April 4

Written by Bill Grandi on April 4th, 2022

As part of my ongoing posts about lessons from Wisdom Hunter I want to leave you with this one this morning:

The local church should be more than just a preaching station where people come and sit front-to-back as spectators, and listen to a one hour lecture before returning home.  It should be a spiritual support group where Christians get into one another’s lives. (p.249)

I realize as a pastor that flies in the face of what I do on a Sunday morning, but I do agree with it. Due to the church culture I work in, it would, or probably could, be detrimental to change things on Sunday morning. To divide into groups of 5-10 and scatter around the auditorium to pray or to talk about what you have heard may sound like a good idea, but there is a time and place for something like that. In our case, Sunday morning is not it. Now…if it is a retreat or a small group then by all means.  Another possibility is if it has been part of the church culture from the very beginning of the church’s birth, that may work.

But I also agree that there does need to be some interaction. Frankly, except for small groups meeting on other nights and using the sermon as a jumping off point, I’m not sure I have an answer. In fact, I know I don’t. Look in my eyes and see a big “L” for Lost on that topic.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any idea how we can change our church culture to be more participation-oriented than spectator-oriented? I would like to hear your ideas.

{NOTE: This will be my last post until Thursday morning this week. Jo and I left for Ohio right after the second worship service was over to spend the evening with our family there. We also plan to visit her sister in a nursing home in Sandusky on Monday, then stay to watch Braden play a game both Monday and Tuesday night (weather permitting). Lord willing, I plan to be back home on Wednesday in plenty of time for my Wednesday night “66” class.  I will post another devotion on Thursday morning. My plan to post ahead of time didn’t work out.  🙂 }


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Have a great time with your family, Bill, and safe travels!

  2. Ryan S. says:

    I hope my comment does not come off as critical or demeaning…

    I think the Church as a whole has done a disservice to baby Christians in regards to discipling.

    Too often the emphasis is on a Sunday morning worship and monologue where in many cases, relationships just don’t grow. I don’t think Sunday mornings are bad, nor do I think the format of most Sunday morning services are bad… I do think there isn’t enough emphasis to get involved, to get plugged in and to grow.

    I feel there are some basic fundamental “skills” and “tools” that every baby (and probably most “mature”) Christians need and could use.

    1) Prayer 101
    2) Meditation 101
    3) Bible Reading 101.
    4) God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, The Church (big C)
    5) Spiritual Gifts
    6) Accountability

    I think some topics are simply assumed, but discussion I have had with others recently and as I have dug deeper, I have realized I was missing the mark.

    If you are not growing you are dying… If you aren’t working the paddles to go upstream, the social current will continue to drag you down.
    I just don’t think 30 minutes of singing and a 30 minute sermon is enough…

    I know I coasted for FAR TOO LONG. An occasional stroke of the paddle maybe got me one canoe length up the stream, but the current took me two back.

    As Christians, we were never meant to be pew dwellers. We are meant to be the hands and feet of Jesus, however, that does require a change in mindset and it does require some training, it requires encouragement, it requires leadership.

    I LOVE that OVCF has started some additional ministry teams as that does provide more opportunities for people to use their God given talents and abilities.

    I know you offer Route 66 as well as other opportunities for growth. I also know you can’t make people commit to more than what they are willing.

    I do believe that we are at a crossroads culturally in society and I do think that the time has come to take a stand against the complacency that has plagued the western church.

    –as a side note… Up until about 6-8 weeks ago, I was a Sunday morning participant that volunteered. My Bible reading, prayer, meditating on God’s word… non-existent. I am not saying this to brag and I am throwing this out there to be held accountable… I never want to go back… I am finding that EVERYTHING is different when you start the day right. I am not a 4:00 AM riser, but was getting up just before work and starting my day with no prep. I am now finding myself wanting to get up earlier and spending over an hour in preparation before my work day… Here is the thing… I knew it, I just wasn’t doing it…

    Sorry for hijacking, but you asked 🙂

    • Bill Grandi says:

      As you know I’m in Ohio so my reply will be very short. I’ll come back after I get home. I can say I’m glad to hear you are growing and challenging yourself with that morning Encounter Time. I wish all people could see how exciting it can be if the heart seeks God. And I’m super excited to see OVCF pick it up a notch although I can’t take credit for it.

  3. gail says:

    I know this is a few days late but I am still responding, after thinking about this question. Truth is there are plenty of ways to grow spiritually, but you have to want to grow closer to God, and do the work. You cannot expect the church to make you spend more time in the word, or make you join a small group, or serve at the church. I think OVCF has opportunities for you to grow if you make the effort to do so. I think the pastor needs to encourage you to read the bible, put some spiritual challenges out to the church family. Ultimately people need to not make excuses and spend time with God. When we meet the Father in heaven, he is not going to talk to all of your friends and blame them for your lack of spiritual growth. I know myself, it took me a while, to really read Gods word, and get into it, I did not grow up reading the bible and I was not encouraged to do so. However, when I decided to search out God, and learn, and to spend time in the his word, I found out how awesome the bible really is. God meet me where I was, and He encouraged me to dig deeper. He is constantly revealing more things to me in His word, and helping me to grow. When I fall short of spending quality time with God, that is only on me, its my shortcomings not any body else’s. Until you go all in with God, and really surrender, you just don’t understand how that feels until you really commit to it. As long as the church pastors, will make time to talk to individual’s, and speak the truth from the pulpit. Offer opportunities to serve and offer small group bible studies, the opportunities are there. God himself will not leave you hanging, if you are really pursuing a relationship with Him, it is not in His nature to ignore you. God will not only draw you closer to Him, but He will let you experience a relationship with Him that surpasses all others. Make the commitment and be amazed.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      You are totally correct Gail. The onus to grow lies with each one of us. No one person can make us grow or force us to grow. Encourage yes. Force no. It all comes down to the desire of our heart. If I desire to grow closer to Jesus, then I will take the time needed to do so. thanks for the comment (even though it is late according to your calendar). I love any comment, any time. 🙂