20060225

selling church

i have been thinking a great deal about what church is, and is not, over the past few months. i have come to several conclusions that may seem harsh to some, meaningless to others and just "wrong" to a select few - but i think God is sharing with me ideas and expressions of community that i am not seeing any place yet - and that is hard to grab hold of, because i pastor a community of faith i love, but i wonder.

many in the church speak of being a "acts church" but i am not seeing the unity in community that is central in an acts church; and when confronted with that many in the church come up with excuses. i am past excuses, and into knowing - why is it easy to "sell the church" and so hard for us to "live the faith?"

i think selling church is easy. it is, it is simply an act of marketing, and following a few principles - and bang, selling church is easy. in fact, i think i could write a book called "selling church made simple" and it would be a best seller - church "leaders" and church boards all over would put out a ton of cash to read the book and do what it says - with in reason :)

now, while i think selling church is easy, i also think many churches do it and "think" they are selling "the faith" [and to be honest, the "selling" part does bug me a great deal - but i think you know what i mean]. they are not doing what they do out of being evil, or misguided - they honestly think what they are doing is "right" and "good" and "what we do" - they see the great commission as "go, and increase the number of people in your church" - that is not what jesus said, but that is how many see that scripture.

you see:

it is easy to sell, "come to our church, our pastor is handsome"
it is not easy to sell, "come to a faith that tells you to love the unlovable"

it is easy to sell, "come to our church, we have great music"
it is hard to sell a faith that says, "come to a faith that seeks you to be silent"

it is easy to sell, "come to our church, we have some great programs"
it is hard to sell a faith that says, "come to a faith that tells you you must be active in reaching the needs of others"

it is easy to sell, "come to our church, we have a wonderful and clean building - with a ton of parking"
it is hard to sell a faith that says, "come to a faith where we will meet on a hill side, and you will need to walk five miles to get there"

it is easy to sell, "come to our church, God loves you"
it is hard to sell a faith that says, "come to God, and by doing so love others - even to the cost of your life"

it is easy to sell, "come to our church, we love america"
it is hard to sell a faith that says, "live for the kingdom of God, and love those who hate you."

selling church is easy - making diciples in a faith that is going to require that you see things differently and that you go that extra mile for another - is hard. you see, we have taken the easy way out in our walk in the american church, and now we need to take the higher, and harder road - we need to go past "church" and go to "faith." bringing people into the incarnation of christ is something that is so powerful, so meaningful and so transforming that it is a wonder why we are not sharing our faith with others. could it be, that it is easier to sell the church we go to, then it is to share the faith that transformed us? could it be, that the faith we have is not a transforming faith? sure, we believe - but the question is, do we the faith that shows others God does transform lives?

4 comments:

edfwill said...

'I am an agnostic; I do not pretend to know what many ignorant men are sure of.'
Clarence Darrowjane

edfwill said...

'I am an agnostic; I do not pretend to know what many ignorant men are sure of.'
Clarence Darrow

Chris Etling said...

one step further I think would be... why is it easier for us to talk about the weather, sports, technology, or anything else really than speak anything of Christ? I believe that if you are in the word daily, and if you know that Christ died on the cross to save you from the wrath of God through the payment of your sins. Then how can sharing (which is what I would say the underlying point is here) be hard to do? Yet we all have a hard time doing this.

Anne Jackson said...

This is an amazing post and describes exactly what I was having problems putting into words. I'm going to post part of this on my blog, of course linking back to yours. Thank you for an honest and true post. I pray many will read it.

Anne Jackson
www.flowerdust.net