Recently, I wrote about some unique ways that Churches were seeking to draw people to their services. If you will recall I drew attention to local services that included a ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ sing-along Good Friday service as well as Lottery Easter Sunday at a local Pentecostal Church. This week I learned that another Church in another State did a ‘U2’ Good Friday sing-along service, and our local pentecostal Church once again held its Easter Raffle.
However, the big news about how to build a Church comes from the Lutheran Missouri Synod denomination this morning. It seems that some bureaucratic Lutheran got the idea of giving 25,000.00 to a program where billboards were used to help grow an area Lutheran Missouri Synod Church. These billboards were hot red in color (you know… the color of the devil) and all were signed by Satan himself. They had messages like (I’m not making this up) ‘JeffersonHills Church Sucks,’ and ‘Boycott JeffersonHills Church,’ and other witty, ‘that will cause them to flock to the Church’ maxims.
Now, as anybody recalls these are just a play off the earlier billboard signs that had the signature of God affixed to them with other brilliant statements coming from God like, ‘Loved the Wedding, Invite me to the marriage,’ and ‘As my apprentice you’re never fired.’
What I want to know is if we are going to make billboards quoting these beings why don’t we make billboards with actual quotes?
We could have God saying on a billboard
“I hate workers of iniquity” — God
“I made Him who knew no sin to be sin for sinners.” — God
There is plenty of room on a billboard for those quotes.
All of these cutesy billboards, all of these Holy services dressed in unholy sing-along garb, and all of this church growth stuff is geared for people who will never be disciples via the means offered by Church growth gurus. Even the Grand Guru of Church Growth finally admitted that,
“Some of the stuff that we have put millions of dollars into thinking it would really help our people grow and develop spiritually, when the data actually came back it wasn’t helping people that much.” Bill Hybels
Further, these church growth ideas are produced by people who never have been nor ever likely will be disciples of Christ. Disciples of Christ don’t come up with humanistic sociological techniques to grow Christ’s Church.
Ever since Seminary when I was first exposed to this bilge, I’ve been asking one question that has never been answered.
How is it that a set of techniques that could as equally grow the 1st Church of Satan as it does the 1st Church of Christ be theologically neutral in what it does?
Is the only difference that we Christians have good intentions while those people at the 1st church of Satan don’t?
Let’s face it, when using humanistic church growth methods succeed in ‘growing’ a Church and are pursued in conjunction with an emasculating of the Gospel message (and the two usually go together) the result is not a Church but a ‘hangout’ where people can go to find dates and get some occasional good advice from the relevant talk.
This Church growth stuff lowered my GPA in Seminary because I wouldn’t buy into it then and it still makes me ill today.