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they knocked, i gasped and my dog growled

July 31, 2008

i had a couple guys come to the door wanting to share with me the book or Mormon. i happily told them i am a pastors wife and i love the Lord with all my heart. they asked what church i attended. i told them.

they went on to tell me why i need the book of Mormon and the church of ladder day saints in my life. their book is my missing link. they just continued telling me that i should really check out their church and their book.

then i started thinking about ‘evangelism’. the spreading of the christian gospel by public speaking or personal witness.

i’ve missed something. i’ve always noticed that people are inviting others to ‘their church’ all the time. now let me say…i see nothing wrong with going to church. i think it’s important to rub shoulders with fellow believers as often as you can. and if in a ‘church’ setting is where you’re most comfortable, then awesome! but is that what spreading the gospel is about? inviting people to your church.

have we missed something? is it about numbers? about us pointing out to our friends on sunday mornings the people we’ve invited this year? a feather in our cap.

are we promoting God or our church (building/establishment)?

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55 Comments leave one →
  1. TheNorEaster permalink
    July 31, 2008 3:15 am

    This reminds me of a discussion that recently took place over on your husband’s blog.

    “Have we missed something?” If we only think of “successful” evangelizing as “inviting people to our church,” then, Yes, we certainly have.

    “Is it about numbers?” Nope. Not to me. Never was.

    Is it “about us pointing out to our friends on Sunday morning the people we’ve invited this year?” Nope. Not to me. There is only one person I have invited who still attends on an irregular basis. The times I have introduced him to my friends at church, I have done so because I wanted my friend to feel welcome.

    I have tried very, very hard to promote God and His love over religion, legalism, or a set of rules and regulations. My pastor summed this up nicely when he mentioned John 3:16, “How come you never see 3:17 on television during a baseball game? ‘For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.'”

    I agree. And I think that’s what we should be teaching AND LIVING–the great love of God.

    We’re all trees. But it remains to be seen if your fruit is good or bad.

  2. TheNorEaster permalink
    July 31, 2008 3:15 am

    if OUR** fruit is good or bad

  3. July 31, 2008 4:29 am

    I love to invite people to our church – it is where our church family hangs out – we have a sign on the inside that says as you are leaving church: “You are now entering your mission field!” The physical church facilities is where a group of like people gather at various times during the week for fun, fellowship and spiritual growth – and food sometimes as well – love a good potluck once in awhile.

  4. July 31, 2008 4:31 am

    True, is this about what is our heart or who or how many are in our building?

    Good post. Now get back to something I can make fun of ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. July 31, 2008 4:36 am

    Evangelism is about planting seeds. Those seeds can be planted in many ways.

    – LOVE EVERYONE!!!!
    – Find a need and meet it as Christ would and did
    – Answer the questions asked of you about your faith.
    – Model Jesus in everything you do and say
    – Invite people to church

    If we plant the seed, Christ will water it with His Blood, and the seed will root deeply into the heart. Once rooted the Spirit of God will make it Blossom, and the Relationship with the Father will be theirs.

    Plant the seed Tam… that is all we can do. God has to do the rest.

  6. July 31, 2008 4:48 am

    Knocked this one out of the park Tam. You’re so right. Too often we see our churches as the ‘target’ or the ‘end result’ when really Christ is wanting us to use the church as a tool. WE are the church and our best evangelism is relational – Loving God, Loving people.

  7. July 31, 2008 4:57 am

    Absolutely. A lot of times we invite people to the building instead of the life. Great thought.

  8. July 31, 2008 4:58 am

    JW’s often make the grievous mistake of knocking at my door a couple times a year…

    Not because I am rude to them mind you. No, I take a much more diabolical tack I engage in the Socratic method until they excuse themselves and run screaming…

    After I came in the house laughing at ho much fun I’d just had after one such episode my wife said to me, “I hope you still think it’s funny when you’re in HeII!” My wife is no more of a believer than am I, however she has a much deeper commitment to the phrase, ‘live and let live’.

    In the infinitely unlikely event that the JW’s are right, I’m pretty sure I will be laughing due to the fact that there with lots of you people right there in Hades with me and that will make it fun!

    R.

  9. July 31, 2008 5:06 am

    Since we are the church, inviting them to a bbq, coffee, or football would be inviting the “to” the church. Inviting them to worship with you… well yeah, but you might want to get to know them a little … (this is sounding like dating)

    And I think its Latter Day Saints, as in saints in current times (ala, Joseph Smith?) as opposed to biblical times. BUT I absolutely love your very telling spelling. (was this intentional?)

  10. July 31, 2008 6:19 am

    Well, did they ever leave? How did you get rid of them? I must admit I am a bit disappointed that the JWs and Mormons don’t come around anymore. They were great company and we had some great conversations in the past.

    BTW, Tam I just posted a bit or a moral question that I would love to see you answer.

    http://totaltransformation.wordpress.com/2008/07/31/medical-costs-and-companionship-a-moral-question/

  11. July 31, 2008 6:21 am

    Aw man… Between you and Brent I can hear the paradigm cracking…

    DE-CON-STRUC-TION!!!!

    To quote Pink Floyd:

    [in my best British accent]
    “Tear Down the Walls!, Tear Down the Walls!

  12. July 31, 2008 6:30 am

    Hey TotalTransformation, the Mormons have not been by my house since I made one of them cry. I feel a little bad about that but the side effect has been pleasant.

  13. July 31, 2008 6:34 am

    Church is like a gateway druge, we get them in the door for free, then tie their feet to the pew and force their hands in the air with sticks. Amazingly with these tactics we are having 100% salvation and re-dedication numbers, EVERY SUNDAY.

    Ok, that was a joke…

    Much more seriously, I get what you are trying to point out here Tam, but let’s not through the baby out with the bathwater. I know that for myself, getting invited to a church (especially as a non believer) was the only way that I thought I could really access God. Then wen I got there, I got to see that it wasnt a bunch of complete losers, and I got to see the bride of Christ, smiling, laughing, and actually having a good time. I actually remember thinking to myself that I didnt usually see this many people happy at the nightclub I was working at… and they were DRUNK!

    Anyway, I just want to point out that inviting someone to church can actually get that person saved, rescued and set free. It happened to me. So invite as many people as you can, maybe one will actually grab on and have their life changed… isn’t that the point?

  14. July 31, 2008 6:38 am

    Buddy said:

    โ€œTear Down the Walls!, Tear Down the Walls!’

    Well that’s it where’s my danged IPOD….

    I haven’t listened to ‘The Wall’ in its entirety in years!

    “so ya…thought ya…might like ta…go to the show….!”

    R.

  15. July 31, 2008 6:58 am

    “Hey TotalTransformation, the Mormons have not been by my house since I made one of them cry. I feel a little bad about that but the side effect has been pleasant.”

    Well I am a bit upset because the last time the JWs were here (over 2 years ago) they promised to bring my pastries on their next visit.

    It is also quite funny since the previous owners of this home were Mexican. Because of that the missionaries who show up at my door start by speaking in Spanish. I have to tell them, no comprende senior. But that happened only for about the first 6 months we lived here.

  16. July 31, 2008 6:59 am

    Great question Tam! In my case, I love inviting people to my church because EVERY SINGLE SERVICE, we have a salvation altar call. In over 2 years, someone (usually lots of people) has responded EVERY TIME.

    If people aren’t receiving salvation at church every sunday, then I don’t see the value of inviting new people just for more numbers. It’s about salvation. Its about people being healed, delivered and set free. I’m lucky enough that my church is exactly where that happens.

  17. Heather B permalink
    July 31, 2008 7:01 am

    So true Tam. I can see the validity of inviting people to your own church if it is to supplement the lifestyle that you are already using to witness to unbelievers. However, the tendency that many people have (myself included at times) is to invite others to church so that you don’t really have to risk rejection. If one rejects going to church,it’s not really a personal rejection, ya know? If you are trying to witness personally and the “target” ๐Ÿ˜ฏ rejects the message, it feels more like failure or rejection… I don’t know, just a thought.

  18. July 31, 2008 7:01 am

    Some people will never go to church, because they have never been invited! The idea of walking through those big doors and being surrounded by “holy” people whom I don’t know….yikes…..no…can’t go there. But when someone invited me, I went. I accepted Christ and while my life is about Jesus, not about the rocking awesome Crosspoint Community Church…… the church is a huge part of my life personally.

    I invite people to come to my church because I believe that they can and will have an experience there that will draw them close to their Lord and Savior, and from there, they will develop and serve in community, they will witness, serve and be changed from the inside out.

    This isn’t to say that I do nothing else. I will witness and testify…but that usually leads to an invitation to my church.

  19. July 31, 2008 7:08 am

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!! i have felt so strongly about these things lately. one of the things our new church plant is striving to do is to serve within the community as much as possible. to join with existing organizations who are already doing things and partner with them. the idea of the church is not to compete against people within the community.

    another thing that gets frustrating is people (the church) serving other people just to have a spiritual conversation with someone. now, i’m all for spiritual conversations (evangelism) if the opportunity arises but the part that bugs me is that when that person being served doesn’t want to have a spiritual conversation, the person serving gets up and moves onto someone else.

    was this the message that Jesus taught? was this the example he left for us? i don’t think so. we need to strive to serve people for as long as God has you in their lives no matter if they make a decision to follow Christ or not!

    sorry for the rant tam! ok, i’m done!

  20. July 31, 2008 7:33 am

    TT said:

    “Well I am a bit upset because the last time the JWs were here (over 2 years ago) they promised to bring my pastries on their next visit.”

    Maybe they could bring some communion wafers, i hear the Catholics are only too happy to let them out of the sanctuary ๐Ÿ˜‰

    R.

  21. July 31, 2008 7:53 am

    Ok, so TT also said:

    Because of that the missionaries who show up at my door start by speaking in Spanish.

    They all have us databased. Next to your address it now read, “No longer Mexican” and “Must bring pastries” which is work so like everyone just skips over you.

    My record must read, “Makes the young boys cry” which, no doubt, supplies a great source of amusement for all the elders.

  22. July 31, 2008 8:02 am

    Amen sista!!! not knocking church..but the Gospel is what we need to be spreading..I know that you do this, and its awesome…love you and so with you on this!! You are speaking some truth here, and I am going pray that some will recieve that truth. You Rock!

  23. July 31, 2008 8:23 am

    I love how my pastor is all about the kingdom. He loves to bring people together. It trickles down to the rest of us.

    Love the Kingdom of God, baby. Love it!

    No matter what church.

  24. Jennifer Griffin permalink
    July 31, 2008 8:39 am

    It’s all about the numbers. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s about how crowded we can make Heaven. So many churches are wanting to be that “big” or “mega” church in their area. If that is their hearts desire and motive…not cool. If their desire is to see the masses come to Christ…right on. I say…promote Jesus in your conversation…lead them to Him. Our churches are important…we are in the middle of launching one. There are NO churches in our area that are really reaching the lost…going to them..helping..loving…etc. I am thrilled to be apart of something like this. Do I want others to come…YES…but I want them to come so they can hear about Jesus. Good thoughts Tam. Your post yesterday challenged me still this morning. I woke up a grump and God spoke to me…I chose joy. My day is much better now!

    Jen

  25. July 31, 2008 8:40 am

    great discussion!

    i wanta make clear that i am not against inviting people to church. at all. i never said that. but what i see is a whole step, in between the mtg and inviting, being completely missed. the relationship. building a friendship. we skip right to, “hey, why dont you come to church with me this sunday.” i believe most people are uncomfortable with that straight off. and i believe we do that because we dont want to, or are afraid to, invest a little into that person first.

    like heather B said “If one rejects going to church, itโ€™s not really a personal rejection, ya know? If you are trying to witness personally and the โ€œtargetโ€ ๐Ÿ˜ฏ rejects the message, it feels more like failure or rejection”

    we have to stop taking evangelism personally. it. isnt. about. us. however…i believe that once we have built a relationship with people outside the “church” we are blessed beyond measure. by their friendship. by drawing close to one another. and us “being the ‘church'” hopefully will have blessed them as well in a way that draws them to seek out a place of fellowship of their own. whether or not its your own church, it doesnt matter.

  26. July 31, 2008 8:41 am

    Tam,

    We tell the Youth about this very thing, we tell them the church is often confused as a “club” or a ” clique” and that being a ” member” means you serve and keep helping them bring the numbers in…when in actuality the church is a place where everyone is welcome and come as they are.

    Its not about the numbers.

    Its about the hearts that are changed.

    When I was going to the KH, the one thing that was clearly different from a Christian church was they were good bringing the numbers in, and meeting their weekly hours needed of service, but you would never really feel like you belonged like it was definitely a ” clique” that you had to meet certain standards, and if you didn’t you were kicked out.

    Church is where God is knowingly present for those who are not sure He even exists, and yet it is also there for those who know God is present and ” forget” He’s there sometimes.

    I could go on about this, but slowing down because I just woke up:)

    Love you!

  27. July 31, 2008 8:49 am

    Okay I’ll add…

    My best friend isn’t a Christian, she is agnostic. But I tell her about my blog people, and I tell her about the revelations God shows me in His word and wherev. And you know what when you can truly be someone’s friend accepting them as they are, its so awesome.

    The same person who invited me to the KH, she said to me, ” How can you and her be such good friends knowing you have different beliefs?”

    and that same person realized it was about more than her KH, that she could genuinely be both our friends even though we didn’t believe the same.

    Regardless of belief. You have someones heart in front of you, and you can learn a great deal sometimes without ” sugarcoating” who you are, or what they believe….just be friends, just talk about everything, and sing out all the states in song if you want…
    just so you keep being friends.

    Religion never existed in God’s eyes.

    Relationship was always offered.

  28. July 31, 2008 9:38 am

    I was thinking about this last night on the way home from an amazing church service. Well, let me back up…Our church hasn’t been seeing the best summer “numbers” this year. It’s easy to get discouraged. But last night was one of those nights where the worship just went off, the pastors got up and prophesied and prayed over people. The congregation was hungry and excited to be in the presence of God. And the service lasted longer than your average Wednesday night. It was amazing.

    On the way home I realized that those are the times we are going to be talking about in ten, fifteen, twenty years. The times when God showed up and blew the roof off the place. We’re not gonna remember the attendance numbers from summer 2008. It’s about being delivered, set free and transformed.

  29. July 31, 2008 9:39 am

    For The Beauty and I, we don’t invite people to our church without first building a relationship. An invitation to church without first making a connection feels too much like that person is a project…..someone you need to ‘save’. We love on people, share what knowing Jesus has done for us, and THEN invite to church if we feel led to do so.

    As far as engaging Mormon missionaries in discussion, it is important to note that the vast majority of these young men have been indoctrinated with their false theology from a very young age and are ill-equipped to have any type of meaningful discussion about it. They are trained in the MTC (Missionary Training Center) to be much like salesman…..that is, to ignore any objections raised, to brush off questions with scripted answers, to steer inquiring minds to specific scriptures taken out of context, to encourage the person to follow ‘feelings’ rather than reason, and to implore you to attend their church where the real work of brain-washing can begin. Most of them have never given a second thought to what they have been taught and do not know how to respond intelligently when confronted by someone familiar with their doctrine.

    If I sound kind of bitter, it’s only because I used to be a Mormon.

  30. July 31, 2008 9:44 am

    Yeah I am kinda blank on this one because here we don’t have the church people or the building…kinda makes me miss both actually.

  31. Jim2 permalink
    July 31, 2008 9:53 am

    I see it as laziness. “Hey, that evangelism stuff is what we pay the Pastor for – I’ll invite people to church and then it’s someone else’s job”

  32. Ruth permalink
    July 31, 2008 9:56 am

    I have been reading and following your blog for months. You always have inspirational thoughts that really make me think about my relationship with Christ and what I can do to make it better. I love reading your blog. I have never posted but today I just had to say something. I am a Christian who loves sharing the gospel with others. I love that your and your family are so close to the thing that matters most. I believe that there are good and spiritual people all around us. I also happen to be a “Mormon” and think that the missionaries that came to your door never intended to make you think it was “their” church. It is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We believe in sharing the gospel just as you do. So many people misjudge our intentions, we just want to share what we have found, just as you do. The methods may be different but I have seen many people who were lost find happiness by actually talking with the missionaries. When I was in high school my best friend was an athiest and she agreed to talk with the missionaries. I felt that through that a great miricle was performed. She did not become a member the the church we attend but she did come to the knowledge that Christ was real and that He would be there for her. That’s really our goal in spreading the gospel isn’t it?

  33. July 31, 2008 10:22 am

    Tam:

    In my past experience I have noticed that part of evangelism has alot to do with recruitment.

    I feel that we should all direct people to God’s House. Whether its yours or mine. Just go and listen to God’s word. And if you don’t have one close then tune on your tv.

    Why should we direct them to our church? Perhaps to help out the membership department set a record.

    I’m not sure but I really don’t like the whole thing of the evangelical business. For the short time I did volunteer at my church’s office, that was by far the BIGGEST turnoff and in time contributed to me walking away….. It was all about being part of the biggest 10 churches in the nation. Are we (or they) missing the point?

    It should not be about numbers, it should be about God.

  34. July 31, 2008 10:24 am

    ruth – thank you for jumping in here. im glad you did and its great to ‘meet’ you!!!

    ya know…i was talking to a friend last night about the ‘visit’ i had (and i’ll be darned if i didnt spell ‘latter’ wrong. i knew i would…sorry) anyway…these two young men were quite different than others before, they truly were persistent with ‘their church’…and thats what got this whole post started. not necessarily about them or LDS – but believers in general, who i believe miss the point of evangelism all too often. usually if i ask questions they will answer fairly well and we can have a short pleasant discussion. but these gentlemen only seemed to be interested in getting me to their temple here in town. if i wanted to know more then i should come to their church. so you see how that got my mind racing with these questions in this post.

    and i loved what you said Ruth…youre friend didnt come to your church but she did come to the knowledge that Christ is real. and that is the point exactly. i dont wanta dilute that or interfere with that potential knowledge with my insisting they come to “my church”. and im afraid we do that way too much.

  35. July 31, 2008 10:25 am

    ivy, yes. i agree. there is the danger too. turning people off who are already ‘in’. we have much to learn.

  36. Jennifer Griffin permalink
    July 31, 2008 11:04 am

    Reminds me….at a church we used to attend before our new launch…the Pastor’s wife used to yell at the kids for running or doing a number of things in the “House of God’. When she’d say..”house of God” i would almost here it echo with a loud voice. Anyways, I explained to our kiddo one day that the church really isn’t the house of God but, we are when we accept Christ into our hearts. I think the church has become much different than what God intended. It’s about Him. It’s about sharing Jesus. As Perry Noble said recentlly…”it’s our job to make Heaven a more crowded place.” Those are truly the numbers that are important!

  37. July 31, 2008 11:48 am

    Oh how I love Mormons with all of my heart.

    I would die for them just for them to have a relationship with Jesus.

    Seriously.

    I could go on and on.

    I pray for the opportunity to do life with Mormons and be able to show them the love of Christ.

    Until then, I get to live vicariously through this:

  38. July 31, 2008 1:20 pm

    Joe the kids in that video didn’t know what hit them.

    Luke21:15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.

    Luke21: 15 (KJV) For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.

  39. July 31, 2008 2:12 pm

    Great thoughts Tam.

    Yeah, I think one possible reason why a lot of people think “invite them to church” straight off the bat is because they don’t actually know how to share their faith with them. I think this is pretty fair to say without throwing stones. I am continuously challenged (let me rephrase that – all the time overwhelmingly challenged) with how to share my faith in a real way with those around me. I don’t want to be the “Bible basher” you know, and preach at them about their lack of God, but I also don’t want to do nothing. I do end up doing nothing most of the time – at least in terms that I would measure. I try to ‘live the life’ (and they say that is the best thing). I don’t know. I’m kind of rambling. I have a serious passion in my heart for people to see God as He really is. So many people have questions, misconceptions, areas of hurt because they don’t understand what happened to them and why. They blame God or think He doesn’t see them – all things SO untrue. He would blow their minds away if they really knew Him. To know Him is truly to love Him. They only don’t love Him because they don’t know! I would love to teach people about God. I would love to be used to show them Who He really is. But people, you know … are people. Pride, hurt, anger, self-righteousness, “I tried that once,” and everything else that clouds people’s minds. It makes them cold and unreceptive to the beautiful life that God alone is and can give them. I want to be effective. I don’t want to waste my words on the wind. If someone is open, you can bet I’ll push to the max of what they can handle. If they’re closed – it doesn’t matter how much I say if it just bounces right off their heart again. Anyway. That is me. I said all that just to talk about how I feel about the prospect of personally sharing my faith. I think church is a place where people can say, “Go there. They know more about it than I do,” and also a place where, once you’re there, you kind-of excpect to talk and learn about God. It sort-of prompts openness. So I totally see what you’re saying. Church is good – but it’s the life we’re selling. It goes so much further past the building or the assembly – it reaches down in our personal, everyday, gritty lives and reaches us where we are. We need to live that life for people. God show me how.

    And I want to say too – your words on Deb’s post were so moving to me! Thank you! I feel honored that out of everyone who commented, you read (whether by design or convenience) my comment, and that it challenged you. Really. Thank you. It blessed my day.

  40. Heidi permalink
    July 31, 2008 2:13 pm

    First of of all… I love you!!

    You have been really challenging me lately.
    Thank you

    I beleive that Evangelism has been tossed aside, because we are too afraid to confront and be non-politically correct or we don’t know enough bible too.

    We need more of it, in either relationships, friendships, or simple activities of life and I don’t think an occasional door to door experience wouldn’t be that bad either.

  41. July 31, 2008 3:43 pm

    I would guess that becoming a missionary is a “calling” that a person must feel. They feel God’s guidance to “spread the word”. If that is the guidance you receive from your God then that is what you need to do.

    I see “promoting” a church as different from promoting God. A church can be advertised just like any business. The better your advertising compaign the more members you are likely to gain. With God you either feel his presence or you don’t.

    I don’t believe in God, there is really nothing you can say that will make me change my mind, just as nothing I say will make you change yours. There are people who are conflicted. They need faith, we all do, but they don’t know how to gain it. Seeking out these people to help them find their faith is being a good neighbor. We can show them how we live, but in the end they must either feel God’s presence themselves, or develop faith in themselves as I did, or they need to keep searching in another direction.

  42. July 31, 2008 4:27 pm

    I’ve had some people do this to me too. Don’t mind it much. It’s good to get a little reminder of the bigger guy in life everyonceinawhile.

  43. July 31, 2008 5:46 pm

    I’m feeling Annie’s heart and love the video, Joe.

  44. ragamuffinmom permalink
    July 31, 2008 6:18 pm

    WOW! I think you hit it right on the nose! I didn’t take the time to read through all of your comments (I can’t even believe you had the time!)

    I know at my old church, as we grew, I came to feel that we were so interested in getting people in the doors, that we forgot about the ones that were already there. Once we got them in the door, that notch on the belt was there, and we moved on to the next victim. Out Pastor was a great speaker. The Worship team was phenominal! But the people inside were all hurting, including me. If you weren’t in on getting people in the doors, than you were forgotten. I think the church got too big for its britches.

    I have such a strong faith in God, I felt it was time for me to move on. Kudos on your post!

  45. July 31, 2008 7:04 pm

    We get these visitors usually once a month or so. I have to admit that i admire their boldness and willingness to get out and repeatedly be rejected.

    I pray that i would also have that passion.

  46. July 31, 2008 8:31 pm

    i echo my slice’s comment up at #19. Completely!

  47. July 31, 2008 9:29 pm

    you’re getting a big “amen” from this missionary!

  48. August 1, 2008 5:10 am

    Preach it, Tam! I couldn’t agree more that it is about building relationships. I have some friends that are amazing at this. Every neighborhood they have lived in since I’ve known them they have built friendships with neighbors… play dates with kids, cooking out together, etc. Eventually they start introducing these people to us at church as they start coming to check it out more. This almost sounds a bit contrived but it’s not. They genuinely love people, build friendships and then coming to church with them becomes an overflow of that relationship. They amaze me!

  49. August 1, 2008 9:55 am

    After reading my previous comment again today, I feel I must apologize to all of you (and especially Ruth) for the harshness in my tone regarding Mormons. I, too, feel a special burden for those in the LDS church that is equally as passionate as the burden they feel for those who are not LDS.

    Members of the Mormon church are, by and large, wonderful, caring people who will bend over backwards to give you the shirt off their back.

    My……mmmm…..anger……yes, that’s the right word…….anger is born out of my own personal history with the LDS church and the damage that some of the theology wrought in my life. I was deeply, deeply hurt by the LDS church and it was that pain that drove me to really take a good look at the things they teach and, ultimately, reject their theology. It’s really much too complicated to address in a comment here. Bottom line is, I did not mean to project those feelings into this discussion and I apologize to all for my less than loving response.

  50. August 1, 2008 11:33 am

    skipped most of the comments, so I might be retreading old ground. The whole idea of evangelism being nothing more than inviting someone to church (or better yet – just hanging a ‘door hanger’ invitation on a doorknob) is yet another example of how the form/institution is broken. Abdicating personal responsibility for ministry to the paid professional; coming up with a formulaic approach so that people can feel good/feel like they’re doing their part for the kingdom – while at the same time leaving the heavy lifting, and the messy, dirty part to someone else…that’s not just failed leadership it’s bad form. IMO.

    Don’t invite someone to church so they can hear a salvation message. Live the salvation message in their presence.

    I got home last night and my wife told me she had had a two hour phone convo with one of our neighbors yesterday. She’d hadn’t talked to her in months, and just called to ask how she was doing. This woman has been deathly ill for years – seriously, physically, gravely ill – and doctors’ finally diagnosed that her condition was due to unresolved stress in her life stemming from years of sexual abuse when she was a child. The point of this story is, the woman upon learning that we weren’t attending church right now said, “Oh, so you’re not religious anymore?” At the end of the conversation the woman asked if she could come over and hang out with my wife and would she do a Bible study with her?

    I’m not trying to brag on my wife – she was totally unaware of blog topics this week. I am trying to say that real ministry is within the reach of ALL who read this blog, and it can be a simple as picking up the telephone and making that call you’ve been meaning to make… (you know who you are). Or go knock on your neighbor’s door and just hang out.

    Although I’m dissing the institution of the church, I am strongly in favor with the building up and encouragement of the true church – which is PEOPLE.

    You can do it!

  51. August 1, 2008 2:21 pm

    “You can do it!”

    So this made me imagine you on that elliptical, ski thingy in ahh spandex … so now I’m nauseous.

    Up to that line tho… I was cheering.

  52. August 2, 2008 3:11 am

    Right on girlfriend! I can’t tell you how much of a failure I felt trying to recruit people to come to my church. Truth was, I spent so much damn time at the building, I didn’t even know my neighbor’s names! In the name of the Lord. I’m so glad to not feel that pressure anymore. Yes, the invitation is still available but its not the goal of my friendship–to get them in the door to make the “close”. Ick. Sorry. Flash backs.

  53. August 2, 2008 10:39 am

    gmj – thank you. i, for one here, know you and your heart. i know you meant no disrespect whatsoever. but i thank you for coming back to clarify. you are truly a good man. love you!

    bad – give your bride a hug for me! that is what is all about.

    now. i don’t knock church (the building) if its focus is on equipping people to action. i know ours does. in a big way.

    just wanted to share that.

  54. August 4, 2008 11:26 am

    thanks for this discussion, tammy.

    i used to fellowship at a place that aways claimed to want to have out-reach programs & ministries, which never really came to pass. what i DID see, however, were TV commercials, parade floats & at nearly every service, the pastor or his wife asking about attendance #s, causing the staff to sense that was what was important. these people may feel that getting the unsaved in the door is what ultimately leads them to salvation, but who’s kidding who? i may be wrong, but i think that most salvations happen after observing the lifestyle of another Christ-follower, or by being graciously, non-judgmentally served by one.

    a big reason why: a.) i’ll only ask someone i consider a “friend” to church & only if the Holy Spirit prompts me & b.) my heart beats for outreach programs that serve & impact the community for the glory of Jesus. right now i’m trying to organize w/my church (for the 1st time) an art gallery/poetry-citing event, for the whole community.

    blog on ๐Ÿ˜‰

  55. August 4, 2008 11:47 am

    Poetry-citing?! Sign me up!

    Are you close to Washington DC / Baltimore MD? If not, oh well in that case you’ll just have to play the youtube video version…

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