At the end of my previous post, I said:
PS: You can see from the comments on that article at iMonk that people largely think of church as a business that has to “market” distinctly to different age-demographics. And I will address that in my next post.
Well, this is my next post.
The great thing about a church filled with older people is there is no marketing, because there doesn’t need to be any. There may also be no growth, as in conversions, and only growth from people moving in, but so what! Do we really believe that the whole point of Christianity is to constantly bring in more people to no real purpose? There certainly is a place for churches that simply conserve the (can I use this phrase?) deposit of faith, and do not beat the bushes bringing everyone in. There are churches focused on evangelism, and there are churches focused on worship and living the Christian life. There is nothing wrong with this. Quite frankly, its hard to create a church that does both. If the focus is evangelism, worship is hindered, because the sermons end up all being on how to grow the church! If the focus is worship, and equipping the saints to live the Christian life, there ends up being little focus on evangelism, because Paul never taught anyone in any of his epistles that the point of the Christian life is evangelism.
That last point needs to be elucidated.
Paul teaches a lot about husbands loving their wives, salves obeying their masters (Paul wasn’t inerrant, you know, so yeah, he got that one wrong), children obeying their parents, etc. etc. He talks about living your life largely as it was before you became a Christian, just now without the sin. He calls it staying in the calling in which you were called, or something like that. In other words, he never said everyone has to be some big evangelist.
What epistle can you show me where Paul berates the congregation for not doing HIS job for him? Paul was an evangelist, he was a missionary, he spent his life going out and establishing churches and making converts. So did his associates, like Titus, but they never told the churches that this is the job of everyone or berated the people for not being able to be “missional” and always have tons of conversions going on in their absence. In fact, if you read carefully, you’ll find all the churches in the New Testament (on which we have any kind of information, aside from Rome, since it was the capital of the world) were pretty small, a collection of one or two, maybe three families. And Paul doesn’t get on their case for not growing numerically…..because that’s his job, not theirs. This is a point that needs to seriously be considered.
So the next time you’re at church, and the preacher berates the congregation on how its not growing and its YOUR fault, i.e. the congregation’s fault, but yes, YOURS in particular, for not doing “enough”….ask him…not, “why aren’t you doing your job? Its your job to grow the church, preacher, or pastor, etc.” because I’m sure he hears that a lot anyway, but ask him “Please show me book chapter and verse where Paul ever preached anything like this. Please show me where Paul takes the Corinthians to task, for instance, for not doing enough to evangelize.” I think I may actually do this myself, because I want to see their flustered look on one of the “everyone has to be a big evangelist like Paul” pushers’ faces.