Pastor Kent Hughes of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois, almost never preaches a topical sermon series. But shortly after the 9-11 attacks, he sensed the Spirit directing him to interrupt his study of Genesis to preach a 14-week series on pressing, current topics.
College Church's leadership knew issues like materialism, hedonism, marriage, and sexuality would generate questions. So after Hughes's sermons, ushers passed out note cards for people to write down those questions. The cards were collected, and the congregation was invited to return that evening to hear the answers.
As people were seated at round tables in the church's new fellowship hall (called "The Commons"), elder Harold Smith moderated a panel discussion including pastors and knowledgeable church leaders.
"We weren't sure how the church would respond to changing our Sunday night format," Smith said. "But by starting time that first night, the Commons was packed and people were waiting outside the door."
Following the panel's ...1