Wednesday, October 21, 2009

water balloon evangelism

Sadly, I know people in real life who are like Mr shorty-shorts in the video.  Whats worse, is that many of us come across like this to the world without even knowing it.

This will probably be my last post in the extraction series.  I am tired of writing on it.  It only ticks me off to think about how out of touch we are with reality.  And, I am sure you are tired of reading about it.

I was walking through the parking lot on my way to get groceries and saw that there was a Starbucks inside Krogers.  My initial reaction was one of disgust, "what are they going to put them in next?!"  The more I think about it, it is clear that they have the right idea.  I personally am not big coffee drinker.  I have only been to a coffee shop one time.  If they are going to get me to try a cup of coffee, it is not going to be by making me drive out of my way, and going somewhere I would never naturally go.  They would have to put it in the normal pattern of my everyday life in order to get me to try it.  This is exactly what they have done.

I think part of the problem with most churches (and why they aren't growing) is because they are extracted from the normal patters of people's everyday lives.  Unless it is Christmas or Easter, or someone is getting married or dying, church just isn't the place where people go.  The people in church aren't the group of people with whom they normally associate.  People are interested in Jesus; they just aren't willing to go to church to find out about him. After 9-11, when you wanted to know more about Islam, did you go to mosque or read a book?  Most people read books rather than visited with Muslims face to face because we want the leisure or reading over the pressure of what we view to be an immanent hard sell.  Do you think our post/pre christian culture views us differently?

This is the problem which both the contemporary church--which is typically only a hip traditional church--and the traditional church have in common.  Both models expect people to "come and see."  The traditional church expects people to come because they operate under the cultural presupposition that it is Sunday and people will come to church.  The contemporary church expects people to come because they are so much cooler than traditional church.  To an unregenerate mind, neither is attractive.  The unregenerate would rather be elsewhere than church on Sunday, and if they are going to pick a place based on vibe, the church cannot compete with "vanity fair."

We need to model what Jesus modeled: Incarnation.  Evangelism is not so much of an event as it is a process.  We need to quit giving flip answers so we can move on to point 3 in our outline.  Rather, we need to take the long sell and model christian life and theology for them.  If we can't.won't do that, we need to just pack it up.

It is said that we shape the building and then the building shapes us.  I am not against buildings, but in spite of our affirmations to the contrary, when we think of church, too often, we are really thinking about buildings and programs.  The post/pre christian culture needs Jesus brought to them.  If we quit thinking buildings then we will no longer be limited by geography and environment.  Why don't we take Jesus to the pub?  The sports team?  The work place?  Our street? Because we do ministry at our church building...  we are probably too busy there to ever think about these other places.  After all, that would just put our work in competition with our home church, and we don't want to trump on their turf.

We need to be mindful of which kingdom we are supposed to be building.

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