Monday, January 28, 2008

What's The Driving Force?

These thoughts that I am about to share are very near and dear to my heart. All that I feel and would like to say cannot ever be fully conveyed in a simple, single blog post. With that said . . .

My brother and fellow pastor, Tim Rogers, has over at his site Southern Baptist in NC a long and thorough post about LifeWay Research and the use of words and what unchurched Harry and Mary say about what constitutes a Christian. Along with this I picked up a book at my local library entitled unChristian, the title certainly caught my eye, I picked up and read that it was written and based on a ton of research (there's that word again) done by the Barna Group.

My concern as I read these words about research and what non-Christians think, I am driven to think "so what?"

We read about all of this surveying that church planters must do and study as they begin their work of planting congregations.

My response to this, and I confess I may be labeled unenlightened to many "missiologists" and pastors alike, is if this is so vitally important, then why don't we ever see the Apostle Paul doing surveys and market studies before he goes into a city to plant a church? The first century believers who were accused of "turning the world upside down" I don't ever read of them doing research before they preached the Gospel.

Have you heard anyone recently sayingof the US church that "they are turning the world upside down" for Jesus?

With all of our "gnosis", have we left out the "logos"? Where are the Spirit-filled preachers and missionaries who pray for boldness to preach Christ? Have we gotten so man-centered, so seeker-sensitive that we have left God out of the equation? Oh we would never say that, but gauge: are we walking by faith or by sight?
I submit that the church of Jesus Christ does not need more research, but more men and women wholly surrendered to Jesus Christ, filled with the Spirit of God, who pray without ceasing and are unashamed workman rightly dividing the Word of truth.

The Apostle Paul went to the ancient city of Corinth -- a rotten, vile, filthy city, soaked and saturated in sin, in the grip of Satan -- and read what he unashamedly tells them in his first letter:
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)

Do I really need to know what unchurched Harry & Mary think of me as a Christian? Not really. They don't need me anyway, they need Jesus Christ.
I don't really need to see research and do surveys, Jesus has already told the church what we are to be doing -- "Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation." (Mark 16:15)



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