Church In PJs

Oswald Chambers wrote, “The preacher is there as the representative of God — “… as though God were pleading through us…” (II Corinthians 5:20_.  He is there to present the Gospel of God.  If it is only because of preaching that people desire to be better, they will never get close to Jesus Christ.”

On Sunday morning, I caved.  The kids wanted to stay in a stream a live church service.  I wanted to go to a “real” church.  I caved, and we stayed.  We did church in our PJs.

I’m glad we did this.  It was quite the learning experience.  We commented out loud during the service. There were remarks about dress and lights and flat notes sung.  We were critical… out loud.  If we wanted a little more cereal in our bowls, we got up and got some. Weird.

Later, as Sherry and I walked the beach, she remarked how the live streamed church service was more observational than participatory.  We both noted how my kids noticed the absence of the Gospel.  It was preaching to get people better, but not necessarily close to Jesus.

live streamingI was and am extremely curious to all of this streaming stuff.  We’re moving towards a live stream of our services back at Cumberland.  I suppose there are benefits. The Gospel, if preached, goes global.  Cumberland belongers could tap into their church home if they are traveling.  Potential new people could check things out in a very non-threatening way.  Elderly and sick might also be able to take advantage of such technology.

I’m also mindful of the guy who painted my house back in Atlanta.  He and his wife do church in their pajamas every Sunday.  He loves it.  There’s no getting ready or hassling with parking and annoying church people.  Coffee mug, couch, and computer are all the necessary requirements you need.  Of course, missing are little things like accountability, community, loving others, and participating in the life and maturing rigors of a local church.  Observational versus participatory.  Sherry makes a good point.

I want to make sure we’re not doing the live stream thing JUST because that’s what large, growing churches are supposed to do.  My soul can’t sustain such a chase.

“The Intentional Church,” Randy Pope writes: “Large ministries, like large bank accounts, most often become monsters that devour their leaders.  Our goal as church leaders should not be to grow large ministries that reach unchurched people but to build discipling ministries that develop mature followers of Christ who, in turn, reach large numbers of unchurched people.”

I like that distinction.  Working to grow a large church is such an attractive trap for me.  A warning flare was sent up this week as another significant pastor bit the dust trying to build his church beyond his personal goal of 100,000.  He resorted to alcohol to sustain the madness but got out when the mess threatened his marriage.   God help me… us.

Pope’s book is such an excellent practical manual for building a deep, discipling church — “much different than the selfish-ambition monster that ultimately devours its leader.”

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