Tuesday, May 08, 2007

What do we really want?

I was struck by a thought last night:
I don't think the Church knows what it really wants.

I know we tell people what we want: we want to see people establish and grow in their relationships with God, we want to see people healed and set free.

But do we?..... Really?....

I hear a lot of local churches talk about wanting to be "the Acts 2 church", which sounds like a good goal. After all, the believers whose stories are told in the book of Acts gathered together every day. They prayed, worshiped, gave generously and served sacrificially. They also grew exponentially. God added to their numbers daily.

And while it sounds noble to say we want to be like the Acts 2 church, I think that what we really mean is that we want to grow like the Acts 2 church. We want the numbers. And so we develop strategies and launch marketing campaigns, trying to "get the word out" about who we are and what we do. We try to develop web sites and print material that are unique and edgy, and that show people that we're different... "this church is different, and here's why".

But here's the thing... the whole world is marketing something. Everyone is trying to sell something. Whether it's a car, a mortgage, or a hamburger.... Our fancy fliers and postcards are simply added to the stack of advertisements that people receive in the mail everyday. We're using the same strategies and techniques as the rest of the world, to try and convey the message that we're different than the rest of the world. And in doing so, we look just like the rest of the world.

So what if we just stopped? What if the time, effort, and money we put into fliers and postcards and posters was used for something else? What if we really became like the Acts 2 church and simply served people? Radically, generously, sacrificially served people? What if we showed up in the same neighborhoods week after week and offered free car washes? Free bottles of water on hot summer days? Free coffee on cold winter days? What if we unconditionally offered to fix someone's broken front door - for free? What if we helped an elderly woman cover her windows in the winter to keep the drafts out? What if - like the Acts 2 church - we gathered in a public place to worship? (Notice that the Acts 2 church didn't have their own building. They went to Temple to worship and pray.)

It seems like Western churches have fallen into the trap of trying to market a product. But Jesus isn't a product. He's a Person. So what if we stopped all the fancy campaigns, all the pretty postcards, and all the "edgy" posters, and simply got to know people - and in the process helped them get to know Jesus? What if we stopped relying on how we look and started trusting in Who He is, and who we are in Him?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

so yeah...love this

josh m

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you for this. you're really on to something here.

4:15 AM  
Blogger Todd said...

Great post Steph.

I really apprieciate your thoughts on this.

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazingly true....great post Steph!


12:01 PM  

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