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Monday, November 23, 2009

Cold Heart, Cold Church

I don’t think a big church with a small heart is acceptable to God. I think He prefers a small church with a big heart, although there is nothing wrong with numeric growth. The infant church in Jerusalem grew mightily in response to Spirit-empowered preaching, but heartfelt fellowship characterized that church.

When church visitors receive a friendly greeting and a firm handshake, they are more likely to return and call that church “home” than if they are made to feel unwelcome. A pastor’s friendliness can’t compensate fully for a congregation’s coolness, but it can certainly set a good example for the congregation. As a former pastor, I have visited more than a few churches where the pastor snubbed me (no, I am not imagining this). Apparently, he felt threatened and didn’t want a former pastor in “his” church.

I admit I evaluate a sermon’s worth by its biblical, theological content, and I flinch emotionally when a pastor uses bad grammar; but when a pastor snubs me, he pushes me over the edge. I tell myself enough is enough and decide not to return to that church.  

I wonder how many other former pastors have encountered similar unfriendliness? I wonder, too, how many people from all walks of life have visited a church with a small heart.



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