Friday, October 19, 2007

You Know You've Been at the Wrong Church When...
(notes from "Camp Whattascam")

Ok. It was good while it lasted, but it's over. The tent is down, the organ is packed and the monkey has left the building. After evaluating our last church, we're done. Finished. Time to move on.

Wow!, you say. Yup. me too. It looked so good for quite a while and in a way it was. At least we got some people interested and involved in Biblical Evangelism. But the party appears to be over.

After giving us some marginal support, an "attaboy" and the customary "pat on the boom-boom", the pastor of our church has decided (no doubt via some of the founding members) that "if we are going to do evangelism, it's got to come from the SBC". Well after all, you know, we can't just go around mentioning that nasty word "repentance", now can we? Gotta fit in that "easy believism, get the numbers and prove it with tons of baptisms" methodology, don't 'cha know!

If you want to see the LifeWay "glitz machine" in action, go here. If you want to see the numbers game played out, go here.

Here's an evaluation I received via email. I couldn't agree more:

"It's not only about the numbers but what about the money?? Look below...(source)

You will experience the complete “semester of training” during a clinic and receive ALL of the teaching resources necessary to fully implement the first level FAITH in your church (to train your FAITH learners).. Clinic cost for the pastor ($325) provides all teaching resources, a sample of all training materials for your church, administrative resources, all clinic meals, snacks, and complete FAITH instruction. The fee for all others ($125) provides all the training, necessary FAITH learner resources, meals and snacks for the entire clinic. Housing can be provided by the host church at no additional cost, when requested in advance by the registrant.

Resources for those who participate in FAITH at your church (after the clinic), led by the pastor and team leaders, average around $25.00 per person.

Focus on prayer for God to work and to mobilize believers against Satan’s attack. Identify prospects for evangelism and ministry opportunities. After the pastor attends a FAITH training clinic with Sunday School leaders from your church, schedule a semester where each trained person mentors two new learners each. Endeavor to bring at least five people to a FAITH Training Clinic, each person representing one each of the age divisions of your Sunday School. Since only those persons who have been officially trained in FAITH can train someone else -- the more people you bring to a Clinic, the larger start you can have in the FAITH Sunday School Evangelism Strategy

And check this out...

A FAITH team consists of three people, always a man and woman on each team.

So, for each Sunday school class, you cannot have a class unless you have three trained people leading it. Where in the world do you think Faith Baptist will find that many people interested in doing that? Plus, if you have to have three people per class, look how many people you would have to register to take the clinic training. Even more money needed.

So, if you bring five people, plus the pastor, your church can pay them $950! to learn how to witness to people not using the words repentance or most likely using God's Law. At $25 per person for the resources (most likely just a workbook) it is a complete rip-off! But of course, they tell you to bring in even more people so you can make a greater impact in your church."


Me (Tim) again...

So, once again, human wisdom - 1, the sufficiency of scripture - 0. The old "If you want results you have to fork over the cash" mentality. Mind you, this is after we ran a highly successful "Way of the Master" class. But, again, it WOTM dares mention the "r" word. You don't get tons of baptisms (which serves as "proof of conversion" in modern evanjellyspeak) when you mention "repentance". You make the gate too narrow. The parable of the sower? Nah, Jesus had it all wrong. You give a message, then force the plant up and prop it up so you can show you "did something".

It's not enough to just teach people to use the ten commandments (included *Free* with each Bible!), you gotta fork over hundreds of dollars to pay a staff of three to teach you what you can read and apply from the Gospels (also included *Free* with each Bible).

$ = results
results = more "giving units" (oops, people) => more $.

Biblical evangelism, such as "Way of the Master" is about sowing seeds. It's not about visible results. The real gospel isn't about body counts. It also isn't about "my church", but rather about what Jesus did, and Jesus alone. Hopefully there will be a few people left there that can smell a gimmick before they get suckered.

This really doesn't surprise me. As Brian has been working hard to get cooperation from the local churches, they have basically never failed to "bail" when they learn it's about Jesus and not some particular church. So sad, really. "We're not interested in any revival we don't benefit from".

Nice motives, huh?

My prayer for our old church is that hopefully there will be a few people left there that can smell a gimmick. And this is a gimmick.

Do I rejoice over this? Of course not. It grieves me to see this. It's a tremendous waste of time and God's money. Is what I have to say out of bitterness? No, I really don't think so. This isn't a "gee, they wouldn't play the game my way so I'm packing my toys and going home". Not at all. Other issues were in play as well, which I won't go into detail here -- such as weak theology and a strong tolerance of marginal "Christianity". And using the word "marginal" is being very generous.

By contrast, I am thankful...very thankful to be a part of what may well become a new "work" in our town. We have a small group of believers who are totally dedicated to reaching the lost as Jesus did...and it appears that the Lord is giving an increase. There are lots of people out there that have given up on "church" because of contemporary evangelicalism. They can see what's going on and don't want to be a part of it.

Here's to obedience.

1 comment:

rpavich said...

Do you know what's the saddest thing of all?

True biblical evangelism is virtually free!

We spend TONS of money on programs, concerts, outreach events, and we just keep going at it and throwing the cash out the door, and NOBODY and I mean NOBODY at my church even batted an eyelash when I gave two WOTM classes...not one person would go witness with one decided to just "get out there and open their mouth" but we certainly will spend 60,000 on a concert to "attract the unchurched"....