There have been so many comments and questions on this series that I promised I would try to respond to some. First, let me first say that I don’t consider myself some kind of Christian Yoda who knows all, so I’m just sharing my thoughts, not the “right answers.” Second, I don’t have a ton of time right now, so I’ll only be able to respond to a few and only give short answers. Third, I may post a few of my favorite comments later during the day. So here we go:
“Why should people bother coming to church (on Sunday mornings) if the pastor isn’t supposed to feed them?”
Answers: Wow, there’s a lot. And I think this question actually shows how we’ve gotten confused about church… so: (1) I’m not saying the pastor shouldn’t feed people or that it’s wrong to get fed at church. I’m saying that it should be something extra for Christians, not what they depend on for their spiritual sustenance. Just like going to a restaurant is a nice change of pace to get fed on a lazy day and get some food you wouldn’t get at home… (2) I think we want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, and meeting with other Christians on Sundays helps us with that – singing together, fellowshiping, etc. (3) Sunday mornings can be one of the places where the pastor gets to teach people how to feed themselves. (4) This is like saying: “If a basketball coach isn’t going to teach his players how to play basketball during half-time, why should the players even go into the locker room?” Well, maybe the players need to be inspired? Maybe they need to be reminded of what they already know? Maybe he needs to get in their face? Maybe they need some encouragement? (5) I could keep answering this question forever, I’ll stop.
“Does Forefront spend as much time developing Christians into missionaries as it does reaching out to non-Christians?”
Answer: No. But we need to. Please pray for us that we do a better job with this.
“Maybe lazy Americans … or single moms … or you name it … need to be fed by their preacher because they’re lazy … or don’t have time … or you name it.”
Answer: I feel for people who don’t have time or whatever, but the issue is one of intimacy with God. If I’m too lazy or too busy to spend quality time with my wife, we’re not going to have a great marriage. We could go to a weekly 30 minute seminar on marriage (or a weekly counseling session) but if we don’t spend decent quantities of quality time together outside of the seminar (or counselor’s office) we’re still not going to have a great marriage. So … even if you go to a church with the greatest preacher ever, if you don’t spend a lot of time with God outside of Sundays, you are not going to have a great relationship with Him. And it’s about a relationship with God. Now we can trick ourselves and pretend it’s about knowledge, but it isn’t.
“Why does Forefront produce people who have a ‘I’m not getting fed’ attitude?”
Answer: I think we produce less than most churches, but yes, we do have some. Why? Maybe because (1) We’re all naturally selfish and lazy (including me!) and so it’s easy to fall into this kind of thinking for anyone, and (2) Christian culture is so pervasive even our people get bitten by it – we live in an odd time where you can be exposed to other church’s preachers on the radio, podcasts, Christian books, etc. and so the church you go to is not going to be the only influence on how you think and approach God & Christianity.
“The last time I checked, God doesn’t talk back. Not lately, anyway.”
Answer: I disagree. God still speaks to us today. If not, it wouldn’t be much of a relationship, would it? God still speaks, the issue is whether we’re listening…
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