Home > christianity, church, evangelism, fishing, outreach > Friday Remix: Doughballs, plastic worms, or spinners (Or “Getting Over Outreach Outrage”)

Friday Remix: Doughballs, plastic worms, or spinners (Or “Getting Over Outreach Outrage”)

fishingRight up front, let me be clear – I believe that the preaching of the Cross is the power of God unto salvation. I believe we need to lift up Christ, who said He would draw all men unto Him. I believe we must “preach Christ crucified” to see genuine life change in the people we minister to. I don’t give ‘talks’ on how to improve your marriage, advance your career, or raise happy, shiny children. I preach textual/topical messages from scripture – which, by the way, provides us with God’s principles and directions for doing all the aforementioned and much more…

If anything you read from here on causes you to think otherwise, please re-read that paragraph.

I’m just getting really tired of Christians “picking on” other Christians because of how they do outreach.

It happens anytime a church does something a little different. Maybe it’s an edgy or provocative mailer or advertisement… A sermon series on a controversial or sensational topic… An unusual method of appealing to unsaved and unchurched.

And the protesting pit-bulls for Jesus begin to bark and show their teeth…

It cheapens the Gospel…
The Gospel has held up pretty well the last 2000 years even though it’s been ridiculed, rejected, and ignored. I think it can endure church coffee shops and frank messages on what the Bible says about sex.

What you win them with you win them to…
This is supposed to mean that whatever attracts someones attention will be necessary to keep their attention… It sounds good, like it could actually be true, but only in the absence of good teaching and preaching that lifts up Jesus – when no effort is made to disciple or help people mature. I’ve seen families get involved in church because they first came to a church-sponsored Easter egg hunt, and they don’t show up every Sunday with baskets in hand looking for jelly beans and hollow bunny handouts.

And the silver bullet, it’s worldly…
Yeah, there are some places in outreach that I’m not going to go. There are some current forms of evangelism that I find tacky, silly, and distasteful. My solution? I don’t do those things in my church, AND I resist the urge to throw a brother or sister under the bus because they do.

So what if they’re doing it wrong? When Jesus’ disciples got upset that someone who wasn’t part of their circle was doing ministry, Jesus said, “He who is not against us is with us.” Paul said of those whose motives and methods were suspect, “The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.”

Of course, part of the problem is that often the assumption is made that Christ isn’t being preached in a church that’s stooping to such “unseemly” methods. And if we’re going to make such assertions, we’d better be daggone sure we have full knowledge of what’s being preached and taught in those churches.

Every fisherman has run into that guy who knows how to fish better than you do and isn’t shy about telling you. He’ll criticize your bait choice, your equipment, your location, and your casting style. He infers or implies, and in a lot of cases flat out says his way is right and yours is wrong. He’s a nuisance, but at least he only treats you like you’re stupid, and not like you’re a sleazy, worldly sell-out.

(And yeah, I know there are negative people on both sides of this issue. Some “rock star” pastors in cutting-edge churches throw off a really arrogant and condescending vibe – They act like everybody who doesn’t do it like they do is hopelessly out of touch and outdated. That attitude stinks, too.)

Bottom line is catching the fish – whether it’s on a bamboo pole with a bent paper clip for a hook or a $700 Sage® Z-Axis fishing rod… I remain committed to anything short of sin to reach unbelieving people.

Maybe instead of critiquing the bait, we should get excited when folks are fishing, and pray that the hook will always be the Gospel.

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  1. January 23, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Wow, you preached my message! Thank you for the wonderful articulation and the righteous indignation!

    Shh.. don’t tell anyone, but we’re having a superbowl party, and we’re not shutting down the TVs during the commercials. And we’re giving away TWO $100 gas cards as part of the party! (I can’t wait!)

  2. Big Poppa
    January 23, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Nice boss man…….yet another fine post!

  3. January 23, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Wow… well said, Scott – well said! And I needed to hear it. While the “pit bulls for Jesus types” (or the pajama Hadin to quote Driscoll) drive me nuts, I have a tendency to be more heavily vested toward the message side of the “message vs method” discussion. Thanks for helping me stay balanced 🙂

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