A NEW Way of Doing Things

David Hallsted’s summary presentation of our congregation’s first “Dreamer’s Meeting” was encouraging and enlightening.

I wrote last Sunday about the irony that every time a church dies, another group takes their place (neighborhood) with high hopes about the opportunities that remain! They invest money, do focus groups or neighborhood research—all to find the way things should be done in the neighborhood they have entered.

The main difference between a dying church and a living, hopeful congregation is the mindset of the people attending that congregation. New plants enter a community with the assumption that things will have to change if the result is not to be repeated! If what “they” were doing was working, “they” wouldn’t have died.

“Shouldn’t we stick with Biblical ways to do things?” That question reveals a sad reality. Dying churches begin to equate God’s blessing with using the methods that were used decades before. It worked before; if it doesn’t work now, something must be wrong. How could God be accused of being happy with the lost being condemned? Wouldn’t He want us to adjust our methods?

Jesus got in trouble when His religion didn’t match the expectations of the leaders. The people loved Jesus; the Jewish leaders saw their support as another sign that the crowds were lost. Jesus made everyone realize the purpose for His actions. When something didn’t seem normal, he connected a solution with His mission. He healed on the Sabbath because, “The Sabbath was made for man; not man for the Sabbath.”

We are going to have to try new methods for reaching the lost. We have the same Gospel; there is no question that the Gospel saves. But if people aren’t being saved, it is the fault of the method, not the seed.