The Summit Church
On October 18 and 19, right here at The Summit Church, we’re hosting a conference called “Centered and Sent.” The idea is that the more centered we are in the Word of God, the more sent we become as the people of God. Centered and Sent is going to focus on how the church can stay radically distinct and still be culturally relevant.
It was a day everyone in Israel would talk about for centuries to come. Solomon had built God’s temple, and during their very first worship service, God’s presence had come so near that the priests themselves couldn’t even set foot in God’s house. What do you think you would have done? If you saw God face to face, in all his majesty, how would you respond?
People love to speculate about why pastors fall the way they do. You’ll hear theories about theology or church size or, most often, personal boundaries. I’m all for good theology and wise personal boundaries. Those decisions are vital. But in every case I’ve seen, there’s one thing in common—isolation. The difference between those who persevere and those who fall often comes down to this: close community around them.
A few times a year we issue an invitation for hearers to be baptized on the spot. Failing to determine whether someone understands their profession of faith before you baptize them is recklessly irresponsible. For this reason, many pastors require a waiting period between a profession of faith and baptism--attendance at a class, etc.--before they will administer baptism. I believe this to be a well-intended, but unbiblical and dangerous, solution to the problem.
I’m not sure why, but learning and teaching the Bible has fallen out of fashion within the megachurch movement. But if we don’t focus on teaching our people the Bible, what are we doing? You see, Jesus didn’t try to outwit Satan, though he probably could have. He didn’t try to exert his divine might to drive Satan away, though he could have. When Satan attacked Jesus, Jesus quoted Scripture.
Early in my pastorate, a well-meaning pastor told me that we should not think that much about sending during our first ten years; we should focus on building up our church locally. I know he meant well, but I have come to see this as very bad advice. Inherent in the call to follow Jesus is a call to follow him in his mission, both to our neighbors and to the nations.