This morning, I had a fairly lengthy conversation with an older man who grew up in the church but turned away as an adult. He has never returned. I see him a few days a week for a brief time, and about a year ago he started asking me to share a scripture with him each time we meet. So, I do that. Today’s conversation was initiated by him. He compared the church with the new electric car. He said that just to have it only one way would run most people off. He suggested that the church needed to be a hybrid, with both gas and electric. Interesting!
He went on to say that the ‘hellfire and damnation’ pastors might be good for some people but not for all. He felt that the church needed to be hybrid in its makeup so that you could attract all kinds of people, and once they’re in your church, then you would start ministering to them in a way that would be most impactful to them. I liken this to the expression; one shoe does not fit all.
Be the Church
I found this next thought extremely interesting. Even though he doesn’t darken the halls of a church anymore, he said that the world, especially America, needed the church to start standing up and being the church. He said he thought it was the only answer because there were so many opinions and religions in our world that were dragging people away from truth. And that we are seeing the consequences of this in our culture. Would you disagree with him?
The scripture came to mind expressed by Paul to the Corinthians. “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them and its blessings.” (I Cor. 9.23) In the earlier verses he said he became a Jew to the Jews, to those under the law he became under the law, and to those outside the law, he became as one outside the law. To the weak, he became weak that he might win them. He made it very clear that he was not under the law but that he was under the law of Christ.
Seek out the lost
My friend has made a very interesting argument for how the church should attract those outside the church, the lost. Even the lost that are attending churches. I say that what we’re doing today is not working. I believe the church in America needs to step back, look at our call and begin to seek the lost of every nature. It cannot be done within the four walls although there is a purpose for worship there. I’m going to end with the Great Banquet in Luke. This is how God sees us as the church and what we need to be doing for his kingdom.
“When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, less they also invite you and returning you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you’ll be blessed, because they cannot repay you.” Going on from there, certain invitees were giving excuses as to why they could not attend. The Master became angry and said to his servant… “go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame. And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you have commanded has been done, and there still is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”
Maybe the hybrid approach might just work!