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Thursday, November 10, 2011 | Comments (35)

Executing faithful church ministry boils down to just a few essentials—a high view of God, the absolute authority of Scripture, sound doctrine, personal holiness, and a biblical view of spiritual authority. Those are essentials to any biblical philosophy of ministry.

But the modern love affair with pragmatism leads to compromise on every point. Every. Single. Point.

So, for the next…however long it takes…we want to turn your attention to a truly Christ-centered, gospel-centered, Word-centered approach to ministry. Here are some of the main points we want to address:

  • the purpose of the church, the proper place of evangelism and church planting
  • the role of preaching in the church’s purpose, a profile of truly biblical preaching
  • the true qualifications for leadership in the church
  • the “promotion” of Christianity, or what’s the proper way to attract unbelievers to the church?

We want to help you avoid ministers and ministries that are more about franchising and brand propagation than they are about biblical fidelity. There’s a way that seems right to men—opinions about the church’s purpose, biblical preaching, church leadership—and we want to help you avoid the inevitable outcome of that way.

We want to help you identify and embrace faithful ministers and ministries. Take heart, there are many faithful who have not bowed the knee to Baal. They are too humble to promote themselves, and too busy to care. For them, ministry is not about drawing a crowd or building a fan base. Their single-minded aspiration is to live quiet, godly lives of faithful service in loving devotion to Christ, and to teach others to do the same.

We want you to embrace ministers and ministries like that, while shunning the other. We want you to be an encouragement to local church pastors who are qualified, hard-working, and concerned about faithfulness to the written Word of God, the Spirit’s book of ministry. We want you to attend, support, and serve in those kinds of churches. As you do, you’ll be part of Christ’s work to build His church, which is of eternal significance. That’s our prayer for you.

Travis Allen
Director of Internet Ministry


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#1  Posted by Pete Orta  |  Thursday, November 10, 2011at 10:02 AM

Travis, all of this is in good time. Thank you guys for tackling these for the sake of the gospel. You and J MAC (As we call him in our camp) Rock! ~ Pete Orta

#2  Posted by Frank Emrich  |  Thursday, November 10, 2011at 10:48 AM

This is what I have been praying for. Thank you.

#4  Posted by Charlyn Hampton  |  Thursday, November 10, 2011at 1:30 PM

This could not have com at a better time as stated in the previous comment! For me, a clearer distinction around Church Planting is needed. I struggle with this word and when it is used in the reformed churches because when I think of the word Church Planting, I immediately think of Tim Keller and Mark Driscol. I eagerly await more postings about this topic. I know that it is just a word but because it's being used so much, I'm hesitant when I hear a Christ-centered, gospel-centered pastor/minister say that.

Thank you!

Charlyn

#5  Posted by Sena Gbesemete  |  Thursday, November 10, 2011at 3:18 PM

much anticipated topic. Do not hesitate but feed us please. God bless and may the words of your mouth and the meditation of your hearts be acceptable unto our God.

With much love, in Christ,

Sena

#6  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Thursday, November 10, 2011at 3:31 PM

That encourages me.. Thanks, Travis..

#7  Posted by Lamar Carnes  |  Thursday, November 10, 2011at 4:10 PM

Churches that are having a great harvest of souls into the kingdom are following Biblical procedures for Church planting. Preaching clearly the Reformed Doctrines of Grace, the Gospel, God is pleased to draw multitudes in certain areas of our nation today, for which we all should be rejoicing about! When the "true" Gospel is presented, and when the true doctrines of the Reformed faith on issues relating to the Triune God and His attributes are being taught, and along with that, an encouragement that all of the saints should be passionate about "reaching the lost" and then bringing them into the body of Christ to be taught and hear the word should make us all rejoice. But I fear, many seem to be either jealous or just wanting to criticize others who are being blessed and for some reason think something is wrong - when there isn't anything really wrong! I have attended and studied some five large mega-churches which are Reformed and they all have a very high view of God, the scriptures, etc.! They are not perfect, and as they grow, they have to adapt to the growth the best they can until over time the Church can handle such large groups better. They are working on all of that! Before I would engage in heavy criticism of any person or particular group, I would encourage others to "go directly to the Pastor/Elders first and discuss any disagreements you may have. You may be surprised at the answers you would get! The Churches I am referring to are not prosperity types, motivational types, charismatic types at all. They are very Bible based works and they all have their own set of "challenges" just like any other Biblical church has. Let us pray for more awakenings and more Church plants as the Gospel goes forth in great power across America! And pray also the new Saints will be fed properly and developed for the Glory of Christ!

#8  Posted by William Simpson  |  Thursday, November 10, 2011at 4:16 PM

I would so like to see John write a book that addresses by name the many heretics of todays christian television and literature enterprises.

Jesus' first example of public ministry was to cleanse the temple of thieves, and make it known that God's house was to be honored. This is greatly needed today.

#9  Posted by Ryan Day  |  Thursday, November 10, 2011at 4:26 PM

The following is a real question and not a sarcastic comment.

Isn't it pragmatic to use blog posts and videos to express a point, convey an idea, a thought or a truth?

How are you defining pragmatic and why do the above methods not count as pragmatic?

Looking for some clarity, thanks.

#10  Posted by Ryan Day  |  Thursday, November 10, 2011at 4:38 PM

I am so thankful for Grace To You but I am really struggling with this one.

I just watched a video where Pastor John was excited about 10 million sermon downloads (and I am to) but is it not pragmatic to release the sermon archive online for free?

I get that the idea is to get the truth out but was the method pragmatic?

Am I defining pragmatism the wrongly?

#11  Posted by Travis Allen  |  Thursday, November 10, 2011at 5:42 PM

Ryan Day:

That's a totally valid question, and yes, it is pragmatic in the best sense of the word (i.e., practical) to use the Internet as a medium for conveying truth, to open the sermon vault, etc. But in that sense, it's also pragmatic to use your voice to talk.

The kind of "pragmatic" we've been critiquing is pragmatism, a way of thinking that makes practical consequences the ultimate criterion for determining truth and value. Pragmatism is a useful mindset when applied to technology, production, or evaluating workplace efficiency, but it makes for a horrible, destructive approach to ministry (e.g., pastoral, evangelism, church planting, missions).

So, we're not at all opposed to being practical--using technology (obviously), using means, or other practical considerations. We're concerned about an "end-justifies-the-means" mentality that uses numbers/results/stats to baptize a ministry methodology as divinely approved.

The Bible--by precept, principle, and example--is opposed to that way of thinking. God is just as concerned about the means as He is about the end. We're concerned to do God's work in God's way.

Does that help?

Thanks for your good, clarifying questions.

Travis

#12  Posted by Travis Allen  |  Thursday, November 10, 2011at 5:53 PM

Lamar Carnes:

I'm not sure who you are targeting with your exhortation, but as far as it goes, we agree with you. No church is perfect--John MacArthur is very humble about the imperfections of the church he pastors (I'm a member of it, so you know it's got flaws!).

But that's not what we're talking about in these posts (i.e., imperfect churches, warts and all, but on the right trajectory). We're talking about churches and ministries, pastors and leaders, who employ strategies from the church-growth playbook. In varying degrees, they are diminishing their fidelity to the Scripture.

We want to get a clear word from God's revealed Word to learn His view of ministry methodology. Who wouldn't rejoice in pursuing greater faithfulness to Christ and His will for His church?

Thanks for your comments.

Travis

#13  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Thursday, November 10, 2011at 7:25 PM

#7 Lamar Carnes " I have attended and studied some five large mega-churches which are Reformed and they all have a very high view of God, the scriptures, etc.!"

Lamar, I'm confused. Are these churches using "whatever it takes" to get people in or what? Or... are you supporting Travis' points? Where do you stand? I think I know but not sure enough. I'd rather not assume.

Also, since your comment about those churches is positive, would you mind naming them? I don't think they'd mind. In fact, I'm sure they'd appreciate the recognition.

Also you said," But I fear, many seem to be either jealous or just wanting to criticize others who are being blessed and for some reason think something is wrong - when there isn't anything really wrong!" Do you think if someone speaks out, speaks up, takes an opposite view, it always means they are jealous? And could you, would you be specific about who you think is doing that? Who do you think might be jealous?

Because you spoke in generalities, I'm a little lost.

~Thanks

#14  Posted by Dominic Bonasio  |  Thursday, November 10, 2011at 8:09 PM

Great post! This is so true. I just left a church unhealthy church and God led us to a faithful one. And the Pastor has his masters from The Master's Seminary!

Thank you again for standing for the truth when others don't, especially after viewing that 'Elephant Room' nonsense. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

#16  Posted by Adam Gupton  |  Thursday, November 10, 2011at 9:17 PM

As for the "elephant room" mess, David Platt it only served to show me that David Platt is the REAL DEAL.

So humble. I mean, Christ-like humbleness.

I was skeptical that he attended, but he was a light in the midst of darkness.

#17  Posted by Taylor Lett  |  Thursday, November 10, 2011at 9:25 PM

If I could make a request...

It might be beneficial to dedicate at least one article to positive pragmatism.

#18  Posted by Adam Gupton  |  Thursday, November 10, 2011at 9:33 PM

Pragmatism= "what works" over "what you believe to be true"

This had DESTROYED the church in America.

#19  Posted by Adam Gupton  |  Thursday, November 10, 2011at 9:46 PM

Pragmatism is considered the one true "American" philosophy. You can thank folks like Oliver W. Holmes and William James for this heresy.

I'm not an idealist, but a Christian, he didnt compromise for me...why should I compromise for others.

Truth=Truth

#20  Posted by Taylor Lett  |  Thursday, November 10, 2011at 10:24 PM

Adam,

Pragmatism, per Merriam Webster is a practical approach to problems and affairs.

For instance, pragmatism dictates we translate the Bible into English rather than insisting all believers learn Greek and Hebrew. Pragmatism is the reason you are reading this article on the internet rather than via a letter circulated among the churches.

The reason I think an article on appropriate pragmatism would be good is because we as Americans have the unfortunate tendency to assume that a neutral philosophy is good or evil based on the way it is used or abused. In dealing with error, it's helpful to understand ways in which we are susceptible, and ways in which others have slipped into error.

#21  Posted by Benjamin Mcmillan  |  Friday, November 11, 2011at 7:58 AM

Travis,

Thank you for your willingness to handle diffucult topics such as church ministry and your thoughtful manner of doing so.

Living in a sparsely populated area with conservative values is both a blessing and a blight. While the liberal anti-biblical views that some ministries struggle with are less obvious here, it is often the case that churches here try to emulate the "megachurch" growth model in practice and procedure.

It is my desire with God's grace and goodness to be both reverant and kind to those seeking more, or what seems as more, from church ministry and rigorously honest at the same time. Approaching the issue in a systematic, biblically practical manner is so helpful. It obviates confusion and focuses attention... thank you.

In His Name,

Ben McMillan

#22  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Friday, November 11, 2011at 8:52 AM

#20 Taylor Lett - Taylor, is using the word pragmatism in this series discussion stumbling you? If the errors of these churches were exposed without using the word pragmatic or pragmatism, would you be OK with that?

Also, do you think comparing the translation of the Bible into English with the newer version of evangelizing the lost or doing church to be fair? In other words, do you think that Jesus idea of what the church should be is no longer practical and that changing His way is no different than translating the Bible from Hebrew/Greek into other languages? You see no difference?

~Thanks

#23  Posted by Sanford Doyle  |  Friday, November 11, 2011at 9:40 AM

#20 Taylor

From Sanford,

Please do not let you "human reasoning" be a stumbling block. Human reasoning is fallen, corrupt and polluted. Biblical discernment must be used, the Scriptures our guide.

Compare your reasoning on the philosophy of Pragmatism with the practical teaching in the Bible. We need discernment.

We also need to listen to wise council when we get, as we do from people like Travis and Rebecca.

Taylor, a study on the Apostle Paul helped me a great deal. Very beneficial.

I find people's comments and rebuttals interesting, as they are similar to what I hear among friends, family and strangers.

Travis, I appreciate your commitment to spreading the light of the knowledge of the Gospel to sinners like me.

Thank you,

Sanford

#24  Posted by Charlyn Hampton  |  Friday, November 11, 2011at 9:48 AM

AMEN Mr. Allen.

Yes, no church is perfect and I am grateful to GTY for shedding more light on this topic because I believe many Christians or Christ Followers forget that it is God who saves and not man. We are simply instructed to give out the word, the "Gospel Message of Jesus Christ” and leave everything else to God and the Holy Spirit to do the rest. After all, isn't it God who draws and the Holy Spirit who convicts when an unbeliever hears the word (Gospel Message of Jesus Christ)? No amount of method, size of the congregation, approach, and or programs in the church saves or sways the unbeliever that God has called or predestined. It is the WORD that convicts, and it is the WORD that has supernatural powers to change the heart and mind of a sinner and not man.

This is why true qualified leadership according to the scripture is very important today.

#25  Posted by Brad Weidenhammer  |  Friday, November 11, 2011at 10:36 AM

Maybe I can shed some light on what "pragmatism" within the church is and how wrong it is from personal experience.

Someone above mentioned the need for discernment and they are bang on. I belong to a geopraphical area in Canada known as the "Bible belt" but you cannot find a true church here that is following the truths being taught in this blog about how to grow the church God's way. At first glance they appear to be and insist they are following these principles (taught here) but if you dig a little deeper there are many signs that suggest otherwise.

Topical preaching is one. This way they teach only the parts of the bible people want to hear - the good stuff - to get them in.

Sin is rarely mentioned and instead self-esteem is the goal. They take their que from the worlds view of what makes man happy and impose it on the church.

Emotionally driven "worship" both in music with sappy repetitive lyrics" and other forms like video's that appeal to good times together rather than the Truth that sometimes causes Godly discomfort is another way.

I could go on. The point is really that these churches use the same biblical language as true ones and appear on the surface to be the same. Problem is they leave you famished.

I went through this for years until I heard Jmac's cd package on discernment. I suggest you get it and listen. It will by the grace of God open your eyes up to the false kinds of pragmatism that have subtley invaded the Church like a trojan horse.

Highly recommend some of JMac's books also like "Ashamed of the Gospel".

I now belong to a truly bible believing Church that is not perfect but at least I now "go home full" being fed spiritually. It is small and growing but is focused on the truth and not the numbers.

Hope this helps,

Brad

#26  Posted by Ryan Day  |  Friday, November 11, 2011at 11:13 AM

Travis,

Thank you for your reply and clarifying your thoughts. I am a little concerned that you may be being a little short sighted. Not short sighted as it relates to the dangers of pragmatism in the Church, to that I agree with you and think you are right on. However it does look to me (from an outside perspective) that Grace To You and Grace Community Church are pragmatic with some of there methods. My Concern is that it seems that you don't seem to see it or recognize it and as a result accuse others who are using the same methods you guys do?

Now I understand that there are those that have bought into the philosophy of "pragmatism" (as you put it) and I do not think you guys have done that but I do think that you have insinuated that other prominent ministries have when in reality they are using methods to get the truth out that are very similar to yours.

It would be helpful to know who you have observed as pragmatic and who you have observed as have bought into "pragmatism." Could you give some examples and differentiate between the two?

Just so you know where I am coming from, I am a Pastor and often struggle with what we are talking about. I want to "do" ministry the way Scripture lays out and so I appreciate your posts. However it seems like you may be picking specks (in some cases) with a log in your eye. From my perspective I see you guys doing ministry in ways that the Bible has not specifically laid out and you justify its success bases on the measurable results (i.e. Pastor John's video on 10 million downloads).

Thanks for conversing with me....trying to work through this one.

#27  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Friday, November 11, 2011at 12:36 PM

#25 Brad, yes, that puts it all into perspective. You certainly were diligent in your quest and I appreciate that very much. And the subtleties you mentioned really take a discerning eye to notice them. Otherwise they are easily missed, aren't they?

I am helping a new believer and sent them John's message on discernment. It might be part of your package you mentioned? Excellent teaching. The article, for any interested, is called

"Discernment: Spiritual Survival for a Church in Crisis" which I think will be a good companion to what Travis will be teaching us here. It's kind of way to help us know how to stay out of trouble when it comes to picking a sound church.

#28  Posted by Brad Weidenhammer  |  Friday, November 11, 2011at 1:15 PM

Yes Rebecca - the article you quoted in #27 is the one I found so informative and enlightening.

If anyone is at all confused about this matter, get this resource and keep searching and praying for truth. You may be in a pragmatic church and not even know it!

Thx,

Brad

#29  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Friday, November 11, 2011at 1:48 PM

Ryan Day # 26

Thanks for your question, Ryan. We’re always grateful and excited to hear from pastors laboring in the Lord’s vineyard.

I’d like to address your concern(s) if I may.

You asked about pragmatism, what constitutes pragmatism, and which churches/pastors we believe represent a pragmatic approach to ministry.

As insightful as those questions are, to be honest my first response was “Did this guy just today begin following our series?”

Here’s why I ask.

A few months ago, we pulled together a long series of posts on contextualization from John MacArthur’s material on First Corinthians 9. Throughout that series—and the articles that followed—we defined pragmatism & contextualization, explained biblical and unbiblical ways to understand them, and then addressed how churches and pastors abuse those principles. Finally, we discussed the proper way to “be all things to all men.” That series spanned the entire month of September and Travis wrote a few thoughtful follow-up articles in hopes of answering questions like yours.

So before we discuss your questions and concerns, please take a long look at the series we featured on Contextualization, carefully read through Travis’ follow-up article, and then if you still have those nagging concerns, please bring some “concrete” examples of what you’re getting at back to the comment thread. Fair enough?

Thanks, Ryan.

#30  Posted by Charlyn Hampton  |  Friday, November 11, 2011at 1:48 PM

Thank You Rebecca and Brad, very helpful!

Charlyn

#31  Posted by Adam Gupton  |  Friday, November 11, 2011at 2:40 PM

"Pragmatists say that we should leave our deeper worldviews behind and find consensus about "what works" - but our view of what works is determined by what we think people are for. Any picture of happy human life that "works" is necessarily informed by deep-seated beliefs about the purpose of human life. Even the most secular pragmatists come to the table with deep commitments and narrative accounts of what it means to be human."

-Tim Keller

Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? Is truth relative?

#32  Posted by Taylor Lett  |  Friday, November 11, 2011at 4:05 PM

Rebecca #22,

If you'll reread my comments, you will notice (at least I hope I conveyed this) that I made no mention of stumbling or disagreeing with the use of terms. I fully agree that there is a sinful use of pragmatism. My observation was simply that many things are pragmatic, and many of them are within the bounds of the biblical witness.

Augustine touches on this idea when he speaks of eloquence. He points out that eloquence in and of itself is not bad simply because some men use it to adorn false arguments.

In the same way, pragmatism is a tool. The use of that tool is what determines whether an action is honoring to God.

So, to answer your question, I absolutely see differences in the things I mentioned and the things Travis mentioned. That is why I mentioned them. The similarity is that they are all pragmatic, even though they are not all wrong. There are some things which may be less obvious, and they require even more prayer and thought. That's why it is helpful to set a baseline for good pragmatism.

#34  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Friday, November 11, 2011at 6:26 PM

#32 Taylor Lett - OK, Taylor, I read your comment several times before I commented the last time. But I did as you asked. I read it again. And again.

By the way, it did occur to me later that maybe I shouldn't have used the word "stumble" among Christians. I was in a hurry and should have taken the time to find a better word that didn't have such a rub to it. I apologize. I should have asked, if the use of the word pragmatic was what you "took issue with" or if it was the errors exposed?

That said, I thought your comments read as if you were opposed to the use of the word and how Travis applied it. I'm slow like that sometimes. I am just now learning through GTY about churches that are pragmatic in that they will use almost anything to get their attendance up. I mean, I was always aware of some churches that did things that, quite frankly, didn't seem like church. I just thought they were false churches and not playing with a full bible. I didn't know there were so many that claimed to be conservative evangelical churches while justifying being absorbed with entertaining the lost to woo them in.

So if I understand rightly now, you do think it is wrong and agree with gty that these churches should not be using crazy antics (pragmatism) to get the numbers up? You do agree that they should use church for worship and it should be kept holy and acceptable before the Lord? And you do agree that it is possible to know what sort of worship Jesus finds acceptable including music and language? That there is no debate there? Right? You just think these knuckleheads doing all this crazy stuff like playing ac/dc during an Easter worship service are giving pragmatism a bum rap? Do I have it right?

~Thanks

#35  Posted by Job Cayomo  |  Friday, November 11, 2011at 6:38 PM

Thank you so much for your ministry. I've been listening to Pastor John MacArthur's preaching and it's so wonderful. It's been a great blessing to me. God bless GTY.

#36  Posted by Denise Grimes  |  Monday, November 14, 2011at 4:16 PM

This should be very helpful, Travis. Pragmatism is anti-biblical. The Master has already spoken on how to be saved, sanctified, and proclaim the Gospel (and even the structure of the church).

In all we do we are to glorify God and He doesn't take just anything we slap His name onto (Uzzah and the cart that held the Ark of the Covenant that tipped over is a good example--see 2 Sam. 6:1-8). Pragmatism puts man at the center, Scripture puts Christ at the center. Pragmatism is the ends-justifies-the means mentality; Scripture says the means is just as important and must be ordained as the end--and both are in God's hands and both reveal one's TRUE view of Scripture and God.

Mat 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Mat 7:22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?'

Mat 7:23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'

Many people do things in the name of the Master, slapping His name onto their "Christian" work, but its not of Him. It starts with the Lordship of the Lord in salvation and creation.

#38  Posted by Ryan Jones  |  Tuesday, November 15, 2011at 8:50 PM

Pragmatism as used in this article -

Yielding to the authority of practical ways to grow the church instead of the authority of the Scriptures when the two contradict.

It was practical for Saul to create evil alliances. However, it was disobedience to God's commandment.

It was practical for Abraham and Sarah to bring about a son by the use of her maid, but that was not God's way.

It was practical for Uzzah to stop the Ark from tipping over by catching it with his hand...but that was disobedience and it resulted in death.

Physicians are good, but because Asa trusted them with his health instead of the Lord, he died.

When practical means becomes the authority instead of the Scriptures, it is idolatry.

#39  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Thursday, November 17, 2011at 9:29 AM

Recalling how Jesus wanted to prepare Peter to lead the apostles, to lead the church & what he told him to do.

Reading from JM's sermon Characteristics of a Committed Christian, John says,".....disciples tried to do it on their own & they met with failure & they lost the intimacy of Jesus' fellowship." They lost what? The intimacy. They lost the intimacy of Jesus' fellowship. What could possibly be better than intimacy with Jesus?

We live in a world of thrill seekers. People want the adrenalin rush. People choose to have near death experiences all the time now & they consider it a sport. I heard a man, a doctor speak about this years ago, how kids now are addicted to the adrenalin rush and don't know how to sit calmly or quietly. He explained they now had to do risky things in order to feel alive. Wish I could recall his name. It was a really interesting study & made sense to me.

So first we gave this noisy, adrenalin rush environment to the youth groups.....so they would come....and stay....& come again. Thought we had to give them something off the wall. They thought so too.

Then.... that generation grew up & the adult worship "providers", who are likely products of that generation too, think they have to give the adults an adrenaline rush worship service. For me, it's like having your home remodeled & while the noise is deafening, you try to visit & have a meaningful conversation with your beloved. It just kills the moment.

Back to Peter. John's sermon spoke of the evidence or lack of evidence of love & commitment we have toward Christ. Peter was a perfect example. But what I pulled out of that for the sake of this article by Travis, is what Jesus told Peter to do so as to prove his love, his commitment.Jesus never mentioned numbers. He never said,"OK, Peter, I charge you with this. When I come back, I better see the church quadrupled in size."

Two times He asked Peter if he loved him, third time He asked if he liked him? Each time Peter answered yes, Jesus responded firstly, "Feed My lambs"(His babies), secondly "Tend (shepherd, guide)My sheep", and thirdly,"FEED (give proper nourishment to mature believer) My sheep".

Who are Jesus' lambs? Who are his sheep? Guests? The lost? No, they are the "believers". And the pastors are called to tend to them at every stage of development. To nurture, to teach, to correct, to equip, to love.

Lastly. Know what happens to infants in orphanages in countries where there isn't enough help to hold them, rock them, where they have little or no physical touch? They are diagnosed with "failure to thrive" syndrome. They don't develop normally. You could put DVD players over their little beds & play cartoons all day long. But if they have no intimacy with another human, they fail to thrive. Some, in fact, die. That is us too. If we choose entertaining, shock jock pastors, we risk an intimacy with Christ & we fail to thrive. We have a spiritual death. Sad.

".......Feed My sheep". John 21:17