This morning I had coffee with another minister in the area. He is a much younger man than me. One of my daughters (whose name begins with B), connected me with him. Their church is only three years old and sort of branched off (not a split) of a larger church in the area. They have taken very creative approaches to impacting the Madison/Rivergate area. He liked our coffee for Madison idea. I liked their block party idea at Madison Park. And the really interesting thing to me was that they did not use it as a marketing tool for their church. They were almost anonymous! They provided free food and games for the people (over a thousand people came through). If people asked they’d tell them about the church. But no banners or publicity materials and no registration. It was a totally “no-strings-attached” day of fun for the people in that area.
From a corporate America mentality it was a huge waste of resources! That’s what I liked about it! They were being salt and light for Christ. They did tell people about the church IF they asked but that was it. If no one came to their church as a result, many Christians (infected with this modern definition of “success”) would say it was a failure. But this church is looking at it long term. Who knows but that somewhere down the line, one (or more) of the families/individuals who attended that block party may have a time in their life when they begin looking for a church and this church may come to their mind?
This preacher came from a church where he was expected to visit members who went into the hospital immediately if they were big givers. I told him I had been at a church years ago where the “executive minister” wanted to know why certain people had been missing from church. The thing the people on his list had in common? Money! That’s the American way!
James 3:17 says, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” Can we be like that? Can we be content to simply show good fruit that is full of mercy, considerate and impartial without expecting something in return? I am praying that we will strive to be a church not caught up in worldly “wisdom” and the worldly definition of “success”. James 3:15 says, “Such wisdom does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.”