MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

How Not To Reach Them

July 8th, 2007 Visited 1411 times, 1 so far today

We’ve recently gone through a series on How to Reach Them and we talked about the different kinds of things that we can do to reach those that are lost.  We are indeed living in different times– defined by two different groups of people.

Christians Tending to Themselves

This first group of Christians realizes that the numbers in the church are dwindling, but doesn’t know what to do about it.  I characterize them by the following ideas:

  • We have to keep the programs that we’ve always had running.
  • We can’t try different classrooms, because the ones we have have always worked.
  • We don’t have time during the week to do anything but the services that we normally attend.  Don’t ask us to attend service on a special night.
  • We have a problem with family so-and-so, or with the way the church is being run, so we may not be back.

It is these people that are forgetting two very important things.  Christ’s command that we love one another as He loved us was specifically addressed to believers about believers.  That doesn’t mean that we love sin, but that does mean that we should go out of our way to try to restore one another, and to look after one another.

The other thing that I think gets forgotten here is that if we’re so busy ministering to each other– who’s out reaching lost souls and discipling new converts.  Christianity was never meant to be a stale, treading-water affair, but was meant to be a vibrant faith that spread.

Christians Justifying the Means

This next category of Christian will do anything to get the message out– including some of the things I showed in a post last week.  It seems that no trick is to low, no idea to far away that a Christian will try it.

Some will use cheap tricks with $20 bills to try to get the Gospel out.  Now, no matter what you think about tract’s effectiveness, trying to hook people by making one look like a $20 just to have it be something else is deceitful.  Or maybe dressing in immodest attire and parading around a sanctuary is more the right thing to do.  Now I know that these are catholic nuns, but it’s just a matter of time until Protestants see how many men are coming in to see the women.

And it’s not just these blatant problems, it’s more subtle ones.  Christians will use gimmicks to get people in.  I have to admit, while writing my series I had to keep thinking about whether I was trying to do a gimmick, or really trying to reach people in a Biblical way.

We Need to Get Back to Basics

What we need is to get back to the Word.  To get back to original Christianity and the power of the Cross.  If we could realize what we’re here to do, and focus on that rather than ourselves I think that we’d see a big difference in our churches.  We wouldn’t have to rely on gimmicks, trickery, or clowns leading a service.  The Word of God and how it impacts lives would be on display as we lived the Word of God in our lives and in our services.

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  • Arthur says on: July 8, 2007 at 8:53 am

     

    Paul warns us about these pitfalls in Romans 11:11-24 when he talks about branches being grafted in. Of course, the Bible is full of warnings against falling away from the faith, but I was just reading Romans 11 during my quiet time last night and this morning.

    I believe that churches die when the church as a whole as lost it’s focus on the True Gospel. Often the Gospel is replaced with a series of mandates, rules, regulations or traditions. Sometimes the Gospel is replaced with a desecration of the Word as your ‘Church Stripshow’ is symptomatic of; or one might point to women pastors or gay marriage in a church.

    But remember, the root of the problem is not the gay ministers and lawlessness. Those are just symptoms of the problem. The problem is unbelief. As Paul tells us in Rom 9:31-32, “but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they persued it not by faith but as if it were by works.”

    Either way, apostasy is a major problem in the world today, but it is not something to be feared because wherever there is an apostate church there is also a Church thriving on every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God.

    God is good!

  • chris naron says on: July 8, 2007 at 8:34 pm

     

    I agree with the “getting back to basics” approach. But what if you come across a church that teaches straight from the Word, but has elements in the worship service that you find objectionable, from the obvious–praise music–to the baffling–not passing the plate?

    When Chuck Smith was ministering to the hippie kids back in the 70s, he didn’t have any fancy programs or marketing strategies. Just the word and tolerance.

    I think we’re way too intolerant of some things today while we’re way too tolerant of others. I can’t tell you how many times my former Southern Baptist congregation blatantly ignored adultery in order to retain a teacher or deacon while making people who didn’t dress “right” so uncomfortable they left.

  • MInTheGap says on: July 8, 2007 at 9:59 pm

     

    Welcome back, Mr. Naron.

    I follow your logic when talking about our tolerance and intolerance dichotomy. I think that we’re really hard on some sins and very light on others. I think that we even joke about how light we are on others– if you know what I mean.

    Do I have a problem with back to the basics if it has “objectionable elements”? As long as it’s not a gimmick. Too often I’ve heard the line “I have to have this music, this performer, this attraction in order to get people to come to church,” and to me that’s the opposite of the basics.

    It’s true that Paul drew from what was around him when he was on Mars Hill to reach those there– but he didn’t go into the Athenian temple, he didn’t offer a sacrifice to the idol, nor did he encourage them to. He took something and went a completely different direction. His attraction was the Word.

    When I’m doing a bait and switch with the Word of God, I’m sinning. If that makes sense?

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

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