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Continuing with my thoughts about Pastoral leadership in a city...

We're in a weird age of church-growth and church-influence.

While we have greater inner-connectivity I'm concerned about what we're doing in American Christianity. We're certainly doing a better job harnessing cultural themes and re-creating parables to bring some culture to the gospel but I wonder if we're doing enough to bring the gospel to the culture.

Over the last 25 years we had some big leaders confront the culture and say "Enough is Enough" on issues like gay marriage and abortion. What we saw them do a poor job on was tackling issues like poverty and health. I remember going to a conference where this very overweight man made fun of the two big macs he had enjoyed that day but then he took about 5 minutes of his 'sermon' to go after homosexuality. That disgusted me.

Christian leaders don't get it right all of the time. I understand why my peers would run from church/state relationships. They are trying to reach a group of people who are turned off to what they've seen on CNN and FoxNews. I get that.

What I don't get however is why our All-Star Pastors aren't attempting to model the balanced approach to civic involvement. I'm not clear on why it's an all-or-nothing approach.

Truthfully I think the problem is more than simply a rebellion. Part of it I believe is an inability to think about more than one subject. Plenty of my favorite blogs all talk about the same things. If there is a CEO-type book out, I read about it a dozen times. If any one of a few big-name Pastors says something remotely interesting I see it quoted a few dozen times. I rarely see issues like politics, race-relations, history, government or science discussed on the Christian blogs I respect. I honestly hope it is by design and these friends just taylor their blog to their readers. Sadly however I think we're just a wave or two behind seeing Christian leaders again in our country who know enough about a lot of things to the point of being able to hold an intelligent conversation on a variety of subjects.

You see, our congregations aren't filled with people who think solely about church growth and John Maxwell. They are people who have to think about a dozen or so issues every day. They do attend local PTA meetings and vote for school board and hopefully President. They should be reminded of the classics and have a broad range of thought. I wonder if Paul would be welcomed among the elite Pastors of our day. He was a guy who knew several languages and was well versed in many arenas. His strength wasn't only in the bible... he was a renasanse man. I like that about him. He was broad enough to hold conversations with just about anyone in his day and time. America used to have Christian leaders who could do that. Some of our greatest early Christian Pastors were also professors and politicans.

Today we have a Pastor who followed that lead and took his faith into the public square and it seems that many of the big-names have turned their backs on him. It's a shame. I just wonder what would happen to our nation if a majority of our Christian leaders began to use their collective influence. We'd not only see churches grow larger but I believe we'd see communities change in-mass.

Much of this has come from me pondering how I'd like to see our church use its future influence. We live in an area of 1.6 million people. The Christian world would invite me to every conference on the planet if our church grew our influence to reach 15,000 people on a weekend.

This is part of the reason I believe Pastors can and should speak up on social issues of our day. While the Christian world would do backflips if we had 15,000 each weekend.... what would that really mean for a city of 1.6 million? I think sometimes we set our sights far too small and allow God to work in far too few areas of our lives. What if we didn't limit God and simply said "God, I'll speak for you no matter the arena in which you place me. I won't limit your voice by spiritualizing my own." I think we've yet to see what God would do with that person.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Saturday, January 12, 2008


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