Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Evangelism by PR?

I have been thinking about the common approach to Evangelism that is present among Christianity today. The idea seems to be that we should do nice things and have a neat service, that way there will be good word of mouth that circulates and people will want to come to our Church.

You know, if I owned a restaurant, that would be what I want. I would want a good reputation, I would want people to know that if you come to Che' Brown you could get a fine meal, or if you went to McBrown's you'd get a good meal quickly.

There's only one problem. This approach doesn't work with a church. You see, if I am hungry and want food, I intrinsically know that I should go get food - and then I start to think about all the options for getting food and that PR can work. The thing is, people don't have an intrinsic knowledge or understanding of the need to receive the forgiveness of sins.

This is what we forget. Oh, people might have a sense that they ought to go to Church - but this sense isn't necessarily tied to the Gospel. Well, you ought to go, because you learn good morals. Oh, you ought to go, because it will be uplifting "spiritually". And so, if you have good PR as regards teaching nice moral lessons, people might come. If you have good PR as regards having a fun service, people might come.


The thing is, PR will never replace the proclamation of the Gospel. And this means one other simple thing. We can't just shift off the task of Evangelism onto one person or group at the Church. It's not a matter of if the Pastor has a great ______ or we get a person doing a great _______ that people will flock in. They won't - or if they do, you're probably just pilfering malcontents who will jump ship for the next hip Church.

No, the Church grows by the proclamation of the Word, by people telling other people who are hurting that they are forgiven on account of Christ's death and resurrection, and that they can receive this love freely and often with them at Church. But it will be personal - not just something floating around out there.

That can be a scary truth that we don't like to think about. But even then, we are to remember that this is why we train, this is why we learn - so that we will be prepared to walk in the works that God has set up for us - and this includes speaking His Word to our friends and neighbors.

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