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Someone recently related to me a conversation they had with the pastor of a church. He extended an invitation to visit and hear his next sermon, which would involve bringing in livestock for a visual effect, just before he “really hit them hard” with his message, sounding as if he were planning more for an attack than a service.

The observation of my acquaintance was this:  Instead of attempting to literally bring people in to see a dog and pony show, using various props to draw a crowd, why don’t we just use as our prop, oh, I don’t know, say, the Bible?

I foresee getting a bit of flack in the future over things I may begin sharing, but my heart is heavy and I am compelled to speak truthfully about what I see and hear. It concerns me to see churches competing with each other to “get their numbers up,” when the fact of the matter is, there’s merely a swapping of sheep. Folk leave one congregation when they get disillusioned, weary of being beaten over the head with religiosity, and move on, trying to find a place where they can find what they are looking for, only to repeat the cycle over again, searching for what I refer to as Antioch. You see, we’re told in the Book of Acts that “the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” A disciple was described as a follower of Christ. Throughout my youth and much of my adulthood, I considered there were only 12 disciples, but having gone back, re-reading and re-studying, I have learned that before Jesus was crucified He had hundreds (possibly thousands) of disciples, men and women alike, who were believers and/or followers in and of Him. For many years I asked my mentor, my spiritual father, “Where is Antioch in all this?” as I looked around a mega-church to see emotions at a fever pitch, once quite literally sitting through a sermon where the evangelist had brought in a boat, displayed on the platform as, you got it, his prop.

Are we called as we preach to focus on stirring up a person’s emotions, or rather minister to their spiritual journey and physical needs? It’s all in the Bible, some in red letters. I think I’ll continue using that as my prop of choice.

About Carolyn S. Hennecy

Carolyn S. Hennecy - a/k/a southern blonde traveling with sense of humor and a passion for cheesecake, known to be heard several times a day declaring, "JUST PEACHY!" Advocate for domestic violence awareness; member of Sexual Violence Task Force of Tampa Bay Speakers Bureau; spokesperson for American Heart Association; motivational and inspirational speaker; Author of ORANGE BLOSSOM WISHES: Child Molested, Woman Abused - Her Victorious Journey to Freedom (Carolyn's memoirs), she will be featured on the ABC Action News (WFTS Tampa) Emmy award winning primetime special "Taking Action Against Domestic Violence" scheduled to air Friday, October 14, 2011 at 8:00 p.m.


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