Yesterday as I was standing in the deli aisle picking up my ‘nitrate free’ ham slices to use in my Stuffed Citrus Pork Chop recipe (which is delicious by the way!), I was stopped by a lady from Schneiders and given multiple coupons to use for the product. She saw me buying the ham she was promoting and wanted me to have a deal. It was great. I loved it. I got 3$ off instantly and scored .75$ coupons for the next four visits. I was pleased, she was pleased and in the end I left quite happy.
When I got home, I put X. to bed and settled in for a little reading and surfing on the internet. I stumbled across an article which talked about Churches and their mission and grown and it struck me as quite interesting last night as I reflected on various things. In the article the author stated that as Churches are planted they grow rapidly in the beginning through evangelism and outreach, as they age it declines rapidly. The author said that as a Church grows older it switches from growth by outreach to growth from transfer.
This is so interesting. The older a Church is, the less like it is to be out there spreading the gospel. If it’s growing, it’s likely to be growing because it’s appealing to those who already know the gospel. As I was reading this article I was really struck by this notion because of the coupon incident from this morning. The lady approached me because I was already purchasing her product. I was safe. I was the person she knew wouldn’t reject her. She could count on me listening to her and there was no need to sell me on it, I already wanted it.
As a Church we spend an awful lot of time trying to sell people who already want the Gospel, the Gospel. We celebrate growth that comes through other Church’s loss. We embrace the easy route. We look to people that are like us, who will not reject us and we hope to grow with ease and without much difficulty.
It seems we are people who are afraid. We do not like change. We want things to be comfortable. We want people to come to Church and accept us for who we are, not the other way around. This doesn’t surprise me really. No one wants to be rejected. We spend our life searching for acceptance and we long for people to love us. The thing is, as Christians we have the ultimate acceptance. Jesus loves us, no matter what. We have this incredible acceptance. He loved us so much he died for us, to free us from what separated us from God and bring us home.
This is something we as Christians really need to think about. Are we afraid to be who Jesus calls us to be? Is it about us and our comfort or is it about sharing this gift with others? As I was reading last night I came across a fantastic section of 2 Corinthians when Paul reminds us that the Message is about far more than we realize, we bring a gift. We share the message.
“Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.”
(2 Corinthians: 4:5-6)