AS TIME PASSES, questions change. Back in the 1960s when I became a pastor, the primary faith question was, “Is it true?” College students, teachers, scientists, and others wanted to know the truth as presented by Christianity. Study groups, classes, conferences, and conversations went on and on about the convictions and claims of Christianity. …
Today, the questions are different. In the church, as in much of life, “Who benefits?” is more important than the validity of certain beliefs. So the primary question becomes, “How can the church benefit me?” For this reason we see persons “shopping’ for congregations that can provide the most.
If local congregations buy into this mentality, the temptation will be to market the church like a secular product. Churches will focus on marketing strategies that hope to bring in key demographics of church-goers instead of focusing on the basic spiritual needs of their congregants and communities.
Our purpose is not to market the institutional church like one would market a new restaurant. We have a larger purpose: to help connect persons to God and one another through Jesus Christ. …
Asking ourselves what we believe about God and what God wants to do through us is more important than “How can I benefit?”
– Joe E. Pennel Jr.
God, Cornbread, and Elvis
From page 52 of God, Cornbread, and Elvis: Ponderings on Ordinary Graces by Joe E. Pennel Jr. Copyright © 2013 by Joe E. Pennel Jr. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
What question do you have for the church? Share your thoughts.
Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.
Exodus 20:8, NRSV
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This week we remember: Francis of Assisi, October 4).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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