The time has come for us to take the Good News into the pubs and clubs says Bible teacher TOM BROCK.
Probably one of the most preached phrases in today's church is "Go into all the world". These are words that most of the Church has heard and preached since the times when Jesus first delivered them. We have set up training schools and programs to motivate members of the body to get up and do something with their faith.
An interesting thing has taken place over the last several years; we have a group of people that are trying to get out and among the people. They are trying to bring the light into the dark and present a positive image of Christianity. But strangely enough the "Church" is resisting them with vigorous restraint. Who is this group? It is the group of Christian bands and musicians who feel that they are called to bring the music that God has given them to the street, or should we say the pubs and clubs. How can this be? Could Jesus really want his people to go into these caverns of darkness and shine the light there?
This is something that we need to look at. Over the years there has been a growing group of believers who have heard this call. Many have run into walls of resistance as they have shared this with their church leaders. Many have been told that they are deceived and are giving in to the seduction of the world, and they need to pray and resist this temptation. What is the truth on this? Should we send our groups into this environment? Should we build a wall and keep this group from committing spiritual suicide? Is this something that God is doing? If it is God then how do we respond?
For the first time in a long time we have music that the people outside of the Church would be interested in hearing. We have groups that are getting some attention from the secular market and getting airplay as well. This could be the time to make our move. What could be better than taking a band that is committed to the cause of presenting Jesus as the answer to life and injecting them into what is a target rich environment? This doesn't mean that they come in and begin to sing our church praise and worship songs. It means that they do their home work and find songs that relate and are recognisable to the people they are singing to. They need to be a witness in their actions by being touchable and accessible and relatable to the people who are there. Think about when Jesus was on the earth. We know that at least a couple of times he attended parties on what could be listed as a secular level. He went among the people and sat with them and ate with them. He was on their turf. Where do you see in the Bible Jesus asking the non-believer to come to the church meeting? You don't. You see him walking among them and going to their place of gathering. When they saw him they were touched by his heart towards them and then they wanted to be with him.
In the programme of our churches today, the first thing we present to people is, "You need to believe what we believe." Next we tell them, "You need to behave like we behave." If you believe and you behave then and only then you do get to "belong to what we belong to." This is just the opposite of what Jesus offered. He went to the guys at the beach and said come and belong to me. He went to the place of business and said the same thing. In turn those who heard him left what they were doing and followed him. Later Jesus asked them "Who do people say that I am?" They answered him saying, "Some say a prophet, Elijah, or John the Baptist." Then he asked, "Who do you say that I am?" and they answered, "You are the Christ." By belonging to him they then believed in him. We know that it took even longer for them to learn to behave like him. I'm not sure that should be our main focus in the Church, because I'm not sure we have the behave thing down yet. Maybe we should focus on the belonging and believing part and let him clean us up as we go.
We can also see that Jesus said that he was sending us as he was sent. Maybe this idea of going among the un-churched isn't such a bad idea. Is it dangerous? Yes. Could they get taken out? Yes. Could they make a mistake and be taken in or even turn to the "dark side"? Yes. That is why we need to focus on what is the real important issue here. How do we cover and protect those who are going to go into these situations? Instead of fighting them and resisting the call of God on their lives, maybe we should equip them and cover them. Maybe we should stand with them so they know that they are not alone in the mission field. Give them a place of accountability and safety so they can find shelter when necessary.
We have people who can do this; we have "fathers" in the music ministry who have felt this in their hearts. Some have even tried going in to the pubs and clubs and been rejected by the religious and know the heartbreak of the attack. Many have lain down the vision because the fight was too furious, others just left the Church because of the judgmentalism. Still others have just been waiting for the body to grow up and accept the direction that the Lord was bringing about. I think it is time that we draw on our resources and then mobilise our troops to take the land that is before us.
Recently I was discussing this issue with Simon Trundle, a pastor friend of mine. He and his wife Bernie are involved with several music groups, one being the Irish minstrel Brian Houston. Brian feels that he is called to minister in the mainstream in his home town of Belfast. He is also open to going where the door is open around the world. The Trundles have seen him minister in the church and in the mainstream. He is effective in both arenas. What do we do? How about sending him out from the body and supporting his attempt to reach the un-churched? Why not have a fellowship that would cover this group of people that feel that God is calling them into this area? Why not mobilise those who have tried and made mistakes and those who have done it effectively and give them a platform to speak into this group? Give them fathers to look up to, who understand their hearts. This is part of the plan that will be taking place up in the Northampton area of England. The Trundles are opening their ministry to embrace and adopt those who feel this is the direction for them. Not only will they be teaching and covering, they are in the process of setting up a venue at a local pub for the bands to play at. It is part of the overall plan to reach the people of their area. They are calling it The Band Wagon. Hopefully this will be the first of many opportunities that will open up there and around the country. We are also planning a similar ministry in California. We see this as a worldwide need. We have met groups in South Africa, Germany, Switzerland and the US who are asking is there a place for them in the body? The answer is yes. We need to call out the fathers and inject them into the lives of the sons and daughters in need.
There is a lot of work that needs to be done here. We need to break down the fear of the Church to be among the un-churched. We need to follow the Great Commission (note; it is not the great suggestion) and reach those who are in need. We need to break down preconceived ideas of evangelism and touch people where they are. We need to cover, protect and enable those who have the vision to go, just like Jesus said to do. We can do this; maybe it's time we tried.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
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