For some reason as I speed along in what likely is my last decade of full-time ministry there are far more questions than answers. Several questions keep recurring: 1. Why are baptisms the sole measure of evangelistic growth in our churches? 2. Is the purpose of evangelism to …. fill the seats in our churches …? 3. Does being a follower of Jesus mean simply attending church regularly? 4. How do we measure life transformation…..by adhering to a set of doctrinal statements; by a set of behaviors: by some other standard? 5. When we pray for revival exactly what are we praying for?A return to some ‘better’ time in our history? A return to a theocracy? A return to full churches and a culture that respected the church?
I am not deliberately being contrarian – I have friends (you know who you are!) who are much more effective at that – but after nearly 40 years of pastoral ministry I continue to bump up against the same questions. I admire men and women who appear to have solid answers to these type of questions and I read them and follow many of them on social media. I’ve read their books (no, I really haven’t adopted listening to podcasts – prefer to read) and tried to catch the foundations of their thinking. As I preach and teach in a community in which I have lived for over 25 years it occurs to me that some of our evangelistic efforts are interpreted as attempts to reclaim some lost vision of America or to see our buildings filled to capacity.
Two final questions: 1. Is there safe space to ask these questions and not get labeled and categorized? 2. Am I the only one asking these questions?