Thursday, April 12, 2012

Newly Fashioned Revivals!

I admit it.
When it comes to doing church, I'm not much of a traditionalist.

That may simply be because I didn't grow up with a Southern Baptist tradition. However, I believe that I am a moral conservative and hold fast to the doctrine of salvation in Jesus and Jesus alone. And I think that we still need to teach this truth of the Bible.

However, I also believe that we may need to adapt (or scrap and reinvent) some of our methods for sharing this message from time to time. For many of our non-traditional church plants, the old fashioned week long revivals are impractical. We might as well face it, for many of our traditional churches the old fashioned week long revivals are impractical. Even so, many traditional churches cling to tradition (duh) by holding the same revivals but just not for a whole week--generally Sunday through Wednesday. I won't say that these are ineffective because I have seen many life-changing decisions made at these four day revivals or crusades. But for the non-traditional churches, I believe that there may be other ways to reach the busy families in today's world.

If a friendly wager wasn't taboo in Southern Baptist life, I'd wager that most of the church plants that are less than 10 years old have never even considered having an old fashioned revival or crusade. Most of them are unlikely even to have a guest preacher except for the few weeks that the pastor might be on vacation (and even then, most often it's a staff member). In one sense, there is nothing wrong with that--a pastor should guard the pulpit with great jealousy. However, I also believe that it discounts the gift that God gives to the church in those that have been called as evangelists.

If we, as evangelists, are no longer to be used in the traditional revivals (complete with potluck dinners, Pack-a-Pew nights and Sunday School emphasis nights), then how can we adapt to events that are still effective in edifying the church, encouraging the members and evangelizing the lost?

Do we shorten the duration even more (to a weekend event, Fri/Sat/Sun)?
What about an area wide event where several churches in a community (or neighboring communities) work together to reach the unchurched and to glorify God? Or is it asking too much of churches to have to share the harvest?
Can we be innovative enough to bring the gospel message to the people rather than having to bring the people to the church? Could we host events away from the church's normal gathering place?

Maybe the newer churches have just outgrown their need for evangelists. Or maybe they haven't yet grown into a need for an evangelist.

The reality of the gospel is that all of us that profess Jesus as Lord and Savior are compelled to share the message of Salvation. The fact that we are not all sharing the message indicates that we have some pretty unhealthy churches and that our churches are packed with people that are not compelled to share the gospel and with people that have no real relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Maybe that's the ugly truth that we don't want to address--that if we can't even reach the people in the pews; how are we supposed to reach the people outside of the church?

I realize that this little rant asks questions and offers no real answers. I guess I'm looking to the experts for some help on this one. How are evangelists to be used in today's church? Are we still a gift to the churches to glorify God or have we outlived our usefulness?

Really. I need to know.

John <><

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We are called to get the Gospel out to everyone. We have not outlived our usefulness or effectiveness. Not to say we need to ignore the folks that are coming to church, but our focus should be more on folks that don't even know who Jesus is or why he came to earth. The folks coming to church are hearing God's word.

Isaiah 55:10-11 says,
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is My Word that goes out from My mouth:
It will not return to Me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

As you stated, we should be compelled to share the Salvation that only comes from Jesus, my Lord and Savior. Our lives should reflect the gift we've been given to the extent that non-believers desire to know what we have that is so special. They should see it in our smile, our gratefulness, our attitude, our faithfulness, etc. We have been given the task of spreading the Good News. Let's get The Word out!