Saturday, July 27, 2013
I recently read an excerpt from a book entitled, "The Go-to Church," which set the wheels upstairs in motion. While it is never safe to judge a book entirely from a pulled out section, what I read sounded like something I started reading back early in my ministry. "The Go-To Church lives by a different set of questions and rules. The Go-To Church doesn't ask, 'What can we do to get people to come here?' Instead they ask, 'What needs do people out there have that we need to meet?'...Everything is about relationship, and that means the Go-To Church goes to the community to build relationships that meet the needs of the ....disconnected."
Nothing bad here. It is an approach to ministry that a lot of clergy and churches were employing back in the '80's; however, reflection makes me wonder if we were not putting the emphasis in the wrong place. As I look back I wonder if it was not a way of trying to get folks into the church by meeting whatever need they might have which results in a church filled with folks who think it is all about me. Me-ism is what gives birth and life to the church shopper who is never satisfied and the church malcontent who keeps leaving one place for another that will regard him and his opinions with more value.
Looking back I fear we were doing a soft sell trying to fill pews. If such was the case then Jesus was surely disappointed. The gospel of Christ is a wonderful thing to consider and embrace. It has power within it that frees us from our sin and enables us to get beyond beating ourselves up with unhandled guilt. It even has the power to deliver us from this life to a life that can only be described as eternal. But, its call to sacrificial love for God and those around us is also a part of what it means to enter into this life brought into being by the gospel of Christ. Me-ism and Jesus simply cannot be put in the same harness. It is no wonder so many in the church today find more frustration than fulfillment.