Is it just me, or does this read like a business sector analysis examining the reasons for declining sales.
I think Micah Fries hit the nail on the head at the end of the piece:
"We've slapped a Jesus sticker on everybody who will raise their hand and say 'I do' in a church without questioning whether their faith is legitimate, whether they're making a real conscious decision, whether they're just emotionally responding," said Micah Fries, a 28-year-old pastor of a St. Joseph, Mo., church.
"I can whip a crowd into a frenzy and I can get response. ... I don't want response. I want changed lives."
I think that for too long preachers have talked people into coming down the aisle and making a "decision for Christ." I have heard of a preacher that claimed he could make such an emotional appeal to people that he would have them jumping the pews. Unless the Spirit of God convicts a person of their sin and their need for salvation, then what have you gained. You have a bunch of people who believe that they are saved, but live like they are lost. There has been no real transformation of their lives and no impetus to lead others to possess what they don't have to start with.
Salvation, from start to finish, is the work of the Holy Spirit. I think it is high time for preachers to take "themselves," and their powers of persuasion out of the way, and allow the Spirit to do His work.