Thursday, June 07, 2012


The Self-Help Seminar

iMonk once carried on about "Christless preaching." He identified several categories
  • Sermons based entirely on Old Testament stories.
  • Sermons that teach lessons and principles.
  • Sermons dominated by personal narratives.
  • Sermons about moral and cultural problems.
  • Sermons that talk about a vague and undefined “God.”
  • Sermons in which Jesus is a minor character.
He goes on to postulate all sorts of "whys." But this is what nails it:
The most distressing reason for the disappearing Jesus is the pragmatism of the current church growth culture. If the church growth gurus were telling their flocks of ministerial admirers that the way to grow a megachurch was to preach Jesus and to focus sermons on Christ, it would be happening. In large measure, it’s not happening because the church growth experts don’t believe it works. It isn’t seeker sensitive. This is why some preachers are purposely avoiding Jesus, and instead talking about life issues like “success” and parenting. They are hoping to “hook ‘em” with the church program before they “cook ‘em” in the frying pan of commitment to Jesus. This bass ackwards approach is remarkably successful, and it apparently a hard habit to break. Jesus increasingly isn’t showing up except at the Easter and Christmas pageants.
As they say in the sales game, the ol' bait-and-switch. It is indeed a remarkably successful marketing/sales tactic, but it is also irritating. How many retail outlets have angered you when you went in for the advertised special and ended up being told they were out of that, not expecting anymore, but over here was....

There is something inherently dishonest about bait-and-switch - immoral even. So why should the church be doing it? To build numbers and pay for all those salaries, that's why. OR perhaps to support the genuinely interested "customers" from the gawkers. But are there really any gawkers in this situation?

We all have to ask ourselves is that is what we want to be a part of. It's an interesting dilemma.
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