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Evangelistic Endeavor -- 12 (Tues, 9/19)


As you can tell by now, I usually go a few days without posting and then post summaries for the last few days. I should be much better at writing down a few thoughts every night to help me write the full posts but I haven’t been doing that. Anyways, I honestly can’t remember what happened Tuesday before the meeting. I know we had class and did stuff but don’t ask any more questions. I told you this thing was a marathon and everything is just all jumbled together.


Attendance continues to be low, 40-50 maybe. It looks like we have the same visitors and maybe one or two new visitors a night. Tonight the topic was on unmasking the antichrist but it really was a sermon about how the Sabbath changed to Sunday. It had the usual documents from the Catholic Church saying they had the authority to change Sabbath to Sunday, etc. At the end he actually made an appeal for people to keep the Sabbath this coming week and go to a church where people worshipped and kept the Sabbath. Around 10 people came forward to make that decision. We ended again at 9:00.


Apparently the evangelist made a mistake in making this call to worship this Sabbath. You shouldn’t make this call this early in the series and it should be made when they have a chance to keep the Sabbath immediately. Now they have time to re-think things. Also, we have two Sabbath morning celebrations planned but aren’t going to happen until Sept 30 and Oct 7. So now we are worried about people coming to the church and doing things as usual. This is really funny to me. We are trying to make the church more visitor friendly and do things more like the series and make sure it’s really good. I asked the question: “Aren’t we just setting them up for failure when we’re all gone?” It’s clear that the church has some serious struggles right now and it’s not a healthy place for people to grow in Christ. So, what’s going to happen when we’re gone? Of course, the stories in the Union papers only cover the number of baptisms and not what happens when we leave so we won’t worry too much about that.

I love the Sabbath and want people to keep and find joy in it. However, I just couldn’t get terribly excited after tonight’s meeting. I personally don’t have a burden to convert other Christians to Adventism. If it happens that’s fine but it’s not my burden. My concern is KINGDOM growth not CHURCH growth and all we’re doing is church growth.

Another weakness now is that we are covering too many tough topics in a row. They say you need to spread them out and do more simple sermons about family and health to break things up. Tomorrow night has 2300 days on the schedule so it won’t let up. I also think we’re hitting this things way too early in the series. People are just beginning to trust us and we need to spend more time focusing on what unites us, then going to what makes us different. Also, the extreme church bashing is not a good idea.


Anonymous said…
I have enjoyed your journal and most of the things you have talked about I have agreed with. Probably the only area I might raise a question is your phrase "My concern is KINGDOM growth not CHURCH growth and all we are doing is church growth." I believe very strongly in Kingdom growth. I am not sure what you mean by not being concerned by "Church growth. If you are talking about new followers of Christ rather than changing brands than i don't have a problem. Please be careful however about what you call church growth."Yes I hate the fact that we like counting baptisms and not disciples. I get very worried when as in my case, a conference president I worked for could see no difference between a Christian of another denomination becoming an Adventist and a person discovering Christ for the first time. I believe many of our churches are sick and that many are in need of either a burial or a resurrection. I also think as a denominiation we have a very weak ecclesiology and I wonder if it is reflected in your statement. I appreciate that kingdom and church are not synonimous. Discussions today seem to try and hold Kingdom growth and church growth in tension. I don't believe they should be. According to my reading of the Bible, "God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be the head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything and in every way." Eph 1:22,23. The church is both Christs body and the fullness of Christ. Some of my friends tell me they love Christ but don't like the church and refuse to be part of it. That is just unbiblical. How can I love Christ and not his body? Sometimes it sounds like some of us just to want to do a labotomony of Christ and take the parts of Christ we like.
I have a very high view of the local church. Working right, it is the body of Christ and his fulness. That is why I am sensitive to phrases that could hint at not being interested in church growth. I want desperately to see healthy church growth as part of Kingdom growth.
trevan said…

Thanks for the challenge and making me clarify. When I talk about just doing church growth I am referring to converting other Christians. I don't agree with your Conference President that converting a Baptist and an unchurched person is the same thing. We have to focus on the unchurched. The reality is that we focus on converting other Christians because it's easier and provides better stories and numbers for the union papers.

I also don't like how many people refuse to be part of the church but love Jesus. This can be an easy excuse but I also don't blame them. I honestly believe that some people should stay outside of the church because of how toxic and dysfunctional some churches are. Being in the church might destroy someone's faith completely. What do we do with converts when the local church is struggling and has some major problems?

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