Ed Stetzer wrote a timely post on the Catalyst blog this past week. It was somewhat of a soapbox message but of the kind that needs to be heard in the church. It refreshed and refocused me--I always need that.
Here's his premise--it seems that in many streams of the church right now converting people to "our way of doing church" is celebrated as victory more so than leading people to be converted to Christ.
I have a friend named Tom. He's a pastor. Tom pastors an independent fundamental baptist church--pretty conservative and old school. But here's the thing--Tom talks about converts to Christ and his heart is to see people meet Jesus and follow Him. I have a lot in common with Tom, even though we do ministry a little different from each other.
I have other friends, mostly from my past, who have lots of tricky ideas about how to make church more cool and hip. They're very cool and "new school". I never really hear them talk about converts to Christ. They talk more about how bad the "institutional church" is and how they're on the cutting edge. I find that no matter how similar I might look to these friends, I have little in common with them because their chief concern is not the Gospel.
Let me be clear--I want to be relevant. Relevant is good if its firmly grounded in Christ. It think its even biblical.
But I want to be rooted more than I want to be relevant. Being rooted in the gospel is way more important than being cool. And people need to be converted to Christ. That's the reason I went into ministry. So as we look to be a church that relates to a culture of broken people in terms they can understand, let's not forget that the one thing we have to offer is the Gospel of Jesus. People need to be converted to Christ, not our way of doing church.