Monday, April 16, 2012

Sinners in the Church: What Should We Do?

The preacher made an important statement in Church yesterday morning.  He said that most of what passes for evangelism nowadays is simply shifting sheep from one pasture to another.  It sounds kinda like the competition between the football teams when the college players get drafted.  After their initial contract is up they become a free agent and they are up for grabs again.  If people visit our congregation they may be free agents and we might be able to get them for a while.

Some years ago the big focus of many churches was an annual  event called a revival meeting.  Revivals lasted at least a week, sometimes two.  They usually got a good preacher from far away and some top musicians to draw a big crowd.  The church members had to pull together to invite people, act as ushers, feed the preachers, and clean up after the service.  

Hopefully, in the congregation, their would be some people who had never been a member of any church, maybe even people who were known to be imbibers or other obvious sins.  The goal was to impress on these citizens the error of their ways and draw them into the kind embrace of the church where they would find salvation and healing for their soul.  At the same time, the members who came regularly got a good dose of repentance, too.

Revivals are not a popular activity anymore.  I'm not sure why.  There are still sinners who need the message of salvation.  There are still church members who need to be revived.  There are still churches with sagging attendance which could benefit from some jump-starts in the ranks.  Even the preachers need a challenge from the visiting preacher who holds the revival.   

Revivals in years gone by had lasting consequences on congregations and communities.  People were saved when the message of salvation was preached to people who had not been inoculated by Sunday school's gentle wooing.  The message of Jesus and the eternal destiny of the soul requires a response from every individual.  Maybe it's time to replace the rock concert with a revival.  Think about it.  I have. 

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