Thanks for sharing Sean. I see what you mean. Yes. Ben made some big claims and you are certainly correct that some people will just expect kindness and not think anything about it. I have actually experienced that quite often, BUT there will be those who will respond and those are the ones we are reaching.
I spent over a decade ministering in the county jail to many women. I taught bible studies in the jail, visited their homes, brought them to church, and coached their births in the hospital. I was often called a Pollyanna. Your words kind of made me feel like that again. And I guess I do tend to be optimistic, but I serve an amazing God! Out of the many women I ministered to only about a dozen turned their lives around. BUT that dozen was worth it. And time will tell if some of the other women may change after God finishes His call to them through someone else.
Yes, you are right that there isn’t always a vibrant Christian to pop up in the place of a cultural convert. And that’s one of the things that frightens me about our culture. So much of our youth seem to be going down a dangerous path. But I also see through church history that we tend to get stagnant in our way of worship and need to be shaken up. I’m thinking of the desert fathers and St. Francis and Luther and Calvin. And it sure seems like we need some shaking up.
One interesting thing is that when I was in Bible school one of my assignments was to tell what I would be looking for in a church if I were to relocate. My first two things were 1. a good biblical teacher and 2. good worship that draws us into the presence of Christ.
Then, when we moved here, I found myself in a church where the pastor preaches the same sermon every Sunday and the worship was sadly lacking. Yet, my husband and I saw that they had an incredible outreach to the community and really loved one another in spite of enormous differences in church backgrounds. We have been there five years now and the result is that we have the pastor attending bible school with us and I have gathered a worship team together. So now, if I were looking for a new church I would be looking for a group of people where I can be stretched in learning to love.
I do miss the teaching and worship at the big church I used to attend, but I never had the sense of real connectedness we have here. I do think going smaller might be a good thing. After all, the church is God’s people. I got lost in all those people before.
Just some thoughts springing out of yours. Thanks for sharing!