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November 08, 2006

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Jim

I used to attend 5 Oaks, I found your blog and decided to check in and see how you're doing. Looks, ahem, interesting....
"There's a hunger for God, but the church is in the way."
Please expand on this in light of Paul's comment in Romans 3:11. I agree that people want something, but it isn't God. They want a warm, fuzzy buddy who will solve all their problems and grant all their wishes when they want it. In other words, a genie. If the church told people what God really expects of them, how many would continue to attend?
"If we create obstacles for people to connect with the church and God"
Please define "obstacles". Do you mean turning people off by bringing up the nasty topic of sin? That is certainly the case in many churches. Maybe don't turn people off by talking about how they must follow Christ by turning from ALL their sins, not just the ones they want to give up? Maybe pointing out that truly following Christ may involve great hardship and sacrifice? Maybe even death?
"be more committed to reaching people than keeping people." This is really what churches believe? Once people are in; who cares any more? This certainly isn't the role of the church as depicted in the New Testament.
Are the above ideas what you truly believe and try to operate your church by, or are they food for thought?
Speaking of endorse, do you endorse the books on your side panel, Or are they merely ones you've read?

Henry

Thanks for your comments and checking out how we're doing. I'll try to address your questions.

I believe there is a deep hunger for God, but that we seek to fill it with just about anything other than God (Romans 3:11). Our role as believers and as his church is to serve as signposts to God, that God is the answer. So, in a sense, we are the seekers of people who are missing from God's family. We join God in that. As you know, our church doesn't offer a "fuzzy buddy" God. I'm not aware of any church with our passion for seeking out missing people who does. On the other hand, I am aware of a straw man or caricature that is circulated concerning churches like us.

I think the comments speak for themselves regarding what is meant by obstacles, and it doesn't mean what you suggest.

The comment on reaching people rather than keeping people is aimed at trying to keep churched people who don't get the mission happy and placated, rather than staying on mission and focusing on making disciples who are being mobilized for Kingdom work.

The books I list are books I've read that I recommend others to read. Do I always agree with everything they say? No. But I'm more in sync with them than not.

Hope that answers your questions. I'm not sure I'll be answering many more since you and I have had several discussions on these matters face-to-face and simply disagree. I have to be really careful with how I use my time. I wish you the best, and may God bless you.

Henry

Harold Ennulat

Henry,

This discussion reminds of the drama that I beleive was performed a few times over the years... It was about a volunteer lifeboat rescue unit that would search for and rescue shipwrecked crews around the turn of the centuty. As the rescue crew grew in membership they added facilities and eventually became a country club that found rescuing people distastful.

I'm hearing from this post that this is the danger our church faces as it grows.

I personally like the idea of church being a country club, and in Woodbury at least that seems like a good way to reach the spiritual seeker.

It's a matter of not loosing focus of why we are here. We are here to walk with God and to win as many people into the Kingdom as we can.

As a church, if some Christians stand in the way of winning others into the kingdon, the mission of the Church must not be compromised. After all eternal life with God is what is at stake.

This is opening up thoughts about the things I am doing or interested in, and causing me to question "How does this impact winning people into the kingdom?"

Anyway, thanks for putting yourself out there like this. It will help form and strengthen what our church is all about, as you share what God is putting on your heart.

Harold

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  • I'm the lead pastor of Five Oaks Church in Woodbury, MN where we seek to help people CONNECT with others and God, DEEPEN their relationship with Christ and IMPACT the world for Christ.

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