Will a show really attract non-Christians?

Let me get to the point. In my conversations with friends who are not followers of Jesus I have discovered that jacked up campaigns with great show and lights are not why people get connected to the Church and hear the Gospel. This has been done with people talking to people about Gospel and the reality of how the Gospel is the power of God for salvation.

My friends who are not Christians are smarter than that. By the way, I’m all for worship that is as jacked up as it can be as long as it is a true indigenous reflection of the church demographic that is gathered there. Driscoll in Seattle has Apple, Microsoft and about as much film and art population as there is in America, and their service reflects the skills of their redeemed population. That is called indigenous, and it is a tool that the Gospel can take advantage of in reaching that particular demographic.

My question is this: why do folks in the South keep thinking that if we imitate what others do that this will attract people? Oh it will attract people. People from other churches who want a cooler gig. But it will not attract the population that is unreached here.

What I want to see is what gathered worship will look like coming from a redeemed group of Romans who are not part of the cultural epidemic called “Christianity” as it stands. But people previously unengaged with the Gospel, transformed, gifted by the Holy Spirit, bringing their offering of a living sacrifice in song, skill and any other medium necessary.

This does not even begin to discuss the object of worship. By the way, worship is for Jesus, not people to consume and think it’s cool and come back for more. If we design services for people RATHER than for Jesus by people looking like that people’s expression of adoration, we are guilty of idolatry (read this sentence carefully before you come off half-cocked and post folly).

There is no doubt that there are examples of people who came to a mediocre show and engaged with Jesus there and were transformed. No doubt. However, is this the wholesale means by which out town will be won? Plus, we can’t keep up with the entertainment level of television. That is not our job. It is our job to make Jesus and the cross clear (see 1 Cor 2).

What do you think?

3 comments

  1. I couldn’t agree more. We exist first and foremost to glorify God and our gatherings should reflect that reality. I also think that whatever you use to attract someone to your church is what you will have to use to keep them (because that is what they expect now). So if you use a show, you have to keep the show going to keep people from leaving for the next best show in town. If you use the power of the gospel working itself out in the lives of the saints as your attraction, then that is all you need to keep people (at least until they are ready to be sent out to further the cause of the kingdom).

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  2. The danger of ear scratchers (2tim4:3).The expectation for Jesus to speak to us has moved from the bible to music. We are called to worship through both, but the pattern of scripture is God speaks by His word then comes our response, and not necessarily in corporate worship should that always be immediate or by music. The problem has become the hard study/prayer it takes to truthfully preach the word without committing the sin of letting the power of His word seem dull. We have taken an easier pattern of letting our emotions soar and drop with music, and using the momentum of that to bring a message which is often topical not textual. When Jesus heals a man possessed with an unclean spirit (Mark 5:19-20)he leaves him behind in his home country, Decapolis, with nothing but the power of the message of what Jesus has done for him, in the midst of Jesus destroying the local economy, killing 2000 pigs, and the people telling Jesus to go away. There is no seeker sensitivity in that, just faith to believe in the power of the Word. Jesus just leaves the man who has clearly been seen to be transformed by the gospel to “go home and tell his friends how much the Lord has done for Him” A local man taking the gospel to the local people.

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  3. The root problem that leads to the “seeker sensitive” and “attraction” based models is a lack of faith in the power of the gospel message. If we really believe that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation then that becomes our focus. Since people don’t really believe that the Word of God is powerful enough to break through the hard hearts of lost men and women, we resort to appealing to their flesh. We make the appeal appear spiritual but at its heart it is an appeal to the sinful nature. Then we wonder why people who come to the church won’t engage or take the gospel with them. It is because we have taught them that the faith is just a “Christian” version of the world. They haven’t been taught that this life is not about them but for the kingdom. In fact, we have inadvertently taught them that this life is all about them by catering to their desires to get them to our church.

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