I can completely agree with #1. As far as #4 goes, if I have to be around others back slapping me to keep my faith, then my faith must be pretty weak.
I have been turned off more by pushy proselytizers than ever turned on, and it seems to me it makes more sense to share his word OUTSIDE of the church in a way that doesn't shut people off. Inside the church, you are literally preaching to the choir.
1. faith and preaching to the choir
Christians live in the same world as non Christians. We have the same pressures, disappointments, temptations.
God created people as social beings. He also knows that we can serve, encourage, teach, and love one another if we get together with Him as our main focus. That is Church.
It is not always the faith that grows weak, it is the flesh.
Even athletes have coaches and fans that encourage them to keep on going to win the race when they are tired and want to stop for a breath or to ease the pain. Why would an athlete who has trained for a race need to be encouraged to keep going? Has the athlete lost his desire to win just because he is tired and hurting? Usually not. It is just that he is pushing himself past his physical limits, and his body is crying out so loudly that it is in danger of overtaking his will to finish the race.
I cannot count the times I have been struggling with something and then I hear another Christian, whether it is the Pastor, a friend, a Bible Study partner, or a You Tube clip quote a Bible verse that addresses an aspect of my struggle, encouraging me, or sometimes completely re-framing my issue so I can see it in a different light and keep going forward.
Last September I had a major re-direction as a result of studying the Bible and discussing the chapters with other Christians who were studying the same chapters.
No one spoke what God made me realize. The understanding came as a result of everything I was reading and hearing with God's Spirit sorting it out inside of me.
2. back slapers
I don't know how you can say that, since you do not know what is in every person's heart and mind.
Respectfully, I want to say that you sound very judgmental of Christians.
I've been to shallow churches, where most of the people don't open up about what is really going on in their lives and they don't want to hear the difficult parts of other people's lives. Even in those churches my family has met some honest, open, vulnerable people who want to minister to others, or be encouraged themselves.
When a church has mostly superficial or closed off people, our family has moved on to find a group of people, or "church" where people are genuine and not afraid to acknowledge that everyone's lives are not always perfect.
Our current Pastor has pointed out multiple times that life and relationships are messy...for Christians and non Christians. He knows some (many) people sitting in front of him are hurting, frustrated, disappointed, etc. We are all encouraged to listen, help and encourage one another.
There is a couple at our church who are greeters. On the surface they seem like happy people who have it all together. Their adult son died a couple of years ago, and they still struggle with sadness over that. Are they "back slappers" because they forget about their pain for a few minutes and smile as they greet people at the door? I think being greeters is a great ministry for them. They are able to forget about their personal pain for a while and bring some happiness into other people's lives when they greet them with a smile and a hug.
There is a current poster here on TAM who is so obsessed with his own disappointing life that he is a total downer for his wife and she is contemplating divorcing him. He would be better off if he took a few minutes to put himself aside and bless others, like the couple at our church. Then someone could catch him during a good moment and accuse him of being a "back slapper."