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Future Trends Every Pastor Should Know

Good Evening. A Puritan’s Mind brings you the old time radio program The Wild Boar News Podcast from Sunny South Florida. Welcome, I’m Dr. Matthew McMahon.

The Christian Post of Nashville had an article encouraging change in the church, for the better, or so they think. It covered points that pastors need to know in order to enlarge their borders, and gather more people into the church. Pastors, if one could call them that, of “Synergize! Pastors Conference” where 35 renowned leaders will teach synergistic strategies to help pastors build their church and reach the unchurched, said there are four points that pastors of today need to understand.

First, they say, one must be sensitive to how people are marketing through the internet. Keeping your church, and your eye on worldwide fame based on something as simple as blogging, is a key to church growth.

Second, the "well curve" replaces the "bell curve." Take extremes and unite them together ecumenically. Ecumenicalism builds big churches.

Third, epic rules. Leonard Sweet, one of the speaking “pastors” at this conference wrote a book called “The Gospel According to Starbucks.” This futurist calls the church to master the "EPIC" living that Starbucks has mastered. EPIC stands for Experience, Participation, "Images that throb with meaning," and Connection. In other words, follow the marketed strategy of the world’s most popular and expanding companies. That way, the church will grow. "The culture helps the church become more of an epic community," he said.

Fourth, everything in this culture is becoming more digitized. As a result of the Internet being the new "skin" for the world, everything is becoming decentralized and some, hyper-centralized. "If you digitize, you decentralize." Community marketing in this way brings bigger groups together.

This is all interesting to me. There is no mention of Rahab the harlot and her family who, when the people of God attacked her city, that she alone was the only one of faith. Strange evangelism by God? Or what of Joshua and Caleb who alone has “different spirits” than the rest of the entire nation which rebelled against God? Again, God’s strange evangelism! What of God’s choice of Noah and his eight in the ark? Again, the mass of humanity was destroyed. Where was God’s sense of well curve, or bringing in images that cause people to throb with meaning? Where was God’s sense of decentralization?

However, these gurus are not after evangelistic ideas, rather, they are after growth in numbers. You know, those scoreboards in your lobby that tell you how many people came to Sunday School today, or were at your service? They want to see those numbers grow big so that you too can install a Starbucks in the foyer of your church.

And what of Jesus? Christ did not decentralize, instead He particularized. The Gospel weeded out the difference between the Apostles and the Temple Priests. He did not come to join the church together, but to divide the sheep from the goats and the wheat from the chaff. It seems Jesus did not have the same message or mindset that these marketers of the church have today. Jesus, the Great Bishop and Shepherd of Souls, did not have the internet, or structuralized EPIC ideas to incorporate. Rather, the Gospel alone was preached, and that Gospel was “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Jesus’ exclusivism, and non-centralization in His preaching the Kingdom is the exact opposite message of the New Age preaching gurus that want to copy the globalization market of ad campaigns that turn the church into a CEO’s arena.

What are you looking for pastor? Faithfulness to God or faithlessness to attract the world? Oh, with money, anything to attract people is easy. I mean, have a bake sale. People will come. Give them something to watch, give them something to do, give them some way to feel special and you will draw thousands. Give them the Gospel, as Jesus did, and you give them an excuse to go down the street to another church that more suits their needs. “This is hard teaching, who can accept it?” That is what Jesus heard.

The New Age preaching gurus want you to think that going into the temple and setting up a booth next to the money lenders is a good idea. That way you can win them over. Market like they market. But instead, be like Jesus Christ, who, in opposition to that mindset, went in and overturned their tables.

But you ask, who will remain in the church? If we only preach the Gospel, is the Gospel enough?” The Gospel has always been enough. It was enough for God, enough for Christ, and it should be enough for you. God is not interested in numbers, rather, He is interested only in His people coming to faith. He is not interested in four points to a big building, rather, He is interested in whether or not pastors that HE sends trust Him enough to preach His Gospel.

This is Dr. Matthew McMahon signing off.

Keep checking back at A Puritan’s Mind – the series on Election and Reprobation has just been completed. Go to www.apuritansmind.com and click on “What’s New?” There you will find information on this 9 part lecture series. Also in the works is an MP3 series on the Covenant of Grace, and a new book that will be first in a series called “The Writings of A Puritan’s Mind” which will be a compilation of Puritan sermons not yet published. Puritan Publications has already released its latest book, “A Heart for Reformation” which covers how every Christian should desire true biblical reformation. For more on Reformed and Puritan Theology, visit www.apuritansmind.com.