I have been reading and re reading this book over the last few months and find many things in the book that can be implemented here in the church. For example he speaks about re casting the vision of the church and the fact that we have to cast this vision often for people to get it.
Now I do not agree with the theology of the Evangelical church. I have often said on these pages that I believe that Protestant Evangelical Theology is a mile wide but only an inch deep. There is no depth in a church that has not tradition. A church that only uses Scripture and ignores the Fathers and Mothers of the Church and the rich tradition of more than 2,000 years. During my college years I bought into this and joined the Church of the Nazarene for a period of time. To this day I am glad I did as it lead me to Romania and to my current position. I do however believe that they are Christian and work hard to make the world a better place.
With all that said I have come under attack on Facebook by some well meaning Orthodox clergy who try at every turn to discredit Pastor Warren and his books. People are entitled to their opinion but I also find that Orthodox faithful, and clergy are the worst at this, who convert from the Protestant faith to Orthodox are so rabidly Orthodox that they just discredit anything but that which is Orthodox. Okay this is fine, but when you are pulling 5,000+ to your Sunday gigs you can write a book about how you did it. Until this happens by someone from the Orthodox Church I will continue to read and quote people like Rick Warren.
I mentioned on Facebook that our job was to get butts in the seat. I was immediately challenged that our job was to bring people to a closer communion with God. Okay that is true and I agree and practice that, but how can we bring people to a closer communion with God if they cannot hear the message?
St. Nikolai Velimerovich is quoted as saying, “We must be super-conservative in preserving the orthodox faith, and super-modern in propagating it.” I think this Saint was the Rick Warren of his day! We see from the mouth of the Saint him telling us that if we do not remain relevant to the day we will become irrelevant. If Rick Warren can get 5,000+ people to his church on Sunday why can’t we? We boldly proclaim at each Divine Liturgy, “We have found the true faith.” If this is true, and I believe it is, then why are people not flocking to our church?
Okay, the argument goes that as many people that enter Pastor Warren’s Church leave. Again Spirituality a mile wide and an inch deep. So why are we not attracting people to the Orthodox Church and thus the true faith? Pastor, what are you doing in your church that brings people in? My detractors on FB make fun of Pastor Warren’s programs, but do we not have programs? Most of our Orthodox Churches have large festivals every year. If that is not a program, I am not sure what is? Pastor, are you making a difference in your community or are you sitting in your church just waiting for people to come? Pastor, are you reaching out to those in need and finding a need in your community that you can fill? Pastor, ask yourself this question. If your church was to close tomorrow, would any one, save the people who go there, know you were gone? If the answer is no, then Pastor you are not doing your job! That’s right I said it, your not doing your job if your church would close and no one would notice it!
Yes our job is to bring people to the closer communion with our God. But how are we going to do that when our churches are virtually empty on Sunday?
Jesus told Peter to push out into the deep and cast his net wide. He argued that they had been doing that all night and had nothing to show for it. Jesus told him to push out into the deep and cast your net wide. He did, and the boat almost sank due to the catch. When Jesus blesses our casting watch out. But we cannot sit on the shore with the net in our lap and wait for the fish to jump in, we have to cast our net wide and with the help of God, catch some fish. Then we are doing our job.