Big Name; Small Town
We don't get many celebrity pastors on the Isle of Lewis, but this past weekend Charles Price (The People's Church Toronto and Living Truth) was in our little town for a series of Bible talks organised by a committee of laymen who have set up the first Lewis Christian Conference.
I attended two of his sessions. It was gratifying to see so many people from across different denominations together under the preaching of the Word, and the conference obviously had a strong appeal.
Now that the dust has settled, and the megachurch pastor has left town, I am left with a series of questions. First, does the fact that so many people know of Charles Price through his television broadcast (yes, he asked us to raise our hands if we watch him), say something about the inadequacy of the local church? Do people rush home on a Sunday evening to catch something more satisfying than they received under the regular preaching of the Word?
Second, why does it take celebrity pastors and funerals to gather people of different congregations together? I noticed people in the congregation who have recently left us to set up yet another church in Stornoway (where there were already five conservative Presbyterian denominations) happily sit under the ministry of a hymn-singing Baptist preacher when they refuse to sit under the gospel ministry of local pastors.
And third, what now? I hope that the ministry of the past weekend will only cement and deepen the relationship of local Christians to their local churches. I have my doubts, though; too many of today's Christians are wistfully looking away from their own pastures (and pastors?) to the imagined greener grass on the other side of the fence.