Moderator: Neil Heath
Gene Scarborough wrote:http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2011/11/24/1138784?sac=Local
The above article describes two main Christmas events in Fayetteville, NC. One takes place at Snyder Memorial which is huge and rich in a poor neighborhood among many of the city's finest and most affluent. They always have some personal testimonies from Military moms who have their husband overseas or killed in action. It is touching in every way and requires a ticket to attend. I have attended it some years back.
The other, which I have not attended, is simple and "first come first seated."
I have chatted with Snyder members. Some have honestly said, "This is so big and involved as to be all consuming." It is a big show, but does it really meet the needs of people living around them and suffering in a bad economy like you can't imagine?
Here is the big question: Do gala shows at Christmas and Easter detract the churches which do them from real ministry in real ways to the real hurts and struggles in the last 4 years of economic disaster---as well a death through war?
I guess things we love--when criticized--draw a quick defense. I was gladdened to know there is a ministry attached to the show.
I have often seen churches with bazaars and other things done in pleasant surroundings to raise money for the poor. The problem I have is that few of the knitters of goods are willing to get their hands dirty actually hanging out with the poor!
I remember that man we met at the steak house that you befriended and got to know. Even though we concluded he was not serious about coming into a real world of work and maturity, he had a real follower of Christ going to his house and loving his kids rather than criticizing from afar.
You might compare your ministry (which drew criticism from your SS class) to that of those who only want to sing in the great pageant or insist you "follow protocol." That is what exactly I am trying to spotlight.
Gene Scarborough wrote:Stephen---I'm not sure what the heck you really mean.
Willingham---I know EXACTLY what you mean and it is heart-warming to know how authentic advice and counsel is the basis of good decisions even when the connection does not take place!
Please remember: I am not against a great presentation of Christ. I just have my problems when it becomes such a focus that no one goes out to serve.
Anyone here remember Joseph Baley's famous "Gospel Blimp" parable????
Gene Scarborough wrote:Agreed!!!!
Gene Scarborough wrote:Here is the big question: Do gala shows at Christmas and Easter detract the churches which do them from real ministry in real ways to the real hurts and struggles in the last 4 years of economic disaster---as well a death through war?
Sadly to me, my former church now charges for all the tickets for the Christmas and Easter productions, and although the ticket prices are modest ($3-$12), I abhor the fact that they've gone the route of charging for something that was previously promoted to be a gift to those in attendance and was free to anyone who requested a ticket as long as tickets were available. In my rather strong opinion on the subject, a church has no business presenting the gospel for a charge. I don't care how fancy the production. If you have to charge for it, you're spending too much to "wow" the crowd. To me, once you start charging for tickets to the event, it becomes first and foremost an entertainment medium with the gospel secondary, no matter what the church says. I refuse to attend such events.
Furthermore, I find it objectionable to attempt to justify charging for tickets by saying something like "we've got low cost seats for those that might not have a lot of money". Whoop di do.....so the "rich" folks get the preferred seating with the best views while the "poor" folks get the crappy seats. How worldly of you!! If you're gonna charge for seats, just do a flat rate and be done with it instead of segregating your crowd based on ability to pay.
Oh, man...I've gone into rant mode. Think I'll wrap it up.
Gene Scarborough wrote:Ed---
I think Matthew 23 makes it pretty clear that there are some empty ways to worship and follow God. The Pharisees were masters of the "Big Show."
Their approach was mind control and plenty of money paid them for a lack of total forgiveness.
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