I watched a presentation last week where the presenter was talking about how times have changed in the church and how we must change with it. One of the things that stood about about what he said was that people aren’t going to respond to the Gospel if they see it as a ploy to get them to come to our church. That was NEVER part of the Great Commission. It seems that today too many ministries and churches are trying to “get people saved” in order that they can build their church and get more people coming to their brand of Jesus. We need to stop selling Jesus because people aren’t buying it.
Years ago I was associated with a minister who was attempting to start a church. It should have been a red flag to me when he told me that he had to be a leader and that he wasn’t meant to be just a member. Just a member? You mean like me? When the church didn’t take off, he moved to another state.
So what are we selling here? Some people want to start a church or ministry and when it isn’t big, they lose interest. They think that God is only interested in the big things or the mega church. We think that large numbers means that we are successful. We treat God’s work like a business and think that the bottom line is the measure of success.
I’m always suspicious of peoples’ motives. Why are they REALLY doing what they are doing? Why does it need to be big?
Since I left the church I have had some who have come along to connect with me but when they see that I am not going to come to their church, their interest in me fizzles out. So that would lead me to think their interest in me isn’t in ME but in what I can do to be a part of their church or their ministry. Jesus didn’t start this thing so that preachers could have a pulpit to preach from. In fact, if you study the Bible, you will see that Jesus didn’t have a church and many times when He went into the synagogue it was to preach to the religious people. When Jesus went out to the people, He had compassion on them and their needs. He healed the sick and He spoke words of peace to them. The only people He asked to join Him was the disciples.
In Matthew 25, Jesus speaks to the righteous people about how they ignored Him when He was hungry, thirsty, needed clothes, was sick or in prison. When they asked when was it that Jesus was this way He said that whatever you did for one of the least of these that you have done it for Him. So today we should be more than just an advertisement for a church organization. We need to meet people’s needs. If we see someone who is thirsty we need to give them something to drink. If they are hungry we should be willing to feed them. If they need clothes we should help them with clothing and so on. Never once did this say that we are supposed to witness to them. I know that’s a shock to a lot of people out there but witnessing alone won’t get it done. Today if you talk to someone about Jesus and they don’t see action behind the words then they aren’t going to accept it. just saying “God Bless You” doesn’t quinch their thirst and giving them nice, glossy witness card isn’t going to do them much good.
In my years with the church I was always opposed to knocking on doors. To me it was too much like being a door-to-door salesman. That was never a good way to get people to come to church. In fact, I had never seen that method of evangelism – or whatever you call it – work. If it did, it had to be a low percentage. Yes, I know if you reach just ONE person it was worth it but I never saw that selling Jesus that way was very efficient.
Have compassion on people. Meet their needs. You’re not going to do it by having a perfect attendance in a mega church with air conditioning, padded seats and singing songs from high tech visual presentations.
You may be thinking that I’m against church. In some parts I am. This kind of talk makes us uncomfortable. We get defensive and protective about our church. We would rather stand in our Jesus arenas and clap for the Lord than to do something about it. I lived a miserable life going to church and nothing changing. When you leave church feeling worst than when you came then there is something wrong with church. Sure, I think church is important for instruction and teaching but I think there has been too much emphasis on that than going beyond the four walls of a building. The church still must go out and – not add to their numbers as a church organization – but add numbers to disciples of Jesus Christ. That’s it in a nutshell. I think we’re just often too chicken to do that. It’s easier to stay in the church and TALK about doing it or even giving money so other people will do it.
There are people in need and hurting around us that need help. They need compassion. They don’t need a sermon. If it’s really good news then they need to see why it is good news. They need to see us being an example in actions and not just words.
It’s up to each one of us to do our part. It’s not always fun and it’s not always easy but helping others as if we are doing it unto the Lord is the attitude we should have.
I worked in churches for most of my life. I worked with youth, I taught Sunday School and Bible Studies and I even tried to preach but that left me awkward and miserable. Why is that? Talk wasn’t getting it done. The only thing that really ministers to people is to meet their needs and SHOW them. You show them by doing.
Let’s stop selling Jesus. People aren’t buying it. Jesus doesn’t need us to sell Him, He needs us to BE Him to others.