Kevin’s Conversations: Building A Winner

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72 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    In professional sports the team starts with a clear objective, that being to build a championship team.
    I’m not sure that we know what the objective is in church anymore or if we even have a template for what the very purpose of the church is.
    If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there…

  2. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Kevin – very good article and I do feel for you and all of your Philly teams … except perhps the Flyers once in a while.

    Once you even mention doing church, or how to do church you are off on the wrong foot – church is not done. If anything church is done to you – in that God is the only one doing anything – worship is God giving to us..

    Second, Paul says that there is no such thing as a seeker – at least not a seeker after God. If it were true that people sought after God, we would not offer coffee (do churches really have coffee to attract seekers? our coffee is bad and served out of air pots) – but no coffee no contemporary music etc, nothing to make them comfy – if they are God seekers hit them hard with what God says about who the are and what their destiny is – they are in deep do do and they are going to hell.

    These people are not God seekers – they are community seekers – do you know what they really want – they want a bar like Cheers, where everybody knows your name. Seeker churches give them that then sprinkle in Jesus. They want to hear the reality – they want to hear a Norm like character say “it’s a dog eat dog world out there and I am wearing Milk Bone underwear”. As we know, when the bar patrons turn out to not care, they leave and they do the same here at church as we see with so many here on this blog – the patrons of church don’t remember your name and you are gone. It doesn’t matter if Jesus is there or not.

    Rick Warren’s entire premise is built on business success – perhaps the 76ers should hire him as President of Basketball Operations. ūüôā

  3. Kevin H says:


    I struggled with this one in putting together my thoughts and trying to say exactly what I wanted to in regards to church. And part of that may be that there is such a diversity of thought today, rightly or wrongly, as to what church should be like or should encompass. When I speak of doing church “successfully”, of course I am not meaning that from a worldly sense. But rather of one meaning that we are successful if we do the things God would want us to do.

  4. Kevin H says:


    Church is most certainly done by us, at least in some senses of the word. We choose where we are going to meet and we do it. We decide how we are going to structure the “organization” and do it. We decide how we’re going to conduct the worship service and we do it.

  5. Michael says:

    Kevin H,

    It was a well written piece.

    I submit that most of us would struggle with answering the questions of why we go to church and what the purpose of the church is.

    We have to go back to the basics at some point and reassess what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.

  6. Kevin H says:

    As for the seeker sensitive commentary, I was only using that as a discussion example, not as one to vouch for it necessarily in any sense. However, at the very least, I know and have met people who came to faith after attending seeker oriented churches. They testify to not having been Christians before that. So even though I also find many problems with seeker-oriented churches, it still appears as if God is using them. And it makes me wonder if they might be doing some things right that many of us would scoff at.

  7. Xenia says:

    I think the mistake comes when one decides they need to figure out a way to “do church,” as if something new needs to be invented to replace the new thing that came before. Church is for Christians who don’t “do church,” they participate in the 2000 year old God-given rites that unite them to God through Word and Sacrament. When you talk about “doing church” you are trying to woo people to come or convince the one’s you’ve got to stay. I would say this is God’s job. Let His Word go out and convict the hearts and let the Sacraments nourish the soul. Probably not all will want this. Let them join a bowling league or a book club.

  8. Michael says:

    When I first started pastoring, I thought my job was to teach the Bible.
    Now, I believe I’m there to feed the church through word and sacrament, or more correctly, to facilitate God feeding His church through those means.

    It’s an entirely different mindset…

  9. Xenia says:

    My last line was too snarky. My apologies.

  10. Michael says:

    I would also maintain that the gathering to worship is for the benefit of the church, not for the unsaved.

  11. Xenia says:

    Right, because the unsaved cannot worship a God they do not know.

  12. Owen says:

    There is (and should be, I’m beginning to think) a long, hard look at the purpose of church.

    MLD – could you clarify your statement , “Paul says that there is no such thing as a seeker ‚Äď at least not a seeker after God” ?

    I tend to think there are many seeking Him, they just don’t know that it’s Him they are seeking….

  13. Michael says:

    What constitutes a “successful” church?

    When the church planters go forth, what should be the objective?

  14. Xenia says:

    In the Orthodox world, a successful parish is one that brings in enough money to pay a full-time priest a meager salary. The things that happen at church are not measured in terms of earthly success because the Liturgy is the Liturgy and the participants will be fed.

  15. Xenia says:

    So, if a mission church fails, it’s because there’s not enough people to keep it going.

  16. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Owen – Look at Romas 3:9-12 — especially v.11

  17. Xenia says:

    The object of a mission church is to provide a place where the local faithful can hear the Word and receive the Sacraments, assuming there isn’t an EO church already in the area.

  18. Michael says:

    ‚ÄúWhat then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,as it is written: ‚ÄúNone is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúTheir throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúThe venom of asps is under their lips.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúTheir mouth is full of curses and bitterness.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúTheir feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúThere is no fear of God before their eyes.‚ÄĚ‚ÄĚ
    (Romans 3:9‚Äď18 ESV)

  19. Kevin H says:

    Just one more clarification by what I’m trying to convey by “doing church”. Certainly there can be a mindset that doing church is all up to us to make it happen and constantly trying to come up with new and exciting ways to do it. And yes, that type of approach is troubling. But as I also just expressed, we still choose how to “do” church in some sense of the word. At the very least we choose to give some kind of sermon or homily or spoken message. Someone “does” them. Hopefully relying on God rather than themselves that whatever words are spoken are honoring to Him and are the words that God wants to relay to the people. But still, someone takes the time to prepare the spoken words and verbally gives them. We don’t just sit there in a church service and wait for a voice from heaven to speak something to us. We also choose to serve the Lord’s Supper. There is active work put into preparing this and then carrying it out. We don’t just sit there and wait for the elements to magically appear before us or in our mouths. This is the simplest basis by what I mean by “doing church”.

  20. Michael says:

    For many church planters the objective is to draw enough people so they don’t have to work a second job.
    Most of what I see in church planting is a lot like owning a franchise…there’s no Del Taco here so there’s an opportunity…it’s about the brand.

  21. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Judas was successful in a sense – he ended up with the silver.

    Again, this all goes back to the theology of glory vs the theology of the cross.
    The theology of glory states that you can tell what God thinks of you by what is happening in your life and circumstances. How can I tell is my venture is ‘God pleasing’? well let’s look at the results – if my church is growing, God must be please – if my church is shrinking then God must be upset.

    How do we know what God thinks of our venture? Only one way – look at Jesus on the cross.

  22. Kevin H says:

    I agree that the primary purpose of the gathering of the church should be for believers.

    However, does that mean that we should never invite a non-believer to church? That we intentionally make sure that we don’t do anything that would make them feel welcome or at ease at church? Where do we draw the lines as to when and how to do outreach? To me, this is where there can be a lot of gray.

  23. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Kevin – I don’t invite unbelieving people to church – especially cold turkey. A Lutheran church is to scary to take straight up.

  24. Josh the Baptist says:

    The purpose of the Church is to take the Gospel to the world.

  25. Michael says:

    Kevin H,

    I think it’s fine to invite unbelievers to church, as long as the liturgy isn’t changed to accommodate them.

    Outreach is great…as long as we distinguish it from the time of God feeding His children.

  26. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I hit go too soon.
    I would be afraid that the unbeliever would either be too confused OR worse yet, would be entranced by the “religious” feeling.

    Nope, they need to hang with me one on one before I unleash church on them. ūüėČ

  27. Michael says:


    What is the purpose of the Sunday gathering in your view?

  28. Josh the Baptist says:

    Equipping the Saints / Corporate Worship / Fellowship

  29. Babylon's Dread says:

    The purpose of the church is to be God’s own possession, his people, his family. All the doings flow from the being. There is plenty to do but just one thing to be… His!

  30. Dallas says:

    “… the goal of all Christian community: they meet one another as bringers of the message of salvation.”

  31. Josh the Baptist says:

    Dallas – Good quote. I agree with Bonheoffer!

  32. Owen says:

    “A Lutheran church is too scary to take straight up.”

    MLD, you are a riot some days. I get what you’re saying, but I must say I wouldn’t describe my church as scary, exactly…. “unleash church on them”… that’s funny.

  33. Owen says:


    While I agree with the quote, what’s the context around it? The quote sais what they are when they meet (bringers of the message), but doesn’t really address the purpose of meeting….. can you flesh out the quote a little more?

  34. Josh the Baptist says:

    I like Baby D’s definition as well.

    I am basing my definition on the idea of God’s Chosen…Chosen for what? Israel was Chosen to bring Jesus into the world, the Church is chosen to take Jesus to the world.

    Bab’s goes back even further to the idea of Covenant: I will be their God, and they will be my people.

  35. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    You don’t find a guy up front in a dress scary? Not even almost drowning a baby to cast out demons – or eating body & blood? ūüėČ

  36. Owen says:


    Come to think of it, our pastor does kinda roll his eyes when we mention that he’s putting his dress on…..

  37. Josh the Baptist says:

    in 2016, a man in a dress doesn’t even get a second look.

  38. Owen says:


    True enough. Although I suspect a lot of unbelievers would expect a different standard inside the church, and I’m basing that statement on their assumption of the church’s “intolerance”.

  39. Duane Arnold says:

    I think it is hard for many of us to “escape where we came from”… Back in the day (I speak for only myself here) church was an amalgam of Bible study, evangelism, worship, fellowship, dating club, counseling session and everything in between. Many of us still carry that baggage.

    Now, I want a place to worship, pray, hear the Scripture proclaimed and partake of the Sacrament. It can still, I believe, be “seeker friendly”, but that will be owing to “behold how they love one another”, not because of our “branding” or corporate model of outreach.

  40. Em ... again says:

    i find it interesting that almost everyone who posts here – almost everyone – has the right way to do church… the salvific way…if your church has the one right way to do church, rather like the Masonic orders, i think you’ve missed the point of redemption… come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest, if you do church correctly? uhh, that doesn’t sound right…

    “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” … the key is learning, learning to grow in faith – and in wisdom and understanding, too – yes, submit to the baptism and take the cup and the bread in the fashion that suits and preach to the multitudes the Truth, whether 2 or 3 or 2,000 or 3,000 … God will save some, but we’ll all be without excuse on judgment day, not because we kept the sacraments, but because we heard God’s word and chose whom we’d serve

    IMNSHO … again

  41. Em ... again says:

    #35-“…almost drowning a baby to cast out demons…” ? hmmm, without baptizing your infant, you have a demonic child? …
    well, admittedly, i’ve seen a few that sure seemed demonic, but a few of them were Lutheran and R.C. offspring (only knew of one demonic Presbyterian kid ūüôā ) … must not have used enough water on them… ?

  42. Owen says:

    Em, there have been quite a few in my experience who needed the fire hose turned on them…. ūüėČ

    Good words in your #40.

  43. Em ... again says:

    while i’m thinking about kids… cussing and using dope is not as bad as the child who is raised with a form of godliness while denying the power of God, Himself…
    well, none of us want our children damaging their brains … or our reputations … but, myself included, do we make it clear to them as they grow that they answer to God and He is no respecter of persons or do we teach them to be nice, behave appropriately and, thus impressed, God will follow after? … dunno … just pondering my past ūüôā

  44. Owen says:

    Well said, Em.

    My youngest has occasionally asked, “Am I pretty?” We respond with “pretty is as pretty does”, and then go on to explain that.

  45. Al says:

    1. Doctrine? Everyone disagrees, no one agrees down the line. Don’t care with regards to how you choose to do “church” other than your Ecclesiology.

    2. Power Corrupts. Absolute Power corrupts Absolutely. Don’t give the Pastor all the power, make him one of many in leadership with equal voice, “Do not be called Rabbi/Teacher, you are ALL brothers, all equals” etc. “Don’t do power and authority as the World does, in MY Kingdom you are to be Servant of All” yet the vast majority don’t do what Jesus said.

    3. If you are a nonmember member and you have zero power and zero recourse, leave that bad church.

    4. If you do not know how much money is collected and if you don’t know where it is spent and can’t know….leave that bad church.

    5. If there are no good Child Protection policies in place and if Child Safety and Child Welfare aka “THE LEAST OF THESE” as Jesus taught….then leave that bad church.

    The rest is bulls***t.

  46. Al says:

    ….if Child Welfare and Child Safety are not an issue (above).

    If you have no concern for “the least of these”…then what the F are doing church for? Your own entertainment? To make you feel like your not going to hell?

    Most of “Church” is a function of entertainment, Idolatry and self-convincing you that you are doing enough to not “burn forever in hell!”

    That’s the truth of the matter. Not much of it actually helps the orphan and widow or the “least of these” or “loves your neighbor” in any real tangible way. It’s a weekly speech/pep talk and a social function with music and air conditioning.

  47. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    What Al brings up can be put to an empirical test in the next couple of days.
    Let’s see who shows up in Florida and the Caribbean Islands after this Hurricane this week. Who will show up to offer aid … and I am talking about on their own dime.

    Churches from all over the country will be their at their own expense to help with food, water, medicine and plans to rebuild.

    Al, how many of your agnostic / atheist friends will be there? Not on the government’s dime – but putting their money where their mouth is. Let’s see their compassion and help for the orphan, widows and those displaced.

    They won’t – perhaps a movie star or rock star will show up – you know, fly in on his private jet, spend 24 hours, turn a shovel or 2 and be off after the photo op.

    What do you think?

  48. Em ... again says:

    #47 – well said, and a historically true truth, MLD …

  49. dusty says:

    good timing Josh,

  50. CostcoCal says:

    I love church. ūüôā

  51. dusty says:

    I have to agree with Em and MLD on this. for the most part that is the reality.

  52. dusty says:

    I love Jesus ūüôā

  53. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Along with the Baptists – LCMS to the rescue

    Perhaps Al will post the disaster response from Atheists United

  54. Em ... again says:

    hmmm… i’ll bet some atheist group shows up after the storm – it will be interesting to see what they contribute

  55. CostcoCal says:

    I’m amazed, astounded that Jesus loves His church. ūüôā

  56. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    CostcoCal – why? do you think Jesus expects more.

    Look at his own group – he had a betrayer, he had a denier, he had proud schemers and the list can go on – and he had only 12 members to account for.

    So why would you expect more?

  57. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “hmmm‚Ķ i‚Äôll bet some atheist group shows up after the storm ”

    Yes, it’s called the government ūüôā

  58. CostcoCal says:

    I’m amazed that He loves me. No hyperbole when I say that.

  59. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Why be surprised? Jesus made an unconditional promise to love you.Jesus keeps his promises.

    I am going to declare this believe Jesus week (not believe IN Jesus but just Believe Jesus)

  60. CostcoCal says:

    Paul was the “chiefest of sinners.” I’d give him a run for his money. Especially as a teen-rager.

  61. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I would give him a run for his money at 67.
    But Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. ūüėČ

  62. CostcoCal says:

    It’s fun being amazed by Amazing Grace!

  63. Owen says:


    Looks like Marketwatch pulled that down, their site says page not found when I try your link….

  64. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Owen – I think you need to copy / paste the wholelink – it looks like only the first part is hot.

  65. Owen says:

    Oops…never mind. Got it.

  66. Al says:

    MLD, actually Atheists and Agnostics do a lot of charitable work and support relief efforts. I am not an Atheist, but I am also intellectually honest and I don’t say in a Church Bubble and I don’t ignore Facts:

  67. Al says:

    MLD, Mormons/LDS do a TON of charitable work, probably more as percentage of their population and incomes than other Christian Sects….yet you would say they are heathens and “not real Christians”….so your argument is invalid.

  68. Stick to the same topic. Just post the listings of the avowed atheist organization going to help these hurricane victims … On their own dime.

  69. Surfer51 says:

    “In professional sports the team starts with a clear objective, that being to build a championship team.
    I’m not sure that we know what the objective is in church anymore or if we even have a template for what the very purpose of the church is.
    If you don‚Äôt know where you‚Äôre going, you‚Äôll never get there‚Ķ”

    My perspective on what the Christian objective is to be in church. Some strongly disagree with me:

  70. Em ... again says:

    #70- your link above was a blessing to read this morning… while i strongly – very strongly – believe that Bible teaching does equip the saints to be saints (salt and light to the world) and should be job one of every church (small ‘c’ ), at the same time i do think it is appropriate, dare i say “precious”(?), to end every gathering that is open to all: “with every head bowed and every eye closed…” sure some will get caught up in the moment and not have any intention of doing anything but experimenting with Christianity when they raise their hand (just like many take communion today), but the greater message that the moment of reflection and invitation displays is the subliminal one – it that says the whole point of what we’re doing is to bring souls to their waiting Savior – to Christ….. IMHO again

  71. JonnyB says:

    Em I like your viewpoint.

    Inviting others to partake of eternal life is exciting and fulfilling.

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