The first one was straight forward, promoting a community fund raiser for a city hall. It told people what was going to happen, what type of activities were available and what the funds were going to be used for.
As I examined the next two flyers, it took me a minute to figure out that they were trying to ‘sell’. They were trying to draw people to their church service without advertising themselves as a church. Examining the flyer in more detail, there was not one mention of God, Jesus, forgiveness or the cross. Nothing about how Jesus changes lives heals people or sets them free. There was nothing saying there was going to be any message at all.
Looking at all three it was difficult to figure out which one’s were associated with a church and which one was for a “secular” activity. To the untrained eye you probably wouldn’t have been able to tell.
One church promoted a family fun day that would be filled with bouncy castle and all the bells and whistles of a carnival and of course “Free”. The other church was actually giving away a car. Every time you attend (which they made known was free of charge for everyone) you were entered into the draw which was going to happen just before Christmas.
Is this what the gospel of Jesus has been reduced too, a couple of bouncy castles and winning a car? What would the disciples have thought about our tactics about getting people into church? Are we really trying to trick people into coming? Yes, I know that God can use all things for the glory of His name, but really, giving a car away to fill pews?
I do appreciate that they are doing something at least to try and get people to come.
What did Jesus do to bring people in?
What did Jesus to do bring people in? If we look at Luke 9verse 11 we see that he spoke to “them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.” He didn’t need bouncy castles. He taught with power, he healed people, he moved in faith and people wanted to be around him because they saw this.
Jesus spoke to them about the truth. He didn’t try and trick them to follow him. Looking at these flyers I was actually embarrassed in the fact I was with some non-believers. I felt like these churches were trying to trick them to come, a bribe almost.
Living in a post-modern society, it is easy to see that our tactics to invite people are not to offend them. Has our desire become ‘maybe if they think they are coming for one reason, I can throw a quick message in there and they will come to know the truth’?
If our message is true and I truly believe it is, then shouldn’t we use more honest tactics to get people to hear about God? It isn’t about filling the pews. It is about people hearing about God and what He has done for all of us.
The truth is that we all have a time-up button and we never know when ours will be. So shouldn’t we be reminding people that they have two options, one for Jesus and the one against.
The first option leads to everlasting life. The second and I know this word is not comfortable in our culture because we don’t want to offend anyone, but let’s start to say it is ‘hell’. That is right ‘hell’ and people are going to it if they don’t choose Jesus.
Are we the problem?
Are we the problem? Are we afraid that if we mention the word ‘Jesus’, He won’t sell? People might not come into our buildings if we do? Let’s start being real and inviting people to church, not to win a car or bounce on a bouncy castle, but to meet the true King.
To meet Jesus who died on the cross for our sin (the wrong we do in our life, the lies, the fraud, the theft, the adultery by watching porn, sleeping with someone who is not your spouse, disobedience, etc), to take it away and give us a new life so that we can be transformed into His image. Let’s be people who move in the power of Jesus and I think then we won’t be able to keep people away.
On a personal note, if you do not know Jesus in a personal way, why don’t you pray and invite Him into your life. There is eternity at stake. You were created for eternity and it is your choice where you will spend it. If you want to know more on having a personal relationship with God, call a church in your local community and ask them who Jesus is to them.
Genevieve Wilson is married with two children who served with YWAM for eight years in Brisbane and now serving in mission in Canada as a modern day abolitionist.
Genevieve Wilson's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/genevieve-wilson.html