… to help willing people move from the fringe to the core (discipleship) and from the world to the core (evangelism).
My observation is that the majority of local churches today, particularly evangelical churches in the west, are focused mostly on the evangelistic portion of this mission using mostly a strategy of “attractive” worship services. It’s staggering to see how much money is being poured into these ‘attractive’ worship services; it’s even more staggering to observe that many churches are coming to the conclusion that to make the service ‘attractive’ they must minimize the role of God and the Bible in it.
This weekend, I received a flyer in the mail for a new local church in my area. I don’t have it with me at the moment, but I saved it…maybe I’ll scan it and upload it if I think about it later. But I noted that it did not have the word “God” anywhere on it. It also contained a number of comparisons between it’s style and other (obviously, less ‘attractive’) styles of worship. The phrase, “we have a talk, not a sermon” comes to mind.
Now, I understand the concepts and purposes of the “seeker” church and the “emerging” church, but what kind of a church believes they have to hide God to be effective? Would God really call us to something that requires us to hide his Name to be successful? Isn’t the power to save in the gospel itself? Isn’t the biblical model for evangelsim Christians sharing their faith unashamedly with other Christians, in large group, small group, and one-on-one settings? Looking at today’s churches, you would think that the power to save is in concerts, dramas, social events, community service, and pop psychology ‘talks’…that it’s more important to go to church, be in a small group, have a good marriage, help people find their parking spots and not be stressed out than it is to have a genuine, personal, saving relationship with the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ which demands that we give up many (not all) elements of comfort to do the right thing and not just the popular thing.
My purpose in saying these things is to make a very specific point.
That point is that unless something is done to reverse the trend, we will soon find the visible Church dominated by the fringe…an intermingled group of lukewarm believers and Godless non-believers united not by one faith in God but by one faith in the world’s system. The core will be reduced in size, influence, and effectiveness. We will all rejoice in our election of leaders who promise a hope that is of ourselves and not of God.
If the core is going to do anything to reverse the trend, it has to rise up now. Time is running out …
2 Replies to “And so, our mission is…”
Great thoughts! I agree that we have to act now! I feel like our country has already entered into a period where there is an element of social persecution to even belong the the “core”…and I believe the level of persecution is only going to grow. I could be wrong about this, but I also think the idea of “fringe” is relatively exclusive to America and other well-to-do countries. There is no fringe in the Congo, Iraq, or China. You are in or out. You are hot or cold. You love Jesus or you hate Him. Only in America is it “cool” to say you’re Christian, but “uncool” to act like it. I fear that as persecution increases in America, the volume of “fringe” in America will shift towards the “world”. We have the responsibility of equipping those inclined and pull them into the “core” while we still can. Perhaps the disappearance of “fringe” isn’t a bad thing, though. At least we’ll all know where we stand!
We have failed in this country to disciple. Our churches have few if any elders, we did not train them. Most churches held deacon to be a high office, so when you were good enough to be a table waiter you were at the peak of development, not when you thought and taught and acted like Christ. I an NOT at the peak of my development, it is the race to win that counts.