Posts Tagged 'topical sermons'

When to call it quits

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine last night about the nature of churches. The fundamental question that came up was, when are we justified to leave a church?

At the local church I am currently attending, what started out as a humble, 70-ish or so people gathering at a movie theatre (read: only a dozen or so cornell students) within the last two years has attracted to nearly 200 regular attendees, and about 50 or so Cornellians. That being said, there has also been a noticeable shift in the nature of sermons within the congregation. Comparing a sermon series from last fall (Sermon series on the Sermon on the Mount, picking apart verse by verse to see the meaning of living out the Kingdom on earth) and this fall (Series on How to Overcome your fears, with fears from loneliness to spending too much money, to fear of God).

It’s not difficult to see that the direction of the church has moved towards more of a Christian advice-y, seeker friendly, relevant church that has moved away from more of its exegetical, Christ-focused preaching. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more churches like these all across the United States — in an effort to attract those within a community, to focus more on the benefits of Christian life and less on the atonement and sacrifice and glory of the cross — not as extremist as the prosperity gospel, but somewhere sketchily between.

But where do you draw that line? How do you maintain the wholeness and integrity of the Gospel while keeping its relevance to culture?

And,… for those attending said churches, when would it be okay to leave?

Personally, more often than not, I’d feel like I’d be coping out on a congregation by picking up my bible and notebook every time something like this happened. At my home church in Chicago, a number of members left when our English pastor left — only to return this past summer when we received a new one. But, what loyalty does that show to the church? Or are we not leaving because of comfort issues?

Sigh… who knows. Back to complex integration.