A few years ago while my family and I were on the first leg of our missionary journey (in New Zealand) that would eventually lead us to Scotland we found ourselves struggling to find a decent church. In the course of the two plus months while in New Zealand we visited about five different churches for Sunday morning services. There was one we heard that had some life and the preacher was apparently a good communicator so we decided to give that a try. Well after things didn't pan out the way we had hoped once again I decided I would just read my bible and found God leading me to 2 Timothy 4:2 which says, "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction." Now, I had read this passage many times before but this time it jumped out at me as though God were screaming it in my ear. Just prior to this in chapter 3 Paul is speaking about how in the last days people will try and find someone to tickle their itching ears. In other words tell them nice little fluffy feel good stories to make them feel good about themselves and the world instead of the truth.
Today this mentality is everywhere in the church where people show up on a Sunday at church to get a good vibe, network with other people to grow their businesses or just socialize. So many times the preacher will choose topical messages that keep them in safe territory with the congregation so that hopefully the numbers will grow.
So, what do we do at Alva Baptist? We are preaching straight through the bible starting with the gospel of John and dealing with the feel good stories and the difficult ones as well and letting God's word speak for itself. Our prayer in doing this is that instead of leaning on our own cleverness we will lean on the power of the Holy Spirit through God's word to speak directly to hearts so that they are changed not just for time but for eternity.
Whether we have 5 people or 5,000, our main goal is that people are fed the word of God. Jesus said, 'feed my sheep'! He didn't say do whatever you have to do to get more people in the building.
Later after that service we attended we went to pick up the kids from Sunday School and found their Sunday School lesson consisted of watching Eddie Murphy in 'Daddy Daycare'. Well, at least they were consistent.