Adam recently posted an article on A Legacy of Faith sharing his thoughts about what people are looking for in preachers. The title was What Too Many People Want in a Preacher. If you did not read that post, I encourage you to do that.
As I read his thoughts, a statement came to mind that I heard an older preacher say years ago. At that time, I was in my early years of attempting to preach the gospel. The man who was older than me at that time was probably about the age I am now.
Although I wasn’t around this man a great deal, I still considered him to be sort of a mentor of mine. I appreciated his Bible knowledge and his years of experience. I also appreciated the fact that, like me, he had not begun his adult life as a gospel preacher. I felt that this gave him a perspective that some might not have who start preaching right after graduating from a school supported by Christians.
As I remember it, there was some discussion going on about how to increase attendance at Bible classes and worship services. I was not really a part of the discussion, but I was just trying to learn all I could.
Somewhere during that discussion, my friend and mentor uttered these words:
“What draws ‘em keeps ‘em.”
In the years since I heard that statement, I’ve had many opportunities to see the wisdom in that observation. I’ve also tried to keep that statement in mind as I’ve attempted to serve the Lord.
Please consider the following:
- If people are drawn to a church by entertainment, would it not take more and more entertainment to keep them? Will we go as far as a particular religious group went in Dallas, Texas a few years ago when they had an “exotic dancer” perform during their Sunday morning “worship service?” (Yes, that really did happen!)
- If people are drawn to a church by some sort of program, what happens if the program is discontinued?
- If people are drawn to a church because of the “demographics” of that particular congregation, what will keep them there if the demographics change?
- If people are drawn by architecture, what happens when a newer, more modern building is built elsewhere?
- Similarly, if people are drawn to a particular congregation because of the proximity of the church building to their house(s), what would happen if another church building were to be built closer to their house(s)?
- If people are drawn to a church because their friends are there, what would happen if the friends move to another community or another congregation?
- If people are drawn by the personality or style of a preacher what happens when he moves, retires, or dies? What if his health fails? What if (as has unfortunately happened in some cases) he gets caught up in a sinful lifestyle?
As you consider that, please consider also the statement made by Jesus and the inspired commentary provided to us by John, the apostle:
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die (John 12:32-33).
It would be difficult to overestimate the work and influence of the apostle Paul on the early church. In fact, it would be difficult to overestimate the effect of his efforts on the church of every age.
It seems to this observer that Paul realized that, in the final analysis, there is only one legitimate and scriptural way to draw people to Christ:
“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 Cor. 2:1-2)
AUTHOR: Jim Faughn