I was listening to the Jimmy’s Table podcast this morning as he interviewed a local Charlotte, NC pastor. They discussed the recent wave of Facebook Live and other video/streaming church services and that brought up a few questions. Will church members go back to church when this is all over? Why send tithes to a church in your city when you could watch a live stream or listen to a podcast from a pastor anywhere?
I understand the significance of high production value. Our desire is to bring the very best before God in his house. A congregation expects, as well they should, for the preacher to be prepared. Sermon prep begins on Monday or Tuesday (and sometimes weeks or even months in advance) not on Saturday evening or before church on Sunday morning. Bible teachers and worship leaders, soloists, music directors, choirs and praise band members are all expected to put in time working together and practicing. And in this day and age you need the crew in sound, projection and lighting to go over the program, discussing transitions and the order of service. There is nothing wrong and in fact there is a lot right about devoting time and energy to prepare for worship. But what has slowly happened over the past 20 or 30 years, from my point of view, is that worship has morphed into a spectator sport. Authentic worship is not something we are to sit and watch. I don’t know who said it first but the term I like to use for that activity is worshiptainment. I do not believe that is what God desires. Continue reading →
It’s Sunday morning. I don’t normally post on Sundays because there are so many other things going on. But just a short reminder. Today’s devotion from Our Daily Bread is titled Plodding for God. There is a link in the left-hand side bar. The scripture is taken from Hebrews 6 and it shares the story of William Carey, British missionary to India. Continue reading →
I saw a quote the other day, see if this sounds about right.
“It is now common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction is God. One can only conclude that God’s professed children are bored with Him, for they must be wooed to meeting with a stick of striped candy in the form of religious movies, games and refreshments.”
Those of us who have made church a part of life for many years may not even be aware of the “church culture” we surround ourselves with. It’s not necessarily a bad thing but we need to understand what is taking place and how it can effect our ministry and witness. Let’s begin by defining some terms:
culture: a particular society that has its own beliefs, ways of life, art, etc. (Miriam Webster Online) subculture: a group that has beliefs and behaviors that are different from the main groups within a culture or society (Miriam Webster Online) Continue reading →
First, a word about society. Our culture at large has pretty low expectations for behavior. Honesty, morality, decency and work ethic are no longer expected from most people. Slipping in a few minutes late, taking home a few office supplies, riding the clock a few minutes here or there is what employers and co-workers expect as normal these days. People will do what they can get away with, at school, at work, at red lights without cameras, filing their income taxes, etc. I’m not talking about embezzling corporate funds, I’m talking about the “little things” that supposedly everybody does, from running errands in the company car to flirting with the waitress.
Hopefully Christians – I said hopefully – attempt to rise above falling expectations. Continue reading →
Take at look at this church sign. This was posted in front of a small church in Norfolk (England, not Virginia). Would you be offended? Even if you were not a believer, would you consider taking action against the church? A passerby was offended but then it gets really weird. Robert Gladwin, age 20, called the police to complain:
“It is my basic understanding that Christianity is inclusive and loving in nature. The message being displayed outside of the church could not be further from the often uttered phrase ‘love thy neighbour’.” Continue reading →
UPDATE:The SBC will vote next week, June 11 or 12, on a resolution encouraging all of its 16 million members to withdraw support of the Boy Scouts. 4,000 troupes sponsored by the SBC and 100,000 scouts would be directly affected. Read that full story here.
By now you’ve heard that the Boy Scouts will be lifting the ban on gay members. The change will take effect on January 1. The ban on openly gay leaders will remain in place, but both sides agree it’s only a matter of time.
I expect many local troupes will suddenly find they are unwelcome at local churches. Not on Sunday morning, but during their regular scout meetings in what would otherwise be an empty gym or fellowship hall. Churches that currently share their meeting space or even storage areas with Boy Scouts are suddenly going to see the Scouts as a “gay friendly” organization. Before it comes up at your local church, let me tell why this is a bad idea. Continue reading →