power is not seed...
A friend of mine who is spiritually sensitive was talking this week about a church he attended a few days ago while out of town. He had heard of the church before and wanted to go and experience it. The day he was there they were having a special joint service involving six different churches from the area... he estimated there were around 500 people in attendance.
The worship was exhilarating... It seemed like every other person was waving a flag... there were dancers everywhere... artists painted in the aisles... the spirit of God was so thick that he said you almost couldn't breathe... one of the most spiritually active and intense places he had ever seen.
In the course of the morning service, however, a very interesting event took place. The speaker asked the crowd, "How many here have accepted Christ within the past month?" There was silence... then he asked again, "in the last three months?"... again, silence. "How about the past year"... there were two hands raised. "last two years?" ... same two hands... "Past five years?"... this time there were twenty or so hands. It was a sobering and almost depressing admission... so much power... so little fruit.
As I've thought about this conversation I have come to a few conclusions.
- Evangelism does not happen by accident. It must be intentional.
- If evangelism isn't everything it usually isn't anything. A church that doesn't see its primary purpose as evangelistic will almost certainly have little or no harvest.
- Power does NOT equal evangelism... power is for harvesting... not sowing
- Sowing requires an intentional decision to accept anyone, show them compassion without restriction, demonstrate the love of Christ and extend his mercy and forgiveness
- A church that sows mercy generously will harvest generously when the power of God is manifest.
I haven't had time to think these things out fully, yet... but I am certain that we will see more fruit by focusing on the unchurched. I don't fully embrace the 'seeker' church model but I do see an awesome opportunity when we receive everyone and make their safety and security (emotional and spiritual safety) a priority and then we receive and demonstrate the presence and power of God to them in a non-hyped way, natural way.