Abe – A layman and former adult/children’s Sunday school teacher at First Presbyterian Church (FPC). He has concerns about the direction of the church regarding sermon style/content, how those who ask certain types of questions about FPC are treated, and the general “philosophy of ministry” of the church. The church session has accused him of having bad character, being divisive, quarrelsome, factious, proud, and arrogant.
Bill – An ex-deaconate candidate and former adult/children’s Sunday school teacher, youth group leader, and small group leader at FPC. He shares the same concerns regarding the church as Abe. The church session has accused him of having bad character, being an immature Christian, committing betrayal against the pastor (by seeking the advice of another pastor in the presbytery), and of being a “follower of Abe.”
George – The current and charter pastor of FPC.
Jimmy – A session member and current adult Sunday school teacher at FPC. He is also the Adult Christian Education coordinator.
Chester – A session member and current adult Sunday school teacher at FPC. He is also the unofficial director of the Worship team.
Moderator – A pastor of a sister church in the local presbytery who has been assigned by the presbytery to moderate a discussion regarding the philosophy of ministry at FPC between Abe and Bill and the members of the session.
Moderator: Thank you all for agreeing to meet again to continue discussions. I pray that our Lord will bless our speech and that we may all have humble hearts and open minds throughout. Abe, would you like to begin tonight?
Abe: Sure. First off, I want to preface our conversation by saying that my goal is to be as respectful as possible and to recognize that Christian brothers may come to different conclusions on many matters, although I hope that we will not just “agree to disagree” on matters where the Scripture speaks clearly. I hope that we can agree on that much.
George: Of course.
Abe: Well then. Let’s start with the first concern on the agenda that was emailed to everyone present. Does anyone need a copy? [Pause] OK, I’d like to talk about the stated target audience for our worship services. It says in the Who We Are brochure that we seek to target “the seeker, the skeptic, and the follower of Christ.” I believe there is nothing wrong with the way this is worded, but the way it seems to play out week to week is that the Christian (and especially the member of our congregation) gets the shortest straw. Regarding the sermons particularly, George, you’ve said before that you have many people to consider in the audience, including the atheist and skeptic, and you can’t afford to preach “blue blood” sermons, meaning sermons that teach doctrinally, traditionally, or expositionally. Unfortunately, the effect of this is that members of your congregation are starving for the word of God. So Bill and I are representing many members in pleading with you to feed your flock.
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