Freak out at any mention of sex.
My minister taught on “Looking For Love In All The Right Places” and made a big deal about saying “the P word”. The P word is pleasure.
Give me a break.
Supposedly Christians are having better sex than non-Christians. You’d think we could talk about it without embarrassment or fear. In the world right now there are lots of people who are perfectly happy talking about sex. If we want our worldview to be heard we need to learn to talk about sex as easily as our opponents do.
Assuming a big church has sold out the gospel because they are big.
Talk to most people who don’t attend a mega church and at some point they will say something about how the big church must be doing something wrong if they are that big. The “logic” is that your church can’t get that big with the true gospel.
Here’s my view on church size. Church size is dictated by the church’s culture.
Some churches don’t want to be big. They want to know everyone in their church personally. You aren’t going to grow much over 100 if that’s what your church values. If you want to continue to grow the kingdom, you better understand church planting.
Many churches feel the way they do church – the songs they sing, the order they sing them in, the times they meet, the way they preach – can’t be changed. The problem is most of these things are based on what was culturally relevant in the 1950s. So when people come into your church today, they find it “old fashion,” boring, or irrelevant. So the only people who are comfortable there are people who feel comfortable in the 1950s.
Another cultural problem is we are just too inwardly focused. We talk about reaching out, but we just don’t do it.
Really big churches focus on reaching people with the gospel. They change their culture to put that value at the top. It is more important that a non-believer is drawn to the message than it is that the Christian enjoys the song.
You can choose to put reaching people first and not be a mega church. I went to a church in Austin that valued planting churches. They’d reach about 800 people, filling their small building. Then they’d plant a new church, often sending off hundreds of their best and most involved members. With in a few months they would have replaced those that left and the church would be growing toward another plant.
The truth is this is thinly disguised jealously. And a little guilt. They feel like they should be as attractive as that big church.
Making a big deal about minor things.
The denomination I grew up in is famous for splitting churches because of stupid things. They split over whether to use 1 cup for communion or multiple cups.
The reason this annoys me so much is the church can no longer afford this. We need to first understand what the core beliefs of a Christian are and accept as brothers anyone who has those beliefs. We’ve got big enemies that are tearing our church’s apart and we can’t spend time arguing about stupid stuff.
Don’t think about or understand audience.
Most Christian ministry and communication doesn’t give any thought to who is listening. As Christians we need to “be all things to all people, so we might win some.” But we don’t think about the other people first. That is the key to good communication and ministry. We think about what we want and need, not those we are trying to reach.
It’s like giving someone the gift you want for Christmas. Even if you are doing it because you think the gift is cool, or receiver would like it. You need to ask and find out what the person would want.
I’m not talking about watering down the gospel, but rather putting the good news in a context that people will listen to.
Assuming people understand what you are talking about.
There are two manifestations of this. One is churchese, that language that is all our own. The other is assuming biblical or philosophical understanding.
Any organization is going to develop jargon. Those words that are needed to describe things unique to their what they do. There is nothing wrong with this, but you need to understand outsiders don’t understand this. My best friend is a doctor. Every so often I’ll ask a medical question of him and he’ll answer in a flurry of medical jargon that really sounds like a foreign language. That’s what is like when we use words like sanctification, holiness, worship, and many others to an outsider or in our public communication. Then like my doctor friend we have to put it words our listeners can understand. Start with that next time.
The majority of Americans do not know the stories of the bible. They don’t know who King David was. Who Cain and Able were. The only thing they know about Peter is he’s a frequent guardian of heaven in jokes. For the names they do know they probably have wildly wrong ideas. Don’t assume people understand anything.
Most people don’t have a well worked out reason for how the world works. They’ve kind of developed what they think is right and wrong, what is important, and how the world works by absorption. They put together things that just don’t make sense when looked at together, but work when used in isolation. Don’t assume a coherent worldview. But that shouldn’t be too hard considering most Christians don’t have a coherent worldview either.
This is a bit of a rant, but I’ve been thinking about these things for a while and finally decided to post them.