After reading the review of the book, I found it hard to believe what Andy Stanley had written. People are not interested in the truth? Only a happiness quest? I am on the quest for the truth and as for my husband, he is too. Sorry Andy, hate to burst your bubble but there are some people who attend church to hear the truth from God's Word preached. In fact the Bible substantiates the way people actually come to have a relationship with the Lord - through preaching! Paul writes in Romans 10:14-15, 17: "H
ow then will they call on Him, in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!' So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ." As I read it, Paul is telling us that preaching is the means through which the message of salvation is imparted. Nowhere in this passage does he discuss music type, relaxed dress codes, or a "seeker" friendly environment.
Where I believe that mega churches and "wannabe" mega churches often miss the mark is in thinking that we have to be like our culture in order to bring people into the church. Whatever happened to the conviction that the church is meant to be different than the culture? Worship services
|The Cathedral in York, England|
Holding rock concerts, bringing in some form of entertainment, or adapting to the culture in terms of dress may bring people, but what are they coming for? They are coming for the entertainment or the concert. This is why many of the "mega" churches have as many people leaving the back door as they have coming in the front door.
My contention is that when the Word of God is faithfully preached, people will come, the sheep will be fed and in turn, the sheep will bring in others to hear that Word as well as share it with their neighbors. This past week alone, I heard from two different people who came into our office that one couple in our church invited both of them to attend. They came and were blessed because the Word of God was proclaimed and people were friendly to them.
Jesus never said that everyone would believe. He told us to: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you..." (Matthew 25:19-20a). In order to make disciples, we must make certain new believers are taught the Word and encouraged to put down deep roots. Jesus did not play to the culture. He came to clarify the Law which the Pharisees had misinterpreted.
The most effective means of bringing in new believers is through the preaching and teaching of God's Word. Then, we must leave the results up to God who is the One who changes hearts.
In closing, let us be reminded of the power that is in the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12-13 says: "For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eye of Him to whom we must give account." To this I say, "If you preach it, they will come...drawn by God's Spirit to a place where truth is taught." May we pray for our pastors as they fulfill this call to preach the whole counsel of God and may we pray for reformation in our churches that all of us may go seeking the truth...not happiness. Selah!