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Thursday, October 7, 2010

In Order to Save Some

New things are going to have to happen if the church is going to grow- new things that will scare the average church. Fear makes people create demons out of those who are doing new things. It says, "This new music is of the devil!" and "Look at the way these young people dress as they come to church, I was always taught that I was to dress up to come to church!" Those churches who have changed their music style and accepted people just as they are said to be dishonoring and disobeying the Lord.

The Apostle Paul said that he became all things to all men so that by all possible means that he might save some. (paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 9:22) So, some pastors are preaching in jeans so that they might reach people who come in jeans. The music style has changed to enter the world of those who are so unfamiliar songs that can be played on the organ. They are going to where the people are in order to reach them with the gospel. Old standards have been abandoned in order to do so.

Many people struggle with the unfamiliarity they find at church. They want to sing their favorite hymns. They don't understand why others don't want to as well. All the saints they have known from the past sung them. They want some security in knowing that the church is the one place that has not changed. They long for the way things used to be.

Some churches have created such an environment. They kept things exactly as they used to be. They kept their songs and their decor and their suits and ties and their orders orders of worship.They fail to realize that they are worshiping the familiar feeling that they have had in the past. They gather those around who feel exactly as they do. The numbers in attendance dwindle so slowly that it is hardly noticed. These churches die of old age.

An evangelist came to our church several years ago and told the church that it was one good flu season from going out of business. At that time the majority of the church was elderly. Admittedly, I did an incredible number of funerals when I first came. The evangelist was right. The church still had good attendance but was on the verge of dying by attrition.

However the church has changed. Those who were here had the vision of starting a "contemporary" service. This service is largely younger people but not totally. There are some seniors who come to the service as well. This service has become the larger service. Our preschool and children ministries are bursting at the seams. Our biggest challenge is finding teachers for them. Young adult classes have already outgrown the size of their rooms. You might even go to some of them and find people sitting on the floor because there just aren't enough chairs.

I thank God for those who had the vision for this service. They have allowed their church to change in order to save some. The church has a wonderful future because of this.

However, I am very cautious of the way we are doing things. I suspect that reaching people will mean that we will change again in the near future. We may have to do things which we have not yet seen the need for. We will have to listen to the Lord clearly. We will have to ignore our own personal preferences to see those whom we do not yet know come to Christ. I fear that there will be those who will say that they do not see the need for these changes. They think that things are fine just the way they are. They will not realize that things were changed so that we might see them saved. This is the way they have always known it.

The difference will always be found in those who have a heart for reaching people. Those with this heart will know the blessings of the gospel. They know the blessings of seeing people come to know Christ.

Do you have a heart for seeing people come to know Christ? Are you willing to change your own preferences to reach them? Do you know the blessings of sharing in the gospel?

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (NIV)
19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

1 comment:

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