“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. – Matthew 5:15
To be a Christian means to stand in witness for Christ. All of us, no matter our background, are called to share the Good News with the people of our world (Mark 16:15). It’s a huge responsibility, a great honor, and a noble calling. Unfortunately, Christians aren’t always skillful when it comes to sharing the gospel. With all the changes taking place in modern society, many believers are questioning the Church’s effectiveness in leading others to Christ.
Ed Stetzer is one such Christian. In a recent column for Christianity Today, Stetzer proposed that churches needed to change their methods if they wanted to continue reaching communities. As an example, he pointed to the use of pathways,
Consider How to Use Pathways
Pathways transitions people away from apathy into groups where they’ll provoke one another to love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24). We need to help people live as agents of God’s mission. Sometimes you have to stop doing good things to do the best things. That’s always a hard call, especially for churches. Churches that refuse to budge on inerrancy of Scripture should be commended. Churches that confuse inerrancy with methodology should be corrected.
That tendency can be applied to aspects of ministry that have outlived their usefulness. We need clearer systems and processes that lead people from passivity to activity in involvement in the mission of God and serving one another.
Whitney Hopler, another voice on Christian transformation, takes a more introspective approach. She advises Christians to change their attitude on worship, which she believes has grown stale over the years. She writes,
Receive the Gift of Worship Gratefully
“Since it’s only through God’s love and power that you and the others in your church can offer yourselves as living sacrifices to God through worship and experience the profound blessings of encountering God through worship, be thankful. Keep in mind that gratitude is the foundation of worship as a church community.”
Finally, Nick Hall, the founder of PULSE and author of Reset, believes we all need to be more like Jesus. Too often the gospel becomes entangled in politics, social issues, or personal egos. Jesus, on the other hand, was concerned about people, and that meant stepping into life’s messes. In a section of Reset he states,
Put Others above Yourself
“If we spend time with Jesus, then we will naturally be driven to do the things that Jesus did. In other words, if you tell me you’re hanging out with Jesus every day and yet there is no desire in your life to share your faith, or love those he gave his life for, then we should probably dig a little deeper to find out what version of Jesus we are talking about.”
The gospel message will never change, but as Ed Stetzer suggested earlier, perhaps its methods should. We live in a culture which views the Church with increasing fear and suspicion, and the old systems of ministry are no longer working. If we continue to hold on to bad strategies, the strength of evangelism will only weaken. Now is the time to let our lights shine, so let us renew our efforts to share the Good News with all people.
What about you? Do you believe the Church needs to change its methods? Be sure to leave a comment in the space below.
**Ryan Duncan is the Editor of Crosswalk.com