Looking for a way to soothe the felt needs of your community? Need to get the unchurched plugged in to your programs?
Well stop it.
The following piece is both hilarious and- only because there's truth to it - sad. I didn't write this, but I gladly share it from the author who sent it to me today. It's inspired by the seekermergent path her own church is taking, and for that reason I am keeping her name anonymous. Enjoy:
Last Sunday, False Hope Fellowship launched a campaign aimed at creating a safe place where those who have been disappointed by the world can come to find hope. “This program has been in the works for some time,” said Pastor Ear-Tickler, “and after much prayer, we are confident that this plan is just what we need in order to minister to the felt needs of our community.
“The biggest obstacle to the lost’s finding Jesus is their unwillingness to engage with the church. Our research shows that the biggest deterrent is the fear of feeling condemned. We’ve tried many strategies such as creating a welcoming environment by telling our congregants that if they aren’t friendly enough their neighbor’s eternity is in jeopardy, or hosting neighborhood parties that really show how much we love people. The real emphasis has been on doing all we can to avoid offending those who step foot on our campus, and, while we were seeing small steady growth, we don’t want to offer to God a small gift. We want to show God how awesomely we love Him, and small just won’t do.
“Then, the other night, while watching the History Channel, I had a revelation that came straight from the Lord. What is the one thing that is most offensive to the world? The Bible! I’ve been trying to sneak bits and pieces in subtly here and there, but then I realized…Why? Why not do away with the offense of Scripture entirely and find a way to impart spiritual truths from somewhere the lost can really relate to? I mean, is God so small as to be bound by a book?
“So, this past Sunday, I implemented a preaching style I like to call “Reach Them Where You Can Teach Them.” We started a series called Lessons from Liberty. It’s all about finding your truth for your time in a time long ago…and what better place to start than in the Great State of Texas. I mean, seriously, if Jesus were alive today, He would be a Texan! Last week was “Whose Side Are You On?” Next week we will talk about “Resisting Santa Anna” and then move on to “Remember the Alamo,” a relevant message about letting those dark times in life become a catalyst for moving you on to do great things for God.”
We spoke with congregant Itching Ears, who praised this bold, new move. “How can we show people how much we love them if we can’t get them to church?” Ears said. “And if something is hindering the lost from coming to find love in Jesus, it’s got to go!”
Excited, new member Confused Goat commented that her favorite part of the service was the moving scene in the promo video where William Travis called for volunteers to step across the line he had drawn in the sand. “When he said, ‘There is no going back, men. Let’s do something great for Liberty!’ it was all I could do not to run down to the front right then and fill out one of those commitment cards!”
Deacon Little Wisdom attributes the monumental response to the authenticity in so many parts of the sermon. “Using a sandbox at the invitation with real sand was a stroke of genius! Giving people the opportunity to put themselves in those heroes’ place and step across that line will really make their decision for Christ stick. I know it was messy and can really damage the carpet, but what really counts is getting people to the point where they are ready to make a move for Christ.”
One prospective member who said he has been visiting for some time said, “The music moved me in a way no preaching ever could. If they keep this up, I’ll be joining in no time!” Everyone agreed it would be an egregious oversight to discount the impact the music had on all those present. With contributions such as Hillsong’s “The Stand” and Bethel’s “You Make Me Brave” included in the worship set, how could the Spirit deny their tearful request that He show up?