Training for the battle

SoldiersI recently read in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon concerning the training that the Roman army did in preparation for the battle.

Gibbon writes that the only difference between the field of training and the field of battle was the effusion of blood on the latter. In other words the training was rigorous enough to prepare the soldiers for battle. When they encountered the enemy their training allowed them to respond effectively.

Compare this to the average church meeting in America. Do we come together with the understanding that we are there to train for a spiritual battle? Are we challenged to grow in our understanding and spiritual depth? Are we preparing the congregants to encounter and give answer to a lost world?

The battle is real and preparation is vital to succeeding in our mission.