to preach your
own opinions. Preach the Word! (2 Timothy 4:2) Do this and you will
win Yahweh's approval.
- The second method of preparing a sermon is to select a
chapter in the Scriptures, read it through and then explain it
verse by verse. This is an extremely good method and was/is used by
some of the world's greatest preachers. You'll not need extensive
notes when using this method, because the chapter itself will keep you
on track. Read a verse then explain it - giving an example if need be.
Read another verse and explain it - and so on.
A Voice In The Wilderness - Canada provides
for those who may be involved in preaching and teaching the Word of God.
These are brief notes which have already been used at our Sabbath services.
They cover a wide variety of Biblical subjects, many of which are not dealt
with in our Bible Course.
The basic requirements for starting a group are:
A Voice In The Wilderness - Canada started along these lines
and over the years the Almighty has greatly blessed us. We have
had our setbacks. Indeed had we known the guidelines we are listing
here we could have perhaps avoided most of them; so we pass on this
information to you hoping that Yahweh will use them to guide those who
are making genuine efforts to raise up a Sabbath-keeping
congregation around this wide world.
- Yahweh must be with you.
- Your motives must be right.
- Why are you starting a new group in the first place?
Is it hurt pride, the spirit of competition, or what?
If the Almighty is with you and your motives are right, you will have success.
But if He isn't, then failure lies ahead.
- Your doctrines must be based on the Bible.
- They may be summed up in the phrase Trust and Obey,
or Fear God and keep His commandments. Beware of speculation
or following manmade traditions, no matter how attractive they may
appear to be.
- Choose a name
- Which either describes the particular goal you wish to attain,
or one that links you with the town or district in which you live.
- You must try to become self-supporting.
- The tithes and offerings collected from the congregation
should be sufficient to finance all your projects.
Try to live within your means.
In other words do not spend more than your income.
- You must have regular weekly meetings:
- Divine Sabbath Service, (Saturday)
Prayer and Bible Study. You ought to have a
group aim - a purpose for existence, a good reason for getting
started in the first place.
- You must be convinced in your own mind that come what may
you will begin and finish the work Yahweh has called you to do.
Oh it is so easy to make plans and ask the Most High to bless them with
success. Better that you ask Yahweh to lead you, to direct you to do His will.
If you do this, praying all the while that His Spirit will be with you,
then success will be yours.
Is it possible to take the Everlasting Gospel to every hamlet
and hut in the world? Yes it is possible. It is well within our reach with
His help. Is it possible to proclaim Yahweh's law to every soul on earth
and to demolish the errors with which paganism and unbelief have invaded
the Christian church? Yes, even this seemingly impossible task is well
within our reach, if the Most High continues to be with us.
Is it possible to batter down the very gates of hell and rescue those
who are virtually within the Beast's jaws? Absolutely so: this is not only
possible but it is going to be accomplished - soon. Yahweh the Almighty
God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel is about to do a universe-shaking act
of rescue, when He overthrows the Temple of Dagon, (1 Samuel 5:)
demolishes the altars of Baal and inscribes His law in the minds of
His people. Oh what a glorious and awesome day that will be. It is fast
A Voice In The Wilderness - Canada is greatly honoured to be
engaged in this work, especially on the Internet. We are delighted to have
this opportunity to share with you the great truths you have been studying
lately. Pass them on! Meanwhile, we continue to pray to the Master that He
will bless you abundantly with mercy, enlightenment, direction and spiritual
strength to serve Him as you ought to. And now may:
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee,
and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
(Numbers 6: 24-26)
Additional sermons regarding the Christian church are:
In the Son’s Name - For the Father’s glory.
Elder: Max W. Mader