Thursday, July 29, 2010 | By: Zachary Bartels

If...

If a man set up a meeting with me in my study at church....

...and if that man showed up with charts and graphs and powerpoint presentations, offering me access to a program by which I would be guaranteed to quadruple attendance, membership, and involvement at our church, all within six months...

...if he had iron-clad documentation showing that, should my church not grow to 3,000 members within a year of implementing the program, he would cut us a check for $10,000 (because he’s just that sure about his methodology)...

...if the fee to be involved in said program was absolutely zero—free as the air...

...and if a lawyer whom I trusted intrisically was there to verify that everything was above-board and on the level...

...well, I'd be interested. I'd ask what the program entailed.

And if the man explained that his program involved de-emphasizing the cross of Jesus Christ (which is a stumbling block and foolishness to those who are perishing) and instead emphasizing how God can help you live an exciting, “extreme” life of faith; how God can improve your ho-hum sex life; how God can show you the best ways to financial security and the quickest way to professional fulfillment...

...if it meant looking at what the lost people in our area would like to see in a weekly Sunday meeting and hear in a “sermon” and then implementing those things in order to pack the house...

...if it meant moving the Lord’s Supper to a secondary mid-week service so it wouldn’t creep out “seekers...”

...in short, if it meant transitioning to a purpose-driven, seeker-driven, pragmatism-driven, felt-needs model of church and leadership...

...I'd laugh in the guy’s face and tell him, “No thanks, and here’s the door.”

And if he persisted and tried to hard-sell me, I’d say these words:

“Get behind me, Satan. For you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of man.”

Why, you ask? Wouldn’t it be better to at least get a whole bunch of people in the front door?

No. Not like that.

There are some cases in which the difference between perishing and parishing is negligible.
 

5 reader comments:

Frank Turk said...

Indeed: what now, Bartels?

ZSB said...

Now, I keep preaching the Gospel every Lord's Day. No news reporters cover it because I'm not giving away cars and Word and Sacrament are hardly newsworthy from the world's perspective. The Kingdom grows with tares mixed in with the wheat as always. And God gets the glory. Not sexy, I know. But I'll take it any day.

Erin said...

I love your labels on this post. :)

But mostly I love the content--your passion and persistence.

Pete Scribner said...

Amen and amen! May the the cross always be at the center of our message.

And by the way, nice turn of phrase with perishing/parishing!

ZSB said...

We Baptist ministers are MASTERS of the bad pun. It's how we dealt with our sufferings at the hands of the Puritans.