Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What Is Your Local Church Proclaiming?

Larry Peters had a post on his blog that was rather good, but today it is gone.  Thankfully, I saved a copy.  Here is what I consider the meaty part.
For too many years we have been told to share our faith.  Our faith is not what our Lord calls us to share.  Our faith cannot be replicated either by action, reason, or argument.  We are not here to convince people by our faith to believe as we believe.  What we are called to share is the Word of God.  We are here to scatter the seed of the Word—in words and in actions.  It seems to me the problems in our church body stem less from people not getting out there than from a severe lack of confidence in the Word of God to do what God promises it will do.

We share about everything but the Word.  We host all sorts of self-interest groups.  We cater to a variety of tastes in music and worship.  We have Bible studies for those who want to listen and those who want to talk, for those who seek THE truth and those who are looking for MY truth.  We organize groups for people by age, interest, marital status, hobby, and need.  We have parking and handicap accessibility.  We have buildings that look like the mall and come complete with all the amenities.  What we lack is the courage and conviction to speak clearly and with confidence the Word of the Lord.  Jesus promises that where that Word is scattered, the Lord will bring forth the plant, the fruit, and gather the harvest (at the proper time).  But we have turned the scattering into a business proposition in which we market what we were called to preach and we preach everything people want to hear but that which the Lord has given us to say.

It would seem to me that the biggest problem we have in growing the Church is that we are too focused on the things we do and not focused enough on what God does.  We say over and over again the Word will not return to Him empty but will accomplish His purpose.  Then we adapt worship to fit personal taste and make our preaching and teaching fit the prevailing norms of communication technology.  We cast visions like seasoned fly fishermen and have professional missionals minding the business goals and keeping up the current stats.  But I am not so sure we actually speak clearly and faithfully the Word of the Lord—or if we do, whether that is central to what we do and who we are.

If there is a common malady affecting congregations, it is not getting out into the community but getting the Word out into the community.  All in all it does no matter how well known we are if we have nothing to say to those folks who know us.  It is not our caring that will save them or our winsome welcome but the Word spoken with courage, confidence, and conviction.  We do not need to see the results to know that God is at work when the words and deeds of His people proceed from and return to the message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

1 comment:

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

When you have "seeker-sensitive," "market-driven" and "emergent" churches preaching entertainment and self, this is why you don't get the Word of God. Too many are wanting to be places of programs and fun rather than places of edification in the Word.