Sociology is the study of group living. It includes the investigation of integrated and non-integrated groups. The distinguishing characteristic of a non-integrated group—such as the crowd at a sporting event-—is that members do not meet regularly to communicate with one another about their common interest.
In an integrated group there is sustained interaction regarding some common interest through which the members mutually adjust their behavior. Well aware that no sociologist would classify the church as a non-integrated group, I must admit to a growing fear that more churches are non-integrated groups than we care to realize. The problem is certainly not that the members fail to meet regularly, but rather that they somehow have misunderstood the importance of talking about the common interest when they do get together!
Apart from the sermons, which are rarely heard or heeded as well as professional ministers assume, communication is seldom centered about the Christian faith, which is the cohesive element. Instead, congregations have equated “Christian fellowship” with potluck suppers, baby showers, Sunday school class socials, and church picnics—where conversation is about jobs, families, school, hobbies, sports, romance, and acquaintances, but seldom about the common faith and its implication for our lives. The peripheral edges are merely skirted. We may mention that the preacher’s message has been a blessing, or whisper that so-and-so’s son is far from the Lord. But, it is with embarrassing difficulty that we bare the condition of our personal spiritual being.
Not only are we unable to expose the treacherous dissents and agonies of our failures to a loving brotherhood, we cannot even share the specific ecstasies and triumphs of our faith lest we be thought super-pious. Our sufferings, therefore, are mute and our joys are tongue-tied! For the church to qualify as a valid integrated group, there must be a great adjustment here, with our interaction beginning to center in our common beliefs and their outworking in our lives.
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For so many of us, the Christmas celebration can be a mile wide and an inch deep. We tire ourselves with an ever-growing list of gifts to buy, activities to complete, and traditions to uphold. And through a maze of cards and calls, outreach and entertainment, we struggle to connect with others in meaningful ways. Our intentions are sincere, but often trivial. When we look back on the season, we’re often left feeling like our holidays somehow lost the Christ in Christmas, and only touched the surface.
Every pastor needs resources to help him or her find appropriate Sermons for Advent and Sermons for Christmas. With Christmas Sermon resources from Mainstay Ministries, you can help your congregation season their Christmas traditions with the flavor of Christ. More than simply helping them to remember that “Jesus is the reason for the season,” you can encourage people to focus on Christ in the very traditions that have become part of our celebration of Christmas: decorating our homes, conveying Christmas greetings, giving and receiving gifts, gathering with family and friends, entering the new year with goals. Click here to see a list of special Christmas Sermon Packages available.
Looking forward to Christmas? Looking for key Sermon Ideas? Wondering what to preach throughout the Christmas Season? Searching for help in preparing for your Sermons on Christmas Day? In addition to the above special offer, Mainstay Ministries has many valuable resources filled with Christmas Sermon Ideas to help you plan for your Christmas preaching and for such Sunday Sermons, including resources for the following: Advent Celebrations, Advent Sermon, Advent Sermon Series, Advent Sunday Sermons, Christmas Advent Sermons, Christmas Sermon, and Christmas Sermon Series. Connect with us on-line by clicking here.