By Ron Maggard – (Printed by permission)
Many are wondering how can we reach people in these post modern times. The masses seem to be completely disinterested and put off by churches. They seem too far away for us to reach them. Many are attempting unbelievable things in the name of Christ and His church to try and have a relevant appeal. I believe that in this attempt to be relevant that they have and continue to merely COPY a myriad of things from building styles, clothing, deportment, music and more. And sadly, these are all poor copies.
As an example of our poor copies many began to copy the cathedral builders. The great world and state religions which built their buildings on the most prominent location. Their architectural shrines were indeed awesome, but none of that could save a single soul. From the humble beginnings of the upper rooms and houses we bought into the crazed idea that a building was the only way to have a church. This has continued until no one even remembers what the church really is and that whether in the open air, in a home, a storefront, a rented office, it is just as much a church as if it were surrounded by the four walls understand impressive ceilings of a cathedral. Millions are spent on these copies that have little impact in order to reach souls around the world.
Some began to copy the Pentecostals with their wild fire. They saw that with their music and their star quality guests that greater crowds would come. We felt as long as we could hold to our biblical doctrine it would not be a problem to copy their methods. But we should have been better students of history to know that it doesn’t take long for our methodology to effect our theology.
Some began to copy the Liberals with their political correctness. They began to neutralize their message. They were afraid they might offend if they were not always positive. They didn’t want to turn anyone off by preaching against sin, evil and perversion. Taking a new PC stance they soon lost their power.
Some kept their eyes on the world and seeing the effectiveness of Hollywood, Nashville and New York’s ability to make a splash, draw a crowd and influence people they began to copy their ways. They threw out the hymns and hymnals. They took off their ties and put on blue jeans and sneakers. They visited the tatoo parlors. They spiced up their pulpit language. They put on a show. They entertained. All the lights, all the smoke, all the glitz. The problem is now no one can really tell where the world’s show ends and the church’s show begins.
So we have copied and copied until no one remembers what the original looked like. Can we wonder why so many are confused and disenfranchised? Is it any wonder people don’t trust the church? Is it any wonder that our message has become diluted, that we are powerless and we are loosing more with each passing generation? We must get back to the ORIGINAL! Stop copying! Get it straight from the book! God gave us the plan to reach people and it will work in every generation and in every culture. Do we believe the Bible? Then we must put away all the modern textbooks from all the church growth and marketing gurus and preach and teach the Gospel publicly and from house to house. We must take the risk and suffer persecution if necessary. Take criticism! We must be a bit old fashioned. Dust off the old Bible. Use it! The Gospel is still the power of God unto salvation. The Holy Spirit still convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment! The preaching the cross will always be foolishness to those who are perishing but it is still the power of God to the saved! I believe if we spent even a fraction of the time giving the Gospel publicly and privately as we do copying everything that comes down the pike we could see a difference. Let’s take a new look at the original plan that God gave. It will work! It is backed by His promise!