hobby horse of late, I'm coming to the conclusion that one of the very hardest things to do as a preacher is to preach the gospel and not the institutional church.
I'm still working this out, but I do wonder and worry that when I hear a sermon about inviting people to church, or stewardship, or vocation, and it's all about increasing the number of members, or increasing pledges or giving, or recruiting more volunteers, that we've made our focus the institution and not the instituter.
I'm in the lucky position of not needing to worry about paying the heating bills for a church building, so I know this is an "easy for you to say" statement, but I wonder what would happen if we let go of the need to sustain the institution? What would that be like? What would we say?