Monday, March 07, 2016

Small Church vs Large Church

Last week Andy Stanley ruffled feathers with his comments about small churches. While he usually preaches for 30 minutes at a time, people were circulating a short 2-1/2 minute YouTube clip. One guy defended Andy, saying his comments were directed to the parents in his church, who need to join a small group. North Point has long said the numerical goal they have is increase the number of people in small groups. One of my Georgia Tech friends is now pastor of a small church in New England. I’m sure he has it tough. He often comments on political issues and the state of the world around him. The pastor defended small churches and called out Andy’s words as arrogant, demanding an apology. Another GT friend (a lay pastor) agreed. I shouldn’t have, but to pull their chain I asked if the short clip could have been taken out of context. One said maybe, but the other held firm.
I’ve never known anyone to measure his words more carefully than Andy, who never says anything flippantly, particularly in a sermon. Sometimes he says things to get a response. Perhaps this was one of those times. One of Andy’s comments: I’m ok with small churches – as long as they don’t stay small. Andy admitted he was a big church guy, and explained why. One reason: big churches can pool people and resources to make a bigger impact. NP’s Christmas offering raises millions for other ministries around town – including a $75,000 gift to the City of Atlanta to keep youth centers open (that was recently reported by the AJC).    
Another point of contention was youth groups. All three of my kids have opted for smaller youth groups than North Point’s. When Passion City Church’s youth group got too big, A and M found Grace Church.
Yesterday before preaching Andy did apologize for his comments, and said this week he would apologize more extensively, effectively spending more time apologizing than he spent on his original statement. Guess I should actually listen to both sermons in their entirety before commenting further. I should be glad every word I speak and write isn’t parsed within the skin of its teeth. Andy is not on Facebook and only uses Twitter to educate, encourage, and commend. I’ve never seen him call out others publically. Doesn’t the Bible say to do that in private?
WEEKEND: Friday I worked until 5:30 and drove straight home. Anna arrived shortly afterwards. M was at a friends and got home early – before 9 pm. Ceil baked chopped chicken enchiladas, Anna’s favorite. After dinner we watched W&MC’s wedding and reception video. Very nice. You can been seen from the balcony camera, and there’s a shot of Edie talking to Mary Hurt and Becky Norman at the reception. We still need to watch the part where people offer their good wishes.
Saturday I cleaned upstairs, then did the dishes in the kitchen. Took both  the Civic and CRV to get the oil changed and cars washed. Drew Kelly also was at Saturday’s GT game. I was watching while getting my oil changed at the carwash. Also new wipers for the Civic. Worked on the computer and helped Will with his taxes. Also went through 500 personal emails that had piled up during the week. For supper C cooked burgers and fries, which really helped with my diet. M went to a sleepover and Anna went to study with Emily at Starbucks. C worked on the computer. I watched a two hour special on Joe Namath, then one about the Immaculate Reception on the NFL Network. Both were good, though I dozed off during them.
Ceil has been attended an 8:30 women’s class at Johnson Ferry, so I went to the early service. Should’ve gone to the traditional service but we were running late, so I went in the gym. They showed a video about their school, which was ok except the half-dozen students and parents talking in the video sounded like they were reading an informative pre-written brochure, and not talking naturally. Sunday School was about the 60 mission trips JFBC sends people on, and how to sign up. Less than ten of JFBC’s 60 mission trips are inside the continental US. Most are to impoverished areas. NYC, Chicago, Clarkston, Johnson City and Sevierville TN, two in Georgia, a cancer camp in Florida. Two are to Hawaii. They’ve planted at least one church (Acworth) and now plans for Buckhead. Also working with refugees. NP has a lot of mission trips, not sure how many are in the US. But that NP Christmas offering (money, volunteers, and food) is specifically for the immediate community around the church. Passion does similar stuff.
After church I did laundry. Sunday lunch was baked poppyseed chicken and salad. Anna was working on her paper. Later C and A ran errands. I was watching the PGA tournament. C was checking her phone and said “are the Lakers and Warriors playing? Turn it over there.” She has NEVER asked to change over to an NBA game. She had seen where the Lakers were all wearing Kobe Bryant socks. When I changed the channel we saw Kobe on the bench with an ice pack on his shoulder. I quickly found Lang’s article about the socks.
Later M came home. He and Anna went to Grace Midtown. Ceil watched the final episode of Downton Abby and I worked on the computer.

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