It's a place that we hope you will be very happy...
You know, you two are very funny, I'd bet you could make it on TV...
Don't talk to me during "All My Children!"
I only wanted to make you feel welcome...
Make me feel welcome during commercial.
This dialogue between a foster child and the foster parent sounds eerily close to Contemporary Church.
First, let's get you in the door any way we can. We want you to be "happy!" Second, let's stand behind the pulpit and tell lots of jokes and stories to show how entertaining we can be!
Third, if something is more important to you, we won't disturb you, in fact, we will provide you with your own cell group and you can all discuss whatever you want.
Fourth, we mean you no harm, we apologize if we have offended you (we didn't mean to use Scripture in our sermon!) and...
finally, the person becomes so jaded by the whole experience that they are more lost than when they first showed up.
How sad it is when we lose our focus on what is important. Preachers -- there are people going to hell each and every day. Will you continue to stand behind your pulpit and do absolutely nothing to bring the Truth of God's Word to them? If the only reason you are leading a church is to see how many people you can get to come to "your" services, then we might as well pack up the bags and say "You Win!" on second thought, you don't win. In fact, God is going to judge you more harshly, so rethink your motive and please make sure you get back to biblical preaching. Be an expositor of the Word. Get away from "Entertainment Tonight" theology and do what is right. You never know who is watching you and wanting to be like you. If they don't see the Jesus of the Bible (the one who used the Ten Commandments to expose sin) being modeled by you, then they will expand on that and create and even more disastrous ministry which is sure to decieve many many people. All because you wanted to entertain the people.
If you are not a pastor but are someone sitting in church...
Do you go because the pastor is entertaining?
Do you go because no one can tell a joke like he can?
Do you go because it is "the thing to do" in your community, to be "seen" at that church?
Do you go because your friends go there?
Be careful, if Scripture is not being opened up to you (expository preaching), then you are only getting sour milk. It is time you get fed by God's Word. Challenge your pastor to quit the joke telling and the story telling and encourage him to go line-by-line on the Scriptures.
Oh, I used to really like Kristy McNichol. And I used to really like telling good jokes in the pulpit. Kristy was someone I was never going to have as my own. The jokes in the pulpit were something I should never have done in the first place. We make mistakes and hopefully we grow and learn from those mistakes.