The story is told of a Caucasian woman who, after boarding a flight from South Africa to England, realized her seatmate was a dark-skinned African man. She was not pleased with this arrangement and expressed her displeasure to a flight attendant.
As politics in many ways continues to divide our cities, states and certainly nation, one important question arises for us as believers: How do I remain committed to my principles and continue to stick up for what I believe is right without alienating those who most need the love of Christ (i.e., those who may be unbelieving and see me daily)?
A steeple is perhaps the most distinguishing architectural feature of churches. When you see a steeple, you think “church.” There was a time when churches were at the center of villages. And the steeple, pointing to heaven, indicated this community belongs to God.
In the previous column, I noted evangelism is alive and well even though it may not look like “old-fashioned soul-winning.” Instead, the 21st century approach is imbedded in the church’s ongoing service, morphing into new shapes which are culture-sensitive.
But moderate Baptist churches also need to ask the hard question: Is that enough?
During the 1970’s, I was pastor of a wonderful young church. The membership was composed of young families with lots of young children. It was an ideal opportunity for an energetic young pastor like me.
However, I quickly realized we had a problem. I could not accommodate all the pastoral expectations of the congregation.
The shift over the last few decades in church has been noticeable — and that’s a good thing. We have gone from wearing suits and ties and dresses and skirts, to wearing our jeans and holding our iced lattes as we gather for Sunday service.
And gone are the days where we hear the explanations for last Sunday when we missed.
In recent years, I have had the opportunity to travel overseas a few times. Each time that I have visited a foreign land, I have returned to the United States with a renewed confidence in the formation of God’s Kingdom in the here and now and how God consistently works through people who simply make themselves available to God’s presence.