This last chapter was about the Church. It was definitely a hard chapter to read. Platte referenced some different churches that he had visited in countries that currently don't allow Christian missionaries on their soil. He referenced the power and passion that the churches run with because of their total dependance on God for everything they need to grow and succeed.
He said that his view on American churches had been severely impacted because of his encounters with these churches...that American churches were relying on their own power to succeed instead of relying on God and the power of the Holy Spirit. That accusation is something that really made me struggle. I don't like to think of churches in America being selfish and not rooted in prayer, but the sad reality is that there probably are churches where that is the case.
We live in such a commercialized society that we tend to focus on what WE can do to bring people into the church, like modern videos, louder and more entertaining worship, and energetic, relevant preaching. I'm not saying that these are bad things, but if we as leaders are focused on what WE can do and not what God can do then we have a problem. Ministry needs to be constantly bathed in prayer asking God to bless ministries and work through people to bless people.
Probably the most thought provoking thing that I read in this chapter was something Platte said about prayer and the Holy Spirit. He said that so many times we miss the point when we pray and are waiting for answers. We could be praying for God to provide something to us that we need and while we are waiting for that to simply be handed to us...God has already sent us the Provider. His point was that so many times we fail to see that God answers a lot of prayers for us in ways that we don't expect. Like meeting a physical need for us by sending someone else along to help. It was something that I hadn't really thought about much.
Sorry this post was so choppy and didn't flow...these were just some things I took away from this chapter. I would love to hear thoughts and comments about this subject and how you think the church is doing.