Thursday, May 08, 2008

"Go and Tell" or "Come and See"?

"The Great Commission says that we are to 'go out into all the world,' but we've turned the whole thing around and made it: 'Come to us and hear our message.'" Neil Cole

The above statement is yet another intriguing tidbit from Organic Church. Actually, it's the underlying thesis. And as I was surfing the 'Net this afternoon, I found an article that echoes Cole's assesment. Here are some snippets from the article "Evangelism must begin beyond the sanctuary" by Mark Kelly:

" . . . effective evangelism must begin outside the sanctuary in relationships between Christians and unbelievers, according to research from several recent studies from LifeWay Research (Southern Baptist Convention)

(In a study of 1684 adults who were "unchurched," only 49% said they would visit a church in person).

"The location of our evangelism needs to shift if we want to reach the unchurched and not just move sheep around," said Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research. "Church switchers are primarily the ones who visit churches. The unchurched stay home".

Stetzer continued, "For several decades we have focused on come and see, invest and invite, bring your friends to church by attracting them with a great program. We call that attractional ministry. Now we are facing the reality that fewer unchurched people are willing to visit a Christian church.

"We have gone to great length to fix up the barn, but the wheat is still not harvesting itself. I believe we must move from attractional ‘come and see’ ministry to incarnational ‘go and tell’ and join Jesus in the harvest fields all around us."

One of the reasons I like Cole's book so much is that he gives lots of practical illustrations of how to "go and tell" in our Western culture--I felt very empowered to join Jesus in the harvest fields after I finished the book.

The only question now is: Will I actually do it?