How dangerous is it to spread the Gospel? When you think about spreading the Gospel, sharing God’s love with a world that does not know it, it does not seem like something that should be dangerous.
And yet, Jesus tells his disciples:
“All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross, and follow me. All who want to save their lives will lose them. But all who lose their lives because of me will find them. Why would people gain the whole world but lose their lives? What will people give in exchange for their lives?…” (Matthew 16:24-26)
What am I willing to die for? What am I willing to change for? What I am willing to give for? My life is one thing, but my church is altogether a different thing, right?
Am I willing to give my church to follow Jesus Christ?
I know what you are likely thinking. How is the Gospel dangerous for your church? Should not the church and the Gospel go together?
I was trying to figure out what to write this week when Thom Rainer shared on his website, www.thomrainer.com, an excellent blog post, Seven Reasons Some Church Members Don’t Want Their Churches to Grow. Rainer writes:
So what is it about growth that impacts some members negatively? Let me suggest seven reasons.Loss of familiarity.Loss of memories.Loss of comfort.Loss of power.Loss of perceived intimacy.Loss of worship style.Loss of worship time.
I only gave you the headers to his seven reasons. Consider checking out his entire post to read the descriptions he gives for each. I think you see where he is going though. You may even find that one of the reasons connect to how you feel at times.
This past Sunday in church I made mention of another blog post that ties in really well to this idea. Carey Nieuwhof writes 7 Signs Your Church Is Making Inroads With the Unchurched posted at www.outreachmagazine.com.
Here is a quote that may scare you. He writes that if you are truly reaching the unchurched people, “Your church will simply not be the same anymore.”
He too uses the number seven and offers up these:
When you see these 7 signs pop up in your church, you will know that you are really making inroads with the unchurched:People Aren’t Singing Much During the ServiceLong Time Church People Are UnsettledIrregular Attendance is RegularYour Tidy Categories Are Falling ApartYou’re Getting Surprisingly Candid QuestionsEveryone’s Tolerance For Hypocrisy is PlummetingYou See Real Life-Change
“Again, I only gave you the headers to his seven signs. I think you see where he is going though. One last quote from his post:
“Unchurched people have really only one motive for being at church: they want to investigate Jesus. And when they do, its changes many—deeply.”
Sharing God’s love with people is not easy. It brings change in our own lives, and yes, it will bring change in the church you attend as well. It is a change and a giving that brings life to all who receive it:
“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Sharing God’s love is a good thing. No, sharing God’s love is a great thing!
(All scripture cited above from Common English Bible Copyright © 2011)