The local Baptist church in town today got what every church usually only wishes for, and it wasn’t what they expected. How would you react if you showed up to worship and there were twice as many people as usual, and half of the people there were unchurched, unbelieving families. Awesome, right?
That was the result of an outreach program this weekend, where kids were invited to a VBS-like event for two days. They built a whole city out of Legos, ate meals together, and learned about Bible stories and Jesus’ love. The official “opening” of the city was to follow today’s service, so all of those kids showed up with families in tow.
The church did a great job too. They knew what was coming, and they made sure the service was explained every step of the way. Everything was “evangelistic” as well. Unfortunately, it was pretty hard to get through. What do you expect doing traditional, churchy things with over 100 people who have never done such things before? Kids were loud and only interested in getting through the formality to experience the city they had helped build.
Working with believers who have a true desire to share their faith, I come across this attitude and desire all the time. “If I could only get my unbelieving friends to church, I know they would finally see the truth.” No, they would likely only see a foreign culture that they could never hope to understand. Often those very cultural oddities are what stand between a person and the message that wants to be conveyed.
Instead, if every believer would take the love of Christ and their faith out into the culture around them—incarnationally, so to speak—perhaps then the world could begin to see truth. Then, that truth could transform those cultures into little bits of the Kingdom of God. Maybe not always exactly like the church cultures believers are used to, but those changes might be good changes as well.