Dear Seeker Church,

I understand.  I know that there are loads of people that walk through the church door who don’t know why they are there.  It isn’t as if they have had some apostolic vision calling them to your church.  And you think if things can be orchestrated nicely, just maybe they’ll come back.  Send them home with free gifts and tee shirts bearing the name of your church; reward them when they return and surely these will be enticements to coming on board.

But I fear you may have missed the mark.

There’s a striking difference between luring someone to church and drawing someone into a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Do we really need to nurture the consumeristic fever that permeates our culture?    Is this really what Jesus meant when he told the disciples he would make them fishers of men?

Perhaps if we spent more time making disciples rather than bench warmers INSIDE the church, there might be an authentic influx of those OUTSIDE the church.  Disciples breed and nurture disciples.  Programs beget…well, more programs.

There is no greater tragedy than those who sit in our pews, congratulating themselves for their attendance and bearing the name of Christian to the world, but whose untransformed hearts make a mockery of Jesus Christ and His bride.  I fear we’ve been far too easily tamed and molded into the shape of the world with the resultant loss of our message.  We must become a people with a flame burning deep inside that warms those in our midst.  God cannot be an addition to our lives, but must take over and progressively swallow up the self that rages and demands.If we’re not careful, our name may be on the church roster having never understood our sin and the magnitude of God’s grace and mercy.

I’m burdened for this because I was one of those.  And I was pierced in my barrenness even as I served in leadership positions in the church and thought I had it together.

The church must never forget: Only when we, ourselves, have been transformed by the Gospel, will we have the capability of drawing and transforming others in our midst.

Rosaria Butterfield said: “We may never know the treacherous journey people have taken to land in the pew next to us.”

Do we really want to send them on their way with only empty tokens?

Our message must always be:

Come into our midst and taste that the Lord is good. But there is more.  We’re not a country club but a stable.  We are a broken and imperfect people, hungering after a perfect God who is here among us.  We cannot clean you up, but He will take your meager offering of self and transform you.  And if you think life is hard now, the journey ahead with Jesus will be wonderful but unlike any you’ve ever undertaken.  It will take all of you.  If you come empty, He will fill.  But He will not polish your resume or guarantee health and prosperity.  Your heart will be broken a thousand times; you’ll have to forgive when it’d be easier to hold a grudge and you’ll likely have to die to self over and over again.  You’ll serve when you don’t feel like it and hold your tongue when you’d love to give a lashing.  Because once you really see Him and know Him, the value of all else plummets, assuming its rightful place.   This is what we as the church have to offer.  Only this.

So come.  Come see Jesus among us.  There will be no tokens given for your visit. 

But He will be your great reward.

Advertisements