Thursday, November 5, 2009

What you win them with you win them to...

I can identify with the title of Jared Wilson's latest post over at First Things: "Six Flags Over Jesus." As a born and bred Texan I am well familiar with that statement. In Texas, your church is big or it ain't nothin! Okay, so I may be exagerating a little; but only a little. If you think you've seen a big church in the northeast then all I can say is, "You ain't seen nothin' yet." Go to Houston. Go to Dallas. You will be amazed by the size of many of the churches. The facilities with coffee shops and book stores and fountains begin, in some cases to resemble a mall more than a place of worship and instruction in God's Word. I'm not against large churhes. I pastor, by northeastern standards a large church. But compared to my Texas bretheren we are definitely small potatoes.
In Nashville, the people might think your small church is cute but in Houston they will tell you it is, as if this is a compliment and not a condescension. The second pastor I was a youth minister for planted his church in 1995 in Houston. He’s been there 15 years now with a regular attendance of about 100 for the last decade, and our mutual friends consider this as “Hanging in there.” As if 15 years of existence with 100 people constitutes the verge of death.

This isn’t just a Texas problem, but it is a Texas-sized problem in evangelicalism. Enter First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas and their new $130 million building campaign. Normally I don’t give one whit about how much a pastor is being paid or how much a church spends on whatever; I get my ire raised more by other things. And what FBC Dallas is doing doesn’t really raise my ire. But it is reflective of something that, yes, is bigger than FBC Dallas, bigger than $130 million.

Do we even know what $130 million looks like? Well, we do, actually. It looks like this.

What is at stake is what church is. In the building Q&A linked above, we find this gem: “[T]he glass walls have an evangelistic effect: people walking by have a view in from the street and feel drawn in.”

In the same way a hobo on the sidewalk might press his face against the window of a fancy restaurant in a Norman Rockwell painting, no doubt.
Read Jared's entire post HERE.


Harley A. said...

Quote from the pastor: “As I look around downtown Dallas, I see spectacular temples of commerce, of culture and of government – many new, some restored to former glory, and all intended to stand for generations. The Kingdom of God needs a home to equal them – a spiritual oasis in the middle of downtown.”

So the Kingdom of God is now going to be housed in downtown Dallas ?

Todd Pruitt said...

It's pretty frightening. Since when was the church commissioned to build God "a home to equal" the world's symbols of success and commerce? It reveals an outrageous misunderstanding of the nature of the church and the kingdom of God.

threegirldad said...

Here's another gem from the FAQ:

Q: With the current economic conditions, why tackle a project of this size?
There is no doubt that this is a “God-sized” project. But as Ephesians teaches, God is able to do far more – abundantly more – than we can ask or think.

Now, what was that old saw that my Bible College friends used to recite? "A text without a context is a pretext" -- or something like that?