"People Are Smart"
Stephen writes..."When I preach on Annual Meeting Sunday, there is often a quality of 'State of the Union' to the sermon occasion (though I don't expect you to applaud 60 times--once is enough!). And what is the State of the Church? Very healthy--but like every congregation in the country, facing increasing head-winds of secularism and distrust of organized religion. How we confront these challenges will determine not the health of the church this or next year, but a decade or a half century from now. So I thought I would come at this topic through a phrase I often use with our interns and with other young ministers I encounter--that people are smart, and instinctively know what they need, and are amazingly intuitive about every aspect of our common life. And how it is that we respond to each other's deepest emotional needs that will absolutely determine our future."