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"Either-Or Christianity, Part One"
Friends Are Waiting for You!
Across the next several weeks in Winning Ways, I want to clear a path for those who want to be rescued from Either-Or Christianity. Each week we'll look at one of the Six Commandments that Either-Or people follow.
Here's their First Commandment: "A church should focus on either discipleship or outreach." They say a church can only be known for one thing: either we'll focus on building Christians or connecting with seekers. Their fear is that if you do things designed to connect with seekers, you'll short-change the growth of believers.
Baloney. Either-Or Christianity helps neither the believer nor the seeker. We need to figure out how to involve believers and seekers in the life of our church. On the one hand, believers need seekers around. Walking with Jesus involves taking some people with you on that walk! You simply can't grow as a believer without this element. On the other hand, seekers need believers around. It's been my experience that many people discover Christ only by spending time in Christian community. Christian commitment is caught more than simply taught. I like what Dieter Zander said in his book, Inside the Soul of a New Generation: "We used to view conversion as the gateway to fellowship; now we view fellowship as the gateway to conversion."
The earliest church had believers and seekers together in their services. In
That text tells me two principles that biblical churches will follow. First, Expect seekers to attend church. Look for it, anticipate it. If the church is doing what a church should do, it should be the natural, normal reality to have people in the services who are still trying to figure out Jesus. They're curious about what we believe, attracted to what we believe, but they haven't crossed that line yet.
Second principle for a biblical church: Be sensitive to seekers who attend your church. In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul didn't say that speaking in tongues was a foolish act, but that it appeared foolish to nonbelievers. Notice that he actually wanted to change the way they worshipped out of sensitivity to seekers. He said, "While you worship, pay attention to the fact that you've got nonbelievers with you. Speak God's Word in a way they can understand."
So, clearly, the earliest church adjusted themselves to seekers. At the same time, the aim of the earliest church was "that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature"
If the earliest church could be a place for reaching seekers and for building believers, I think we should be that kind of place, too.
We can be rescued from Either-Or Christianity. Next week we'll break their Second Commandment.
"Rescued from Either-Or Christianity" is a six-part series.
Your Friends Are Waiting! Join a Bible study class this Sunday, High Attendance Day, at 9:30 a.m., October 30. For more information, click on Herb's article at www.hillcrestaustin.org/#education.
Baptism and Communion is This Sunday. If you're ready to follow Jesus in baptism, contact me right away at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Craft Show! Don't miss this annual event! Friday and Saturday,
Kids Ultimate Pumpkin Party in the MPC this Monday, October 31, from
Support Our Troops. One of our own, Mike Pribble, is serving several months in Iraq. I just got this
Hurricane Heroes. Want to read a great article about Christian service to those impacted by Katrina and Rita? Go to www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/011/11.74.html. The article features our Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts. You'll be impressed and you'll want to keep up your service and support!
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