Thursday, March 22, 2012

Around the Horn

Only a triple today but here goes …

First, here’s an interesting article on mortgages, strategic defaults, and Christian responsibility. I don’t know enough about mortgages and defaults to vouch for this, but it gives a perspective that we should consider. I have had opportunity to counsel people on this issue, and it is a hard one. But we should be informed as to some of the complexities of it.

At second, here’s a good read on Evangelicals and Influence: “It’s difficult to present a compelling witness when our own practices and lifestyle are often indistinguishable from the larger culture.”

And at third, a good from from Brian Croft about measuring ministry by numbers. He quotes John Brown, a 19th century Scottish pastor.

I know the vanity of your heart, and that you will feel mortified that your congregation is very small, in comparison with those of your brethren around you; but assure yourself on the word of an old man, that when you come to give an account of them to the Lord Christ at his judgment seat, you will think you have had enough.

Now, there is no glory in being a small congregation. All things being equal, more disciples is better than fewer disciples. More people hearing the  Word is better than fewer people hearing it.

But numbers are intoxicating, easy to measure, and sometimes devoid of real meaning. R. Kent Hughes was surely right about Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome, a book well worth your time.

The truth is that that some take being small as a badge of honor for their failure to “compromise.” I fear that many of them use it as an excuse for a lack of passion to reach people. They talk about evangelism. They talk about the work of God in saving sinners. But that’s all. They are lecturers. Thinkers. Intellectuals. Not practitioners.

God may have your church small for a reason. And be content to be faithful, to preach the Word, to love people, to tell them the good news of salvation in Jesus alone.

But beware of the tendency towards satisfaction. Beware of the tendency towards being at ease in Zion. And by all means, beware of judging others are compromisers because they have reached more people than you have.

1 comment:

Jim Peet said...

Interesting article on how Canada is more conservative than the US on mortgages: How Canada avoids U.S. problems: shorter amortization schedules, no "teaser" rates, a greater down payment is required, no mortgage interest deductions on one's taxes .

In the last recession, the Canadian banks did not have the same mess as the US banks