As a pastor, I get asked all the time, “Kevin, how are you plugging in all the people coming to your church?”
Well, that’s a great question. Churches and their leaders ask this question all the time. They often come up with elaborate ways of trying to “plug in” all the people to the church and it’s functions…
But, is this the Biblical blueprint? Is this what we see modeled in Scripture. Didn’t Jesus say: “Go and make disciples of all nations…” Didn’t He say, “You are to be my witnesses…? So, how can we do this if we do all of this at our church buildings? Is salt any good if it stays in the salt shaker?
Is this really what we want?
Or do we want people to go outside the church and do the work?
I like this view better…
Isn’t this more of what the first church did in the book of Acts? They were seeing people come to Christ daily. Where was this happening? In a church building? No sir. There were no church buildings in the first century. Only homes. That’s right! People were leading people to Christ from their homes.
I really believe we have the model backwards today. We try to bring everyone and everything to the church building. We try to bring the people to the “professionals.” You know, like the disclaimer says, “Don’t try this at home, it could be hazardous to your health.” This is why less than 5% of all Christians have ever led anyone to Christ. And the sad thing is only 1% of “non-clergy” Christians have ever led anyone to Christ. Why? Because people like me…pastors have unknowingly let their church members off the hook.
After all pastors are “paid” to do the work aren’t we? Throw some money in the offering plate and they’ll get the job done. If they don’t, get rid of them and find someone who will. So, pastors burnout at a rate that is considerably higher than in other vocations.
What does the Bible say about reaching the world for Christ? Over and over the Word of God says, “Go” not “Congregate.” Yes, we come together and we are not to “forsake assembling ourselves together as some have done,” but that is so we can be encouraged and equipped to go do the work.
Paul was adamant about this with the church at Ephesus. Check out the parts in BOLD.
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ… 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:11-13, 16
Did you see the words “equip the saints for the work…” and “equipped” and “working properly?” I see them. What do they mean? It means people come to church to be equipped so they can do the work and the salt gets out of the shaker. Pretty simple stuff if you ask me.
But, we have all of these seminars and conferences and books on the market supposedly teaching us “pastors” how to plug in our people. Well, here’s a news flash. I don’t want to plug anyone into the church. I want to plug you up outside the church on your children’s practice ball fields and the dance studios and in the school cafeterias and business board rooms. When will we take the words of our Lord Jesus seriously and GO MAKE DISCIPLES…
So, please don’t ask me, “Preacher, how are we going to plug in all these people.” Because my answer will be, “I’m not going to even try.” Because you can only have just so many teachers, ushers, sound people and choir members. What we need are “workers.” People who are willing to go be “Jesus” to their family, neighbors, co-workers and school mates. I think instead of saying, “How do we get them plugged in,” we should be saying, “How do we get them plugged OUT.”
Ok…I feel like I’m being lifted up. Ooooo. Hold on tight… I’m being tipped over….I can feel it…oh yeah…here I go…I’m salt coming out of the shaker…
Yep…that’s my mental image of the hand of God pouring out His people to go out and tell people about the saving faith of His Son. Let’s go!!