Pastor's Blog

The “marketing” slogan we’ve chosen for our church is “Faith, Families, and Friendships”.  Let’s talk a bit about how my philosophy of ministry works its way out in that slogan.

The initial basic (but crucial) concept is that “Faith, Families, and Friendships” refers in the first place to connections among Christian believers. 

I was surprised to discover when I came to evangelicalism that many in the evangelical church seem to believe that the chief purpose of a meeting of believers is to persuade unbelievers to become believers.

In many churches the sermon every week is a “salvation message” – evangelical jargon for “persuade unbelievers to become believers”.

In some churches, the pastor closes every message with an “invitation” – evangelical jargon for “ask unbelievers to become believers” – even if the sermon had nothing to do with that topic.

More recently evangelical churches trying to reach unbelievers have adopted the philosophy of “the seeker service”, in which anything that might be offensive to unbelievers – e.g. references to sin, repentance, judgment, hell – are removed and the “service” is oriented toward the comfort and enjoyment of unbelievers. 

These approaches are at different ends of the spectrum, but they are, in my opinion, on the same spectrum – orienting the church meeting for unbelievers instead of for believers.

I umpire high school baseball.  One of the requirements of umpiring is attendance at umpiring meetings during the season.  We discuss technical rules of baseball, positioning on the field, handling difficult plays, and managing unruly coaches.

Suppose every meeting was not about improving umpiring skills but was instead a plea for those in attendance to choose to become umpires.  What a pointless waste of time that would be! 

I’m not saying Christians shouldn’t evangelize – we obviously must – and we will talk about how that fits “faith, families, and friendships” in upcoming blogs.  But the church is made up of believers, so we start with believers and what we’re trying to do with them.   

And we start with building the faith of the believers that choose to be here; with strengthening, guiding, and defending the families and family values of believers who want to raise their children in the faith; and with growing meaningful bonds of friendship between believing families that can support each other as they endeavor to maintain their faith and the faith of their children.

 

 

 

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