American churches have become obsessed with church growth and church growth techniques, which certainly sounds like a good thing. Obviously we should want our churches to grow, because, in theory, this means we are reaching more people for Christ. In many cases these techniques are filling buildings, but are they really reaching people for Christ?
A church in our area runs TV commercials that say things like, “What if church was a literacy program for homeless children…would you come?” Wow. To me this sounds like an insecure kid at school saying, “If I give you my pudding, will you be my friend?”
Now Al Gore, esteemed founder of the fraudulent man-made Global Warming hysteria, is on a campaign to have pastors “go green” and give special attention to saving the planet. As one pastor who is gung-ho about the idea put it, this is a great way for us to offer something that people are interested in (by the way, why does no one cry “Separation of Church and State” when a career politician tells pastors what to say from the pulpit?). Am I the only one that finds it sad that pastors are scratching their heads trying to come up with something that people are interested in?
Then there is the famous Rick Warren method of knocking on every door in the community, asking why people don’t go to church, then tailoring his church to their desires. That is what has led these churches to remove the cross, stained glass, songs about Jesus’ blood, and messages about sin. This has led to “bless me” music and feel good messages. Pastor Warren, do you really want to know why people don’t go to church? They don’t love Jesus! Tailoring church to the lost is doing them a disservice.
Why? Because church is not for the lost. “Church” means “called out ones.” Instead of making church comfortable for the lost, get the lost saved, then bring them to church!
If people love Jesus they will go to church. This is the same concept that makes a person who loves sports go to games, a person who loves to shop go to the sale, and a person who loves a musician go to the concert. A person who loves Jesus will gladly go to any church that lifts up the name of Jesus; after all, Jesus said where He is lifted up He will draw men to Himself.
So to all my pastor friends, please just lift up Jesus. Enough with the programs, the competitions, the brainstorming, and the idea-stealing. Preach the Gospel, the whole Gospel, and nothing but the Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation. Remember, what you reach people with is what you keep people with.
If you reach them through a literacy program, going green, or removing the “religious relics,” then as soon as your program ends or another church develops a better program, those folks will be gone. But if you reach them with Jesus, as long as you continue to preach Jesus you will be OK.
Some people will be offended by this blog, I know. I’m not worried about that. I will just stick to preaching Jesus, but just maybe,
If I stop blogging…would you come to church?
Don’t bet on it.