Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tricks of the Trade

Should we "trick" people to Jesus? Opinions vary. Most Christians would be uncomfortable with the word, "trick," but the methodology we employ in evangelism, outreach, and church services, says a lot about the God (or, god) in which we believe.

An essential question for any follower of Christ is, "Is Christ enough?" After a cursory reading of scripture, any believer would be constrained to affirm the Bible emphatically answers, "YES!" Click the Biblegateway link to the right of this blog and search "Christ" for yourself to see the way Scripture speaks of His exhaustive sufficiency for faith, life, and ministry. Applying this great truth to the life of the church will be key for our generation. Too many unchurched people (and many churched!)are already disenchanted with the arsenal of "next great things" we've devised.

If the Church in the modern era has lacked anything, it has NOT been a limited approach to outreach methods. Agree or disagree, the terms, "Seeker sensitive, contemporary, blended, missional, and emergent" have become house-hold words for church planters, and even for many in the pew (I mean, chair. Whatever. See what I mean?).

One thing that has NOT lacked is seminars, conferences, classes, websites, companies, and arm-chair theologians who have derived their method on "the best" way to reach people.

My concern is that the same type of energy has been virtually non-existent to cause us think about how to be more Christ-exalting, more Christ-centered, more Christ-like, more Christ-saturated, and more Christ-believing!

OK, so I'm a bit disenchanted with the "tricks." I concede, no, I gladly embrace, that Christ is the King of "incarnational ministry," and the paramount model of "cultural relevance." He is the greatest missionary ever, and the most effective! Is He still around?

Wearing sandals, a robe, and growing a beard is not the way to model Christ. Being allegiant to God with all your heart, and loving people with insurmountable passion is! As Christ works in His church, of which He is the boss (Eph. 5; entire NT), the greatest "trick" to gather "outsiders" will be unconcealable - changed lives! Coming up with ways to advertise, phrases to coin, or cool web-based thingamajigs, will not suffice for "compelling reasons" for "seekers" to check out our churches.

We need God. As He changes lives, and the office jerk becomes the office intercessor and becomes the office servant, people will take note, and perhaps they will become "seekers" too! As believers, equipped in a community of faith, and possessing a real love for Christ that spills over in commending Him Whom we cherish, we will have returned to a wonderful methodology.
Christ is enough. Mailers, preview services, church-plant launch services, radio bits, commercials, etc., may have a place. But, nothing suffices for Christ working in, and working through, a warm blooded human who is being transformed by His power!

Lord, fill us with authentic love for Your Son, and authentic love for our neighbor! Be pleased to use us to commend Him to many!


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