Tuesday, December 9

Tuesday Thought

GREAT QUOTE from Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan... from his latest book, The Prodigal God:

"Jesus's teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day. However, in the main, our churches today do not have this effect. The kind of outsiders Jesus attracted are not attracted to contemporary churches, even our most avant-garde ones. We tend to draw conservative, buttoned-down, moralistic people. The licentious and liberated or the broken and marginal avoid church. That can only mean one thing. If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners do not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did."

What's your thoughts on this... do you agree? Disagree?

What churches are "nailing" it, and are drawing the kinds of people that were following Jesus?


Rindy Walton said...

Ouch. Unfortunately, in many churches this is true. What is often created is a "cool church" that is attracting "cool Christians" who think that by "being cool", they are doing their part to reach out. It's a feel good mentality that's completely missing the whole point.
There are some who are "nailing" it--using "cool" simply as a tool, not as the "product" itself.

Bob Kellemen said...

Pastor Darren,

That is a great quote.

Having been a pastor and now ministering to pastors, perhaps part of me wants to defend pastors. Like Senator Lloyd Benson said of Senator Dan Quale, "I knew Jack Kennedy, and you are no Jack Kennedy." Well, none of us are Jesus and none of us can attract (or repel) people like Jesus did. So in one sense, I want to cut pastors more of a break than Tim does (and I have great respect for Pastor/Dr. Keller).

Also, the iterant ministry of Jesus is not he identical calling of a preaching/teaching/equipping ministry of a local church pastor.

Perhaps the better question might be, "Are our churches equipping the congregation to be Jesus-like in attracting and connecting with the irreligious?" To me, that's the calling today, and that is the more relevant application of Jesus's ministry compared to the calling of local church pastors today.

But I'd be glad to hear people disagree with me...the discussion could be fascinating.



Good points... from both of you guys. ;-)

Bob, I wouldn't necessarily disagree, really... but I do think it's a both/and. I like the point you made about churches equipping believers to be more Jesus-like, and I think Keller hit that... at least, the fact that believers have a responsibility("the practice of our parishioners") as much as do pastors.

Alot has been made of pastors and the DEPTH (or lack of it) of their preaching... but I think just as much emphasis needs to be placed on the DIRECTION of our messages: do we prepare our messages with the expectation that unbelievers will be present? (this is sometimes a struggle for me, honestly) Or is most of our preaching believer-centered? Is it relevant? (there's that word!) Jesus spoke differently to the crowds than He did to both believers (disciples) and the religious (Scribes/Pharisees).

So, I hear you... I don't think we can put the ENTIRE onus on our pastors (of which, of course, I am one), but I do think it's a reality that there are many, many who fit the description of Keller's quote.

Jason said...

Very Good Quote:

I do agree that we are not attracting the same type of people that Christ attracted. I would contend that alot of today's churches are not motivated by the same things that Christ was motivated by during His Ministry.

Rob said...

I've been thinking about this a lot. It would be interesting to talk about more with ya, PD.


Rob, always love talking with you, my man... just let me know what's up. ;-)

Jason... where do you see the "motivational disconnect" between Jesus and many of the contemporary churches of today?