An interesting tweet rolled through my timeline this weekend. It said that “71% of the city of Austin would decline to come to a worship gathering”.
Putting aside the veracity of the statistic, my response was why should this be shocking?
Why shouldn’t that be our expectation of people outside the kingdom of God?
There is a certain amount of pride inherent in the view that all that is needed to create disciples is a sign with worship times.
Want to plant a church? Just go to the print shop and take the first step!
Inviting those who do not know Christ to a service intended for worship seems like putting the cart before the horse.
Worship implies intimacy. Worship requires alignment.
Worship is all about openness. (see Seeing God in the Grand Canyon)
The false self worships the idol that feeds it. A false sense of wholeness is found establishing and serving something apart from God.
The false self cannot worship God.
This is not to say that the lost are unwelcome or can’t meet God in a worship service or won’t benefit from being exposed to truth in a message, but we should not be expecting them to have motivation to attend. (see 1 Corinthians 2:14)
Those following the false self don’t know what is good for their true self in Christ. They are still protecting the self they have created. That is pride.
In any new town he entered, Paul went to the temple. But, his audience was unique. The temple was fill with those who believed in the Father and were familiar with the prophets. This audience needed to see Jesus as the prophesied Messiah.
But let’s boil that down, Paul went to so people could see Jesus.
The church is supposed to be the body of Christ. Visible. Tangible. So people who do not know can see Jesus.
Instead of relying on the lost to come to us (isn’t that contradictory to expect the lost to find their way?), the church needs to go to.
The church needs to be part of what the surrounding community is already doing. Gathering where the community is already gathering.
So that the light of the church, our spirit led and spirit inspired words and actions, can be visible in the darkness.
For the light to be attractional it needs to be present not hidden. Then those without the Spirit get an experience with Jesus.
I titled this post “A Question About Worship and the Church”. My case has briefly been stated. I’d love your thoughtful responses either way. What is your reaction to the tweet?