By Connie W. Adams
A Baptist preacher in Pensacola, Florida has devised a compact 22 minute service to overcome what he calls “an outdated tradition.” An AP report date-lined Pensacola said, “In 22 minutes, Ford plans to deliver a sermon, lead hymn singing, read the scripture, say prayers and have his congregation out the door and on the way to the beach or wherever. To squeeze all that into 22 minutes, only two hymns will be sung and he will limit his sermon to 8 minutes.”
I doubt that the hymn “Take Time to Be Holy” will ever be included in this whirlwind service. This all reminds me of Jeroboam’s religion when he told the ten tribes which followed him, “It is too far for you to go to Jerusalem” and gave them altars at Dan and Bethel.
I had some reluctance in reporting this because I think I know some brethren who might think this is a great idea.
The Pie Ministry
The following item appeared in the Paragould, Arkansas paper recently:
“Center Hill Church of Christ has developed a unique program for welcoming visitors to the church.
“The People Involved in Evangelism (PIE) ministry is a ‘sweet outreach for visitors to the church’s worship services,’ said Michael Cox, pastor of the church. ‘The church was wanting to come up with an idea to show how much we cherish our visitors and the PIE ministry was born.’
“During each Sunday service, the names of all visitors are collected and teams of church members deliver fresh baked pies to the visitors on Tuesday evenings.
“Cox noted that the church is growing rapidly and the PIE ministry may be one reason why. ‘The PIE ministry is just one way that we show the love of Jesus to our community,’ said Cox.”
Would someone explain to me how baking and giving pies can be classified as “evangelism”? This is part of the social gospel concept of ministering to the whole man, this time including his sweet tooth. Read on.
African Christian Hospitals
This publication has a lead-in “Promoting Medical Evangelism” and then a subheading “Ministering to the Whole Man in Nigeria Ghana.” This publication regularly reports on the activities of those referred to as “medical missionaries.” It tells of various churches who financially support doctors and nurses and who regularly fund medical clinics. Our institutional brethren have long supported church-related hospitals in foreign fields but have been slow to push from them here in the U.S.A. Why? If it promotes evangelism outside this country, then why would it not promote it here?
I am neither anti-pie nor anti-hospital care for the sick, but I sure do wonder where the passage is that authorizes the church to involve itself in ministering to either the medical or culinary needs of mankind.
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 15, p. 3-4
August 5, 1993