Choose who you will lose – What an idea!!!

I ran across this article on Monday Morning Insight. You’ve got to check it out.

No church is for everybody. You will ALWAYS leave someone out. It doesn’t mean you are alienating them from the Body of Christ. Yet we seem to have the mentality that we are the only church in our towns, so we try to include everyone. Pastors, you have to quit this mess! Let the conservative church reach the conservative worshippers; let the loud church reach those who like it loud, etc. Let your church reach those it was designed to reach! We want everybody to go to church… so let’s quit being like every other congregation and be unique so you can reach those who do not fit in anywhere else.

It’s what I call being “Kingdom-minded.” Don’t be offended if someone who doesn’t fit into your church’s style of ministry leaves and goes to another church. What’s better for them spiritually?

What say ye?

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11 thoughts on “Choose who you will lose – What an idea!!!

  1. […] TJ Scott has also posted on this article. Great read. Bookmark to: Filed under: Church Chew by Jeff @ March 1, 2007 | • There have been 44 followers of this trail besides you to date. | Top    Possibly Related: •Destination Disney World&emsp•I’m a putz.&emsp•Scandalous church&emsp•Pastor steals church&emsp […]

  2. Nodrog says:

    We-ell… I can see where you/they are coming from, and I should probably read the original article before responding, but…

    If we’re not careful, isn’t it possible that this approach could lead to whole churches of like-minded people who reinforce each others’ belief that they are right and every other church is wrong…? No, wait, that would never happen…

    I do like the idea of being unique, though. But having a conservative in your liberal church (or vice versa), or a traditionalist in your ‘shake-it-all-up, let’s do it a different way’ church can be a benefit to you and your church, if not always to them. Francis Dewar in ‘Called or Collared’ (SPCK 2000) cites a story about Georges Gurdjieff who had a ‘troublemaker’, Rachmilevitch, in his School who always complained and eventually left – but Gurdjieff went to great trouble to persuade him to return. Dewar writes, “Every congregation needs a Rachmilevitch: and most do not need to import one! You will be hurt by them, probably more so than by anyone else in the congregation. But, whatever you do, do not try to neutralize or ostracize them. They are the irritants which produce the pearls among us.” (my emphasis)

    So I guess as long as we have a dissident or two who is provoking us to being unique and not to trying to please all the people all the time… that’s a good thing (?)

  3. Nodrog says:

    OK so I read the original MMI article and I guess I was barking up the wrong tree with my previous comment. Sorry. I’m working in a church that operates on the basis of geographical coverage so even in a multi-denominational setting and a breakdown of ‘parish loyalty’ for want of a better term, we still think in terms of meeting everyone’s needs. The worry is that the third who are thinking of leaving (or would if a filter series was preached) would not go anywhere else at all – so it’s Catch 22 – do you tone things down just to keep them or ratchet them up so they leave and no longer hear the Word preached?

  4. dean says:

    great and timely post, tj! in my experience, the churches that will pull out all the stops (or even SOME of the stops) to reach a lost world are very few and far between. most churches i’ve been affiliated with either as layman or staff member have been more interested in entertaining themselves or catering to their own needs (an inward focused church), than in reaching their community and their lost co-workers, classmates and friends.

    in some ways i dont see it as an either/or however. if peoples’ hearts are right, they will embrace their church’s efforts to reach and be relevant to the unchurched… but unfortunately, like i said… few and faaaar between.

  5. I honestly think that as long as your focus is on people groups you can’t possibly be truly relevant.

    Churches for “us”, churches for “them”….not an idea I find in scripture.

    I think every Body is called to simply be relevant to God and from that place of spiritual authenticity/priestlyness we will be a Body that God can draw people to by His Spirit rather than reasons like, “cool, the loud church. I like it loud and they cater to that so I’ll go there.”
    In that case all you have is flesh attracting flesh for no good reason. It can’t work and doesn’t work and if God is seemingly doing anything remotely good through it, it is in spite of it rather than because of it.
    Only Spirit gives birth to Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh and flesh toils, stinks, dies and rots.

    Attempts at relevance for the sake of human comfort is anti-thetical to Truth. But if what you are about is born in prayer and thoroughly biblical it will be a true demonstration of the kingdom of God no matter if they sing hymns or new songs or both. As long as we think it’s about those issues, we are horribly misguided and doing nothing of lasting value.

    If we take our Royal Priesthood to God seriously then and only then can we be of real use in drawing souls to Him. If we rely on amplifiers and killer drummers and guitar players then we are cursed for reliance on the flesh, hoping that they will come to us for that. That in and of itself has no spirit quotient and will not accomplish what our well meaning intentions desire.

    I happen to play drums, btw, and in a metal sort of flavor so I ain’t against hard stuff at all and I love lively music. But I have seen the failure of these ploys to win or keep souls in the Body. If they come for fleshly, human comfort reasons then the true word of God preached can never reach them and they will not stay.

    A true church is relevant to God and in turn He makes it relevant to HImself in increasing measures and only THEN do we become relevant in truth to a dying world.

    mark jr.

  6. Jeff says:

    I think I’m leaning more with Mark Jr. on your take on this post. It’s not about “appealing” or targeting a certain group of folks, although in Christian liberty I support any church proclaiming Jesus Christ when their hearts are for Him.

    However, I think it’s imperative for churches to anchor themselves strongly to the revealed Messiah, His character, His methodology, and His Word. Too often, a church will compromise small segments of their character and integrity in order to reach a target group (not a people group). For example, Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Fellowship looks great, and there’s much to commend it, but they apparently are a little loose in their communication content, using profanity at times to appeal to a younger, unchurched audience. I don’t think you have to compromise things like that to be “relevant.” But that happens in one’s zeal to try to reach a group.

    On the other hand, I appreciate their focus and passion. I’d prefer to grace them rather than argue with them over methodology.

  7. tjscott says:

    Wow, praise God, some comments! Nodrog, Mark Jr and Jeff: I definitely see your point. I don’t want to miscommunicate that I’m saying that we should be “cultish” by any stretch of the imagination, or that we take this “relevance” thing too far. Nor is this about relevance as far as trying to be LIKE the world is concerned.

    I find great freedom in the “be who you are and make no apologies for it” school of thought. Yes, Paul said he was all things to all men, so he might win some. However sometimes we take that scripture WAY too far and try to make EVERYBODY in our churches happy. Eventually someone has to come to the conclusion, at least in the Bible Belt of the USA where there is every style of church on every corner, that the church (meaning local gathering, not the body as a whole) the are in isn’t for them.

    If one is more expressive in their praise during the Praise and Worship service, why should they make themselves feel out of place by attending a church that discourages any form of outward expression? Why should the leaders of such a church try and hold onto that person instead of lending a heart of understanding and blessing them to go to another church that is Biblically sound where they fit in better?

    I’m finding it harder and harder to believe that every church (referring to a corporate gathering still) is for everybody. I understand that my church with loud sound, and urban style worship won’t appeal to someone who can only worship in a quieter, calm setting. We’re not going to sit and argue with that person on whether or not we’re going to change the style of worship or style of ministry to keep them from going across town. (they don’t have to stay in OUR church to live for Jesus, do they?) This is all the point I’m trying to make. We’re doing that person and the Body of Christ as a whole a great disservice for making them feel like less of a Christian if they don’t fit in to our church’s style of ministry.

    Now if we were in the situation that Nodrog was referring to, as being the only place in our area where believers meet, then it’s a different story! You have to stay more “middle of the road” on just about everything because your church is the only place THE church meets in your town! But in an area like where I live, or like Monticello Arkansas (where a large majority of my blog visitors are from), we have to get out of the mentality that our church is THE church. THE church in Monticello comprises of every congregation of believers in that town. The believers will all flock together with people of like-mindedness all with the same goal (We all hope) of growing and becoming disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    This is also why I roll my eyes every time someone gets upset about “clicks” in the congregation. I’m going to click with some people and others, I’m just going to love in the Lord! So lay off of me if I tend to be drawn towards people who I have more things in common with! (WITH BALANCE OF COURSE!)

    Thank you all for commenting on my blog – please keep them coming! I enjoy discussing ministry and the Word.

  8. Mark W. says:

    Hmm…I would not call this being “Kingdom-minded” at all. More like “church commodification.” The idea that a whole church is designed as a lifestyle fashion statement is very depressing and something I’ve seen coming for a long time, spawned by the fetishizing of the Christian image in the “Christian” consumer market. Do you really think that it’s impressive to a new Christian to go through a whole explanation like “well, this church emphasizes such and such music, whereas that church is more traditional” (whatever that might mean to a new Christian…go figure). One thing it truly would show them is that American Christians are exactly fitting their reputation as consisting of highly segregated sects of obsessive poseurs. Not very impressive at all…just like that article.

  9. Jim says:

    In the Southern Baptist work, I honestly believe if one could be blindfolded and taken to any one of hundreds of SB churches, then taken to another one…and another one…and yet another, the sad thing is that it would be difficult to segregate which one was which. Our churches have become so ‘cookie-cutter’ that each one (for a large majority of the time) closely resembles the other, yet as a Denomination, there is a decline in attendance and in baptisms. Which leads me to the understanding that something ‘isn’t’ working. SB churches are declining in huge fashion, yet the ‘powers that be’ refuse to admit it. So we continue on, in failing fashion, in the tradition of “it’s the way we’ve always done it.” PAST TIME FOR A CHANGE!

    I love the idea of being generation specific…that way, the entire focus of ministry can be toward that specific age group and their families, instead of attempting to do ministry for multiple groups and failing because of lack of workers…lack of initiative…or lacking a sence of urgency. I, of all people know that church is for ALL people, and just because a church chooses to be generation specific CERTAINLY doesn’t mean they automatically refuse fellowship with all others! Who knows, maybe there’s a call to reach a certain segment of the population, especially if the other churches AREN’T attempting or WON’T attempt to reach them.

    For any nay-sayers to this type of outreach, the good thing is, if someone doesn’t like it, there are hundreds of other churches, literally on every street corner, that won’t change!

  10. Hundreds of churches on every street corner isn’t really a good thing, at least it seems. I live in Charlotte, NC now (for 9 mos.) and have noticed this thing in the south that disturbs me, namely, a church on every street corner for every age group, social group and every thing else in between and yet the whole town seems to be accelerating into hell just the same. So it seems that a target focus isn’t really working.

    I just have to wonder if the apostles would have had these kinds of things in focus. They made themselves real with God and as a result were real in life. No matter what your background is, the one main thing people cry out for is reality. Even though unregenerated and dead in sin the world can still smell a fake. They can tell when you’re just trying to be relevant to be “buddy-buddy” with them and when you are one who is real through and through in what you believe and what you live.

    I’m convinced that a 70 year old man from another time and generation who is saturated in God can be 1000 times more relevant to a people group than someone who is nice but a little shallow but is using modern technique to draw a crowd. The problem with that is that when you draw them, what do they get? Sad thing is that most who employ such techniques have not much depth of spirit in God to preach from and what they do swells with people but falls spiritually flat.

    But I do understand the issues that face a young man who goes into a Reformed church and they use an organ or just a piano and sing hymns and then sit down after having done their duty. When worship is treated as something to get out of the way and just go through, it does kill. And if you think that that is the only right way to worship, then death is imminent. So I’m not railing on style at all. But it isn’t so much style in Reformed churches (at large, not all are dead) that kills but the attitude toward God that is reflected in the dead atmosphere of lifeless singing.

    Death comes to a church by the lacking of a right apprehension of God. When the faith that once gave life becomes a life without living faith, no matter what style you sing in it will kill. So even churches with cultural relevance are totally irrelevant spiritually to God or people.

    So I still have to go by the Word and observe that there was no such thing as making church fun for certain lost segments of the world so as to draw them. However, if you’re relevant to God He and only He can and will make you relevant to culture. His wisdom will govern things according to His desire.

    It’s all about spiritual reality with God. From there everything falls into place. It may take a form of more “hip” sounding music. Fine, so long as the Life of God is the source of that.

    The bible says, to paraphrase, “without Me you can do nothing!”, not “without kickin’ jams and funny jokes in the sermons you can get people into your buildings and hope to rub off a little Jesus on them”. We need to start off the same way those original 120 did; waiting on God in prayer. He will answer, He will guide, He will bless all that comes from “The Closet” because those are His ideas we are executing.

    Blessings on y’all.
    mark jr.

  11. […] explores the comings and goings of church members. the other post, from tj scott, entitled “choose who you will lose” discusses the differences among local bodies of believers, and the choices available to […]

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