Our world has lost its way. So it’s no surprise when the church takes its cues from the world that the church begins to drift as well. But must we resort to gimmicks for people to come to church? Is biblical reinterpretation the new essential for church growth? Must we dumb down historic Christianity into shallow entertainment skits in order to pamper consumers? Surely, not!
I am convinced that the church doesn’t need marketing devices, worldly strategies, live entertainment, or a corporate mentality to be contagious. Not if the glory of God is the goal. Not if the growth of God’s people is in view. Rather, the church needs biblical truth taught correctly and clearly . . . and then lived out in authenticity and humility.
One of the worst things we can do in our churches is to take our eyes off the essentials. To take our cues of how to “do church” (whatever that means) from our postmodern world instead of determining our distinctives and priorities from the Scriptures. It’s a great temptation to ape the world’s ways these days, because there are so many churches doing that. They look like they know what they’re doing. The crowds swell. The ratings soar. The money pours in. They speak in such a convincing way that we are tempted to think, Well, maybe they’re right and we’re missing it.
Please. Don’t go there.
Let me define what it is that makes a church contagious. How should a church grow according to the Bible? What environment causes a community to take notice? It isn’t just the building or the sound system or the music. It’s not even the preaching. It’s the context that makes a church contagious.
Primarily, it’s the people.And it’s more than a curiosity at the numbers of people. It’s their passion. It’s their Spirit-directed enthusiasm. It’s the obvious work of God engaging the lives of believers in a meaningful connection, a genuine compassion, and an almost electric excitement about reaching out into the community and investing themselves wholeheartedly into places of ministry. Such people are, well . . . contagious.
Who wouldn’t want to be among folks like that?
See also Marketing Jesus, Part 1