Friday, March 11, 2005

Stop Inviting People to Church...?

MissionThink a little while back pointed out this post on HouseChurchBlog
I have made a promise to myself. I will stop inviting people to my church.

Hear me out now.

I spent nearly a decade with my well paid job in the church trying to get people to come to church. We would develop strategies...... wowing them with worship experiences, video, dramas, amazing sermons, .... all designed with one aim. That when you would invite your friend, they would say yes and go to church with you. All you would have to do is invite them, they would respond to the engaging message and multi-sensory worship, become curious, eventually come to Christ, and eventually become a part of our church. The problem is, it didn't work very well.

...Allow me to be very honest. I see too many of us in the house church falling into the same trap and pattern of fruitlessness. And some are suffering unnecessarily from disillusionment. I hear the same words over and over, ... Old habits die very hard don't they.

It reminded me of a bit of Brueggeman who in The Prophetic Imagination. Fortress (1978) makes the comment that :
"The prophetic community might ponder what the preconditions of doxology are and what happens when doxologies that address this One are replaced by television jingles that find us singing consumerism ideology to ourselves and to each other. In that world there may be no prophet and surely no freedom. In that world where jingles replace doxology, God is not free and the people know no justice or compassion". pp26
Until the church - whether it be inc. alt. or em. or even simply church! - works out what it is to demonstrate Jesus ' the faithful embodiment of an alternative consciousness.' (Brueggeman 1978) and discovers that 'glitzy slick come to us mission' isn't that alternative? nor even that attractive, I think we'll be singing the tune - but slightly off key!


Listeningear said...

I have actually been reading today some of Catherine Booths writing in relation to evangelism. Her theory is simple but great, she believes that we need to wait on the Holy Spirits infilling so that we are able to have a burning passion for souls, that we will weep when we see those caught in sin and their circumstances... until we do this our efforts are of no avail. And I believe this is true, people sense when we really love them with the love of God and they somehow catch it from us...

Gordon said...

C Booth had some interesting takes on evangelism - she remains an interesting enigma for me at the moment.

The 'no avail' bit is interesting it got me thinking about the 10 lepers.

Jim Knaggs said...

I'm thinking that we are privileged to partner with God in this process. There is a time to wait and a time to seize the moment. As God-lovers, we are continually leading people to Christ as we follow Him ourselves. I believe He leads us as well for the soul with an immediate need for grace...instant in season and out of season...

Steve said...

My friend and I were just having this same discussion via email. The one thing we should be concerned about - love - seems to get laid on the back burner in exchange for some edgey hook.

History repeats itself and we don't seem to learn from it.