Last Sunday (August 26, 2018) we began a sermon series based around the ideas in the book "Everyday Church". In chapter one of the book, we see some difficult realities that challenge much of the way we think about "church". Listen to the following quote:
One of the common assumptions, when people fail to turn up at church, is that we need to improve the experience of the church gatherings. We need to improve the "product". We need better music, more relevant sermons, multimedia presentations, or engaging dramas. Or we need to relocate to pubs, cafes, or art centers. We need cool venues with cool people and cool music. The problem with this approach is the assumption that people will come to church if the product is better...Our persistent "come to us" mindset suggests that we really believe that people who refuse to come in the front door are beyond the reach of Christ. -"Everyday Church". pg 27-28
When I read these words for the first time, I remember almost feeling offended. I immediately became defensive in my own heart and mind and began to justify and rationalize my reasons for wanting to do things with excellence in the Sunday morning experience. Certainly, we should seek excellence in all that we do, but the fact remains that in my own heart, even if I was not intentionally thinking this, I had kind of written off the folks in my life who did not come to church on Sundays. I had begun to buy into the lie that the quality of the worship service was the power of God unto salvation and not what Paul says in Romans 1:16:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. - ESV
There are people in our neighborhoods, universities, schools, workplaces, and families who desperately need this power of God unto salvation, but they have no interest whatsoever in coming to a worship gathering. Inviting them to church will not be the primary way that they hear this good news about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The primary way that these people, and many more, will hear the gospel is through followers of Jesus who proclaim it to them where they are. This is the mission God has invited us into. This is the mission Jesus spoke of in Matthew 28. This week, and you ponder these ideas, take some time to pray about the people in your life that God desires you to share His good news with. Remember, the power unto salvation is not in your abilities but in the goodness of the news about God!