I remember when people sat on their front porches and talked to their neighbors as they walked by or waved to anyone driving past. Those days are gone for most of us.

With the movement into urban and suburban communities and the advances in technology we have become more isolated from one another. We come home from work, park our cars in the garage and settle into our comfortable air conditioned space loaded with media to entertain us. The next morning we get into our cars and drive away often without any contact with anyone next door or down the street.

I am grateful for the comforts of my modern day home and all the conveniences it affords. I do not desire to go back to the good old days. But I do long for more personal interaction with people around me. It has been said that “man’s home is his castle.” I can understand and appreciate that expression but that does not mean we have to resort to a fortified mentality. I would like to see us be more interactive with one another and be more responsible to and for one another.

This cultural phenomenon has also impacted the church. Much like our routines at home, we enter nicely furnished and comfortable buildings to worship or for Bible study and “fellowship” and then we get in our air-conditioned automobiles and drive away. If we are not careful, what we experience at church will be kept to ourselves- and the Christian faith is one that is expected to be lived out openly.

Before the days of huge and comfortable sanctuaries to worship in, tent revivals were popular in Christian circles. Tents would pop up all over the place and traveling evangelists would pound the pulpit as they proclaimed the gospel. Folks would gather in large numbers for the spirited singing and preaching. Hand held cardboard funeral home fans would provide the only air conditioning during the hot summer months.

There is an old saying, “What goes around comes around.” Recently I have been a part of two worship experiences held under a tent. Shiloh Campmeeting in the Burwell Community of CarrollCounty held its 148th Campmeeting under a tent because their 99 year-old arbor was in need of some repairs. Then I was privileged to preach at McEachernUnitedMethodistChurch’s Tent Revival. Normally both churches hold their worship services inside in air-conditioned sanctuaries but they see value in what many call old-fashioned.

David Blackwood, the Associate Pastor at McEachern, is responsible for the assimilation process of moving visitors to regular worshippers and then to becoming disciples of Jesus Christ. He told me that they were discovering that some of the “old” ways of following up with folks who visit the church are still very effective.

I would not suggest that old things or methods are better or even still useful. But I would urge us not to discard something just because it has some age on it or because something “new” comes along to take its place.

Jesus said, “I make all things new.” I think that does not mean that everything is brand new but sometimes it is an old item or idea that is simply tweaked or re-tooled.

Let us be careful not to “throw the baby out with the bath water” but carefully examine our methods and techniques to see what value they have and how the principles they use might be applied to our new situation. Beware of the mentality of “out with the old and in with the new.” Perhaps you are throwing away something that is extremely valuable.

Jamie Jenkins

 

 

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