Lately, I have been burdened about the “process” that many of our church leaders follow today when engaging the world with the Gospel. First of all, before some of my brothers and sisters start to bristle, I offer a disclaimer. I am in no way suggesting that all of our church leaders do this or that or are uncaring or unconcerned. The following is simply a commentary based upon personal observation. I am fully aware that many church leaders are sincerely striving to be pure and honest about how they share the Gospel with the world. Now that we have covered that base, let’s continue.
When I say… “sharing the Gospel with the world,” what do you think I mean? Well, think of it as a large wagon wheel. A church is at the hub (center) and whatever methodology it employs – radiates from there throughout its community and hopefully, beyond. Each unique church is the starting place, the center of the process. The leadership sets the tone and tenor of how the effort is implemented. Follow me? Let us go further.
It seems today that two distinct religious camps have emerged. Camp One is entrenched in yesterday. This camp hangs on to traditionalism at all costs. They simply cannot abide with the thought (much less the practice) of “compromising” the things that made granddad and grandma’s church experience so “meaningful.” They hold their chin high, glad they are not like these newfangled, multimedia-driven, millennial-friendly… worship centers. Yet, unfortunately, they often witness the decline and death of the “church” they hold so dear. Now, let us move on to the next camp.
Camp Two is fast on its feet, extremely comfortable with the new world of social media, and is all too willing to step on the toes of Camp One. This camp is more concerned about selfies, slick graphics, and stage presentation – than they are about generational harmony. This camp also speaks a lot about being relevant and at times, “numbers” (religious marketing results) can take precedence over everything else. Sometimes, leaders in this camp completely abandon every tradition of Camp One – even the good ones. So, what indeed is the point?
It is my opinion that most people – especially those we say we are trying to reach – would be better served by a melding of these two camps of thought and practice. After all, who are we expending all of our energy and resources to affect with the Gospel? Are we more concerned about preserving our personal comfort, or staying hip, or relevant, or traditional, or edgy, or whatever – than we are about reaching the lost? Have we convinced ourselves that the ends truly do justify the means? These are tough, disconcerting questions. None of us like to be challenged concerning our methods, well not usually.
The true challenge is figuring out how to bring these two camps to the middle, for the sake of the Gospel and the lost who do not understand our religious traditions or witty hipster catch-phrases. The middle of the Gospel is the sweet spot, which is fueled by unity and prayer. It is my prayer that as we face the reality of “last days” living, we will come to a middle ground that is filled with more “Jesus thinking” and less “me” thinking. Amen.
What do you think? If you would like to share your thoughts on this topic, send me a message. I would enjoy hearing your opinion.