Monday, December 8, 2008

Doobie Brothers & Evangelism

One of the most puzzling questions in my mind has always been, “Where did the attractional model of evangelism come from?” It you are not familiar with this it basically means that a particular church has a particular worship or cultural expression that makes non Christians get up early Sunday morning, drop what they are doing and go to church.

As for me I have always wanted to put nails on the road in front of the church and then offer free tire repair as an attractional method. However, there may be a few ethical problems with this approach.

Of course I am all for churches trying to remove those things that make it unnecessarily unattractive such as archaic styles, but is it reasonable or even biblical to expect that the main method of evangelism is to get people to church?

When I was a new Christian there was a great expectation and hope that if we as a church were to return to our origins as found in the Book of Acts then the world would hear the commotion, come and check us out and then fall to their knees. Revival would then ensue. After all, isn’t that what happened in
Acts 2 when the church was filled with the Holy Spirit for the first time? Many people came as a result of this, Peter preached his famous message and 3000 people were saved that day. Now that is something to write about!

Well, let’s do some math here. There were 120 Christians praying in the upper room of a house, and God showed up in great power. Then we read that this move of God attracted a lot of people, but it is unclear how many people or where they gathered. Next there is a debate among the nonbelievers as to what just happened – how did they get in the upper room? Then Peter makes his move with a powerful message.

I firmly believe that God used Noah to carry pairs and sevens of all animal life on the Ark, but I do not see how the first church fit over 3000 people in the upper room. I don’t even believe that Peter preached from the window. At some moment on this great day I believe that Peter took the discourse to the streets or to the community, and this is where the church often falls short in its understanding of evangelism.

We may indeed experience great moves of God within our insulated Christian communities, but does the result of these experiences ever make it to the streets? I fear that the answer is very seldom.

The real attractional model is to go to where the people are and shine: the streets, the community, the workplace, the university. Don't let the church building become a basket.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matt 5:14-16


Forrest Berry said...

"Don't let the church building become a basket."
or a casket.

Mike Watkins said...

or a basket case, or a museum...

Dave Hess said...

or a monastery

Anonymous said...

I'm very late to the party but would like to propose the thought of getting rid of church buildings all together... "What?! No but assemblies?" No, they could still be had... but rather than a body of believers "invest" in a building that will for the duration of its existence require the majority of tithe money to sustain it, why not truly invest in a legitimate business in the market place which will not only provide some income, employment and many other things, it could supply and sustain a large enough building for said body to meet in? If successful becoming self sustaining, then all the tithe moneys could actually go to help "the lest of these". After all, the distilled fruit of our lives, in other word... what we did or did not do unto the least of these seems to be a rather significant thing to King Jesus...
It's a simple formula really [ Jesus = jesus ]... " Jesus" (in His singular body while walking the earth) should look like "jesus" (us being His 'plural' body still walking the earth) Or in other words again... If we want to know what we as the body of Christ should look like, all we need to do is check and see what He did while walking the earth in His earthly body. He went to the scum and the losers and the nobodies like me. He didn't sit back with an attractional model of being the Messiah.