Bringing Them In

The current trend of hype and pressure to buy something new or to attend a particular event has infiltrated the Lord’s body. The glamour of the fleshly lusts has plunged headlong into the glorious church of our Lord. No longer do His people seek solace in His Word, but seek only to “raise the numbers” and please the multitude. Such innovators of perdition should take heed to Moses’ words: “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exodus 23:2).

A current fad for so many in the Lord’s body is to hold a workshop for the members such as: “No Debt No Sweat! Money Boot Camp” to salve their financial wounds. These Norman Vincent Peale-esque workshops are designed to help those who have gotten themselves into massive debt (on their own accord) to somehow find a way out through the Bible.

One congregation recently held one of these workshops and invited many of the community to take part in it as well. The report from the congregation was: “This brought people to the…building that might not have otherwise ever darkened our doors.” So, the pull to bring people inside the building was that it was the church’s responsibility to get them in better financial shape. The article continues: “Lord willing, when those who attended the seminar come to terms with their need to have God in their lives, they will remember what…did to assist them with their financial needs.”

How, pray tell, can one find the need for God in their lives from attending a financial workshop? Have we fallen pray to the ploy of the televangelist who devours the unsuspecting in the “name it and claim it religion” that surrounds us? What if one were to somehow be converted to the truth after attending one of these seminars, and then fell into poverty? Would such a person continue to serve God? After all, what brought them in was that God’s principals would give them the prosperity they desire.

One must wonder: Do they advertise and promote when they have a Gospel Meeting just as boldly as they do their money seminar (if they even have a Gospel Meeting)? The only way any person of any era has been converted to Christianity is by the Gospel (Romans 1:16; the book of Acts; et al.). What makes some believe that they can now change the conversion process from God’s Gospel to helping someone out of debt.

Yet another mission was launched by this same congregation to “reach out” and “bring in” the lost. The article gives this report: “For two days volunteers from our congregation manned a booth at the Festival, handed out reflective trick-or-treat bags to parents and children, provided free face painting for the kids, and distributed information about the events and activities of our congregation.”

Trick-or-treat bags and free face painting are not ways in which the church can spread the Gospel. First of all, neither of the two is the Gospel. Second, the only information they did hand out about the church was “events and activities,” which shows the way in which they were trying to draw people. If one is drawn by “goodies” and “fun days” to the church, they have not been drawn by the church’s power to save.

Yet again, the same congregation has launched a city-wide campaign called “The Church for People Like You.” This is a television advertisement that proffers six commercials “designed to communicate to our neighbors that no matter what your personality, ethnicity, marital status (?), age, occupation in life,…is the church for people like you.”

They further claim: “Based on the research, this advertising campaign will greatly increase our chances to experience significant numerical growth over the next two years.” Notice where the dedication of this program lies—more people in the pews. Though not necessarily a bad thing, the focus of the local church is to spread the Gospel not fill the pews. The pews may be filled every Sunday, but if those occupying the seat are not hearing the Gospel, what good have we done?

Since when do we need to advertise that the church is non-prejudiced? If we simply do what the Bible says and use Bible means to draw people to the church (the Word, John 6:44, 45), they will see that the church is not biased or prejudiced (Galatians 3:26-29). Imagine the thousands of dollars spent on TV ads and the Gospel message never gets the first word of air time.

Are we more concerned about the “Face of the church” than we are that Jehovah’s face will turn from us if we fail to do His will (1 Peter 3:12; Matthew 7:21-23)? No tracts were handed out to those visiting the booth. No information was given either orally or through literature about the church or salvation. Such events like this are geared to appeal to the worldly side of people rather than the spiritual side. Again, if it is appeals to worldly things that bring people in, what do we think is going to keep them in?

The only way to bring anyone in to the church is by doing the same thing the first century church did. They evangelized the lost (Acts 2), reached out to those separated by sin (1 Corinthians 6:9-11), and saved sinners from hell (Jude 23); all of this was done by the “preaching of the cross” (1 Corinthians 1:18).

Thus the answer to the question: How shall we build the church? The only way one can, through the spreading of the Gospel.

 

Hardy Building Ward Street Church of Christ
3832 Hwy 62/412 (Mailing address: P.O. Box 224)
Hardy, AR 72542
870-856-3687
Directions