The Door-Step Evangel

The Social Church
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

An issue from two opposite sides, or two age-old issues pulling to opposing ideals? There is a social versus church phenomenon surrounding pastors, pushing and pulling them whether or not they've recognized it. It is troubling.

The two issues are: One - Churches becoming provider stations for needs social and spiritual, versus: Two - Churches holding old-time preaching as their central mission. For instance, most evangelical and some fundamentalist churches are becoming or have become "provider stations" churches. They provide activities and entertainment including Christian dance, physical exercise programs, social opportunities in singles groups, seniors groups, single parent groups, etc., "enrichment" classes for drug abuse, sex abuse, alcohol abuse, child abuse, etc. There is a strong mood today in America for "user friendly," or "worship friendly" ministries. Even the Barna Reports urges churches to use more open "user friendly" styles to gain new people in our "worship." The opposite of this open user friendliness though, is the Biblical call for preaching as the central focus of our worship and services (Titus 1:3). The problem with this "friendliness" with the world and push to provide them with what they desire when they come to a church, is the compromise of the preaching to gain and keep the guests who are visiting from the world.

So today a church seems to be either/or, with those for the larger number becoming a "provider."

Getting mixed up in this tug-of-war is such ministries as Christian schools, AWANA, King's Kids, or other youth programs, Sunday schools and ministries born out of the Biblical charge to the churches to disciple and teach all things Christ commanded. In some more fundamental churches and Baptist churches the Christian school has become evangelism aimed in philosophy and in violation of I Cor. 2:14 and II Cor. 6:17, and scientific truth that the bad spoils the good, have done much harm to a generation of church youth by mixing the world (for evangelizing) into the school. The church has the mandate to educate from God, but not to use its education ministry for evangelism. The same could be said for other good church youth programs. A question should be asked, are they for evangelism or edification? If for evangelism, shouldn't they be aimed solely for the world's participation expecting little discipleship? If some come out of such program ready for discipleship shouldn't another program separated to ICor. 2:15 "He that is spiritual," be ready? However, mostly when we see these programs with mixed students we've seen it operate on a more shallow level. Am I saying don't have the lost in these programs? NO. I'm saying we need to recognize which are evangelistic and which are not and operate accordingly. We need to use caution that the remaining good churches do not become "user friendly" at the expense of keeping preaching the Word (Titus 1:3) in the central place of our church's mission (Rom. 10:14). Today we see Sunday school programs that are "user friendly" in that teaching the Word of God is pushed aside for socializing time around food and drink, relaxed and casual attitudes, shared experiences and comments, until an actual true teaching of God's Word is near to being lost in this friendliness for the user.

In some of the youth programs such emphasis is put on achievements and awards that the required Biblical and Christian work becomes rote and is routed through the heads rather than the hearts, as was in days of old. I would almost call for the demise of church programs such as Sunday school and youth (AWANA, King's Kids, etc.) programs if it meant refocusing on the preaching. I would call for such in churches where these programs have over-ridden the preaching services, spoiled mid-week centrality of a preaching teaching service, etc.

However, in those churches where these programs have kept Christ central and their churchís pulpit in central focus praise the Lord and keep on keeping on!

The Door-Step Evangel is published in the interests of Evangelism and information as a Church paper, sincerely devoted to the cause of Jesus Christ. We are in favor of everything that is right and opposed to everything that is wrong.

Archived Articles

Wolves Eat Sheep
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Who Fights Jesus Christ and His Servants?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Strangers Fullfilling our Worship
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Two-Church Doctrine
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

True Salvation
Dr. D. Curtis Martin

Win a Teen....for Life!
Dr. Erich McCandless

Where is Mt. Sinai?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

The Testimony Of Sokvary Fort
Sokvary Fort

The Second Birth
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Family Separation within Churches
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Preachers Preparing to Age
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Baptists are not Protestants
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Baptists Bearing the Protestant Flag
Martin Lamb

Thoughts Concerning Patriotism
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Pastoral Authority
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

The Pattern of Propagation
Dr. Erich McCandless

Pastoral Career or Occupation?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

What is the Parent-Teen Gap?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Church Oversight
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Our Bible
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Is the Apostolic Function Dead?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Neo-Baptists
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

A Modern Trend toward Pastoral Counseling
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Missionary Thoughts
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Should True Missionaries Pastor?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

What Truly is a Love Offering?
Dr. Erich McCandless

Evolution is a Lie
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Three Layers of Joining Unto
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Let's Have Church
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

A Case for Home Missions
Mike Custer

The Goal of a Sermon
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

The Offices of Evangelist and Missionary
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Enlargement or Growth?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Ego or Conceit?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

The New Disney
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Second Thoughts on Strict Dispensationalism
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

What is Historic Baptist?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

From Preaching to Teaching
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

The Social Church
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Correctional Ministries
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Which Came First?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Should Believers Be Local Church Members?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Baptist Preachers and Military Chaplaincy
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Church Growth Innovations
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Real Bible Preaching
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Satan's Blinding Power
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

What is Baptist Bridism?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Is Baptism Becoming a Sacrament to Baptists?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

The Atmosphere Surrounding The Crucifixion
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Has America Change Attitudes Towards Mental/Psychic Health?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

To Adapt or Not to Adapt
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Aged Ministers and their Wives
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham