Thinking Out Loud

November 20, 2013

Wednesday Link List

Times of Testing

If your work week runs Monday to Friday, by noon on Wednesday you’re ‘over the hump,’ but the Baptist in me still blushes when someone says, “Happy Hump Day!”  With that, I think we’d better quickly move on to the links which you’ll find at Out of Ur.

The Wednesday Link List is written by Paul Wilkinson who blogs the rest of the week at Thinking Out Loud and Christianity 201.  Professional stunt blogger. Do not attempt at home. Offer not valid in Wisconsin or Hawaii.

Sister Mary Clara Vocation Doll

September 30, 2012

Finding A Good Church Fit

A strange thing happened in church this morning.

During the first verse of the first worship song, a family came in: Husband, wife, teenaged daughter.  They took a seat in the 2nd last row. Then we started into “One Way Jesus,” about the edgiest song we do, or as edgy when it can be when most of the worship team is in their mid-forties and the sound is being mixed by the most conservative sound team member in the rotation.

And during the first chorus of that song, the family headed for the exit.

Apparently our church had one chorus to ‘wow’ them and we didn’t. Or maybe they were expecting a more conservative church that would sing from a hymnbook. Either way, it was like we were all X-Factor and the three judges has just given us all three giant Xs. (Or is that X-es?)

I wanted to run outside after them and get the backstory, but I was actually part of the worship team in question and dropping my guitar and running out the back door would probably have alarmed some people, including my wife who was leading the worship this morning, and would have assumed me to be in some type of physical distress.

I wanted to do this for two reasons. First, of course, I wanted to know where our church let them down. Did they not phone during the week to find out about the style of worship? Should they have done more research?

Second, I have an unusually high degree of knowledge about what’s going on in other churches in our community. I could have hooked them up with two churches within a few miles that do actually still use the hymnbooks, both of which have a start time a half hour later than ours, putting them there right on time.

But I don’t even know if it was a music thing. Someone suggested they had seen that the building was open and had come in to use the restrooms, and found themselves ushered to a seat in the auditorium. Now if that’s true, then I really would have wanted to hear that story, just because it’s so funny…

What I did find however, is that witnessing the whole thing from the rather clear vantage point of the platform, the whole scenario completely unnerved me. I played a couple of wrong notes and was completely distracted for the rest of the worship set and well into the sermon. Why had they come in only to leave so quickly?

So, today’s question: What’s the weirdest thing that ever happened in your church involving a visitor or group of visitors who clearly didn’t fit in, or were in the wrong place at the wrong time?

If you have trouble leaving a comment, email it using the “contact us” page in the list of pages further down the sidebar.

February 22, 2011

Trying to Find a Church That “Works”

L. T. posted this a few days ago at and I decided it’s definitely worth stealing borrowing. It’s about discovering a church online which is described, and then there are links in the last paragraph where you can learn more about this group.  You’re encouraged to read the article at its source, where it appeared under the title Finding a Biblical Church

I’ve done lots of thinking about church in my life.  I think that even many forms of simple church don’t live up to the biblical standard.  I read about one group on online.  It did some things right.  They talked about scripture and did some missionary work but they had several obvious failings.

The people in the group had a obvious lack of commitment to each other.  It took years before a real community gelled and in the crisis moment’s people would scatter.  There were some in the group that fought with each other over leadership roles in the group.  There were some in the church that didn’t really respect the leader and thought they he should have taken a completely different approach.

At times the church was really popular with the community and did a lot of outreach.  They followed the Luke 10 approach so popular with the house church movement today but they never actually got around to planting any more churches.  Any church that isn’t fulfilling committed to multiplying disciples and churches isn’t fulfilling the great commission.

Their leader was a real liability to the movement at times.  Sometimes his teaching was cryptic and irrelevant.  At other times he was just plain offensive and managed alienate almost everyone who could have become good members of the church.  Josh was a real hot head and sometimes he would mock or insult other leaders of the faith.  It appeared at times like the leader had favorites in the church.

There was an obvious lack of church commitment to the truth and accountability.  As time went on it became readily apparent that the treasurer was taking money out of the church account.  The leader had to have known this was happening and he did nothing about it.

That isn’t to say this church didn’t do some good.  They did but it was obvious that its members really lacked the commitment to each other to be a real biblical church.

Three of the church members kept a blog about it. You can read them here, here and here.

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