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Visiting Churches

High Expectations and Great Disappointment

I’ve heard a great deal about the minister and this church. I’ve wanted to visit for a long time. I have high expectations.

Consider these four discussion questions about Church #42

1. Inside we weave through a throng of people, but no one acknowledges us. We’re invisible. Do they even care about newcomers, or are they too big to notice? 

How much do your actions show you care about visitors?

2. The service is a copy of a church we attended thirty-five years ago. Then it was exciting. Now it’s tired. I’m painfully disappointed. 

What do you need to change in your service to stay fresh and relevant?

3. We learn that doctrine is important to them. Though the teaching seems grounded in scripture, the minister makes divisive claims not found in the text, which he delivers with dogmatic passion. 

Does your doctrine divide the church of Jesus or unify it? What needs to change?

4. In his sermon, the minister criticizes “heretical charismatic ministers.” Though he might be referring to specific charismatic teachers, I infer he thinks all charismatic leaders are heretics. It’s human nature to vilify what we don’t understand. 

How can you better embrace people who hold different views than you?

My high expectations for this church led to great disappointment. But even if I had lowered my expectations, my disappointment would still have been high.

[See the prior set of questions, the next set, or start at the beginning.]

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Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

One reply on “High Expectations and Great Disappointment”

Unfortunately, this experience is all too common. Let’s face it, today’s manifestation of “Church “ reflects little of the image we read about on the pages of Scriptures. This congregation is no exception. In my opinion this example along with other issues like individualism, independent spirit, and a consumeristic mindset is why the church in America is and has been in steep decline. Many of us have been alerted to the need for the next big awakening. I don’t think any of us knows yet what shape it will take, but I’m confident it will happen. And yes, I too, believe correct doctrine is important, but truth without grace is just legalism.

What do you think? Please leave a comment!

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