jriccitelli wrote:I love you Matt (Platonically speaking), your heart is in the right place (as usual), and my pastor has the same heart and love for people also. I know in your heart you want the same exact thing as I do – people saved and growing together in Christ –
I’m going to use your analogy and say Sunday morning is a failure (because fellowship is not the main event, if it ever happens) because all were given is an appetizer, at best, and never receive the meal. And there is no one to blame but the pastor.
I'm confused. Why should something be called a 'failure' simply because fellowship is not the main event or hardly happens at all? Fellowship is not the ONLY good thing that can happen in the world (nor even the church!).
My pastor also wants to reach the nominal and newish, evangelize and such. And so do I, this is why I am saying this is not the way to do it, train your disciples and ‘they’ will reach the other sheep – let the sheep reach the sheep – Jesus sent ‘them’ out.It seems as if the pastor thinks the disciples are supposed to go out and bring the unbelievers ‘to him’, no, the disciples went out and brought the unsaved to ‘Jesus’. Once they become followers of Jesus ‘then’ they were brought into the fold.
This is the either/or fallacy. Why should we have to choose between sending the sheep out to make disciples and inviting would-be disciples to come in? Indeed, Jesus advocated both approaches in his personal ministry. I, for one, think there should be a balance of 'come and see' and 'go and tell' evangelism ministries. There are a lot of lost people, so a both/and approach seems preferable.
The preacher can have a tent meeting - on Saturday - don’t lord over the assembly of the disciples, on ‘the Lords day’.
Here, we have 2 differences of opinion.
First, you seem to think that Sunday is the God-ordained day for Christian fellowship. I don't. I think it should happen everyday. I do not consider Sunday more sacred than any other day. Evidence that the early church utilized Sunday in a special way is not the same as saying that is a biblical command.
Second, I do not see why Sunday (Even if you consider it the special day) could not include BOTH the large assembly to hear a sermon AND then a time of more interactive fellowship. Indeed, tons of churches do it that way.
The disciples can bring the unsaved to the Church, but let ‘the Church’ show them Jesus, isn’t that what pastors keep wanting us to do? My new pastor wants more people saved, first he did the evangelism messages and the alter calls when he first got to our church, I looked around, and uh, as far as I know everyone in our small assembly here is a believer, ‘already’. This assembly has been the same group for two years and some for 20 years, and they have heard the pulpit messages for just as long. I have had a conversation with probably every single person in the assembly at some time, they are all believers.
It is good to know the context from which you speak. I work with 2 churches.
1 is 20ish people and they could probably all be described as Christians. We have a pretty interactive service. There is about 20 minutes of sharing prayer concerns and praying for them). I do 'preach' but I continually encourage others to share insights or ask questions during the sermon (it is not a monologue). We sing together and fellowship afterwards as well.
The other church has a Sunday morning service with over 200 people. It is not usually very interactive (sheer numbers largely dictate that). But there are LOTS of non-Christians or fringe Christians there. That's a good thing. The Sunday morning service is a 'come and see' ministry for people who are already somewhat interested in learning more about Christianity. As a staff, we use that service to meet people so that our church can follow up with them and invite them to discipleship groups.
OK so everyone is saved, If our pastor ‘knew’ the congregation ‘first’ he would not have had to devote 3 Sundays to this (he could of just asked some of the elders who may seem to be riding the fence, which is why I was encouraging him to have a couple get to know one another days first. I think that would have been a lot more productive), anyways…
In a setting where everyone is already saved, I agree.
OK, so why aren’t they evangelizing, or growing?? Well I have observed that of the 5 ongoing weekly bible groups only one of the five has an interactive style, all the other teachers dominate the meetings and lecture from 75-99% of the time. And some church members stay in these ‘same’ groups for years! On and on it goes, no one in this church really knows much about anyone else. I do make an effort to get to know everyone, yet except for a couple of the elders and me, no one knows much more about anyone ... gotta go now
I would largely agree with your assessment of your context. I would just caution you about applying the critique across the board. Every context is different and many pastors have noticed the issues you've noticed and, frankly, have addressed it years ago in positive ways.