July 16, 2012
The emerging church and contemporary churches seem to be on the cutting edge of church growth these days. The discontent and frustration seen in many hearts in our Baptist churches is not hard to see. Do the evangelicals have the answers? Do we need to tone down our preaching and move our music ministries to a more contemporary sound? I will be the very first to confess that we need to take a very honest and introspective look in the mirror. Every sensitive and spirit filled pastor is concerned about the relevance and effectiveness of his ministry in these days of gross compromise and moral and ministry open mindedness.
I recently came across the comments of two well-known evangelical leaders. I found their insight and thoughts both intriguing and honest. John Koessler pastored for years before serving as chair and professor of pastoral studies at Moody Bible Institute. In 2007 he wrote, A Stranger In The House of God. Chronicling his experience in various churches Dr. Koessler wrote, "Most of the Christians I know are disappointed with their church, finding it either too traditional or too modern. The sermon is either too theological or not theological enough. The people, too cold to one another or too cliquish. In the end, the root problem is always the same. It is the people."
In the Winter 2009 issue of Leadership, Pastor Mike Lueken wrote: "We are a culture of Christ-followers who pay far too much attention to whether or not our needs are being satisfied. And we have become a culture of leaders who spend far too much time orienting our ministries around the ever-changing preferences of our people. As we mature in Christ, might the goal be to develop a gut-level instinct to give less attention to what we are not getting from our church? Perhaps a step on the way to growing more Christ-centered is to accept our dissatisfactions instead of assuming they have to be resolved. Churches that spend too much time alleviating their people's dissatisfactions may be nurturing A Self-Absorbed Attitude Of The Heart That Needs To Be Nailed To The Cross.... To authentically lead people into deeper apprenticeship with Jesus, we must graciously and rigorously confront the raging selfishness that is alive and well in all of us."