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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Vantage Point: Fantasy Church

By Ken Horn
Dec. 30, 2012

I’m an NFL fan. But I don’t play fantasy football. It’s not that I’m above it; I just don’t like the idea of having divided loyalties. In fantasy football, people “draft” players, then choose who will “play” in their head-to-head battles with other members of their league. You get points for the statistics your choices put up in their real games. I can’t bring myself to do this because I don’t want to find myself pulling for a guy on my fantasy team when it could hurt the real team I’m rooting for.

Real football is more important to me than fantasy football. So I stay away from the fantasy version.

Fantasy church seems to be a popular game as well … where people find themselves rooting for all the wrong things.

Attendance numbers, while satisfying when they are large or rising, are really fantasy scores. This is by no means a postmodern fantasy. We used to post these scores on boards in the sanctuary. While you certainly don’t want to intentionally have fewer people, it doesn’t help to have a lot of people if nothing truly spiritual is happening.

Is God impressed by a church’s Easter attendance? No. But He does care about souls saved, lives transformed and spiritual growth. Even a dynamic message, visual presentation or exceptional music is meaningless if all it does is impress.

Does God care about how cool and trendy your church coffee shop is? No, but He does care if your investment in it yields eternal results. If a coffee shop becomes the driving force in itself and not a means to an end, that’s fantasy church.

The goal of football is to score points and win real games. The goal of fantasy football is to amass flashy stats that count only in a virtual world.

I contend it is the same with fantasy church. When our head is in the wrong place — prestige, notoriety, a “cutting edge” reputation — this is a virtual world that will pass away. Scoring points for the real thing, the eternal kingdom of God, is what counts.

“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11, NIV; see also verses 12-15).

Ken Horn

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