Let me open the curtain and let you look in today. As a pastor, one of the things that are all ways on our minds is “how do we reach more people”? Reaching people and Church Growth is something that we think about almost every moment of every day. I think about how I can reach people in my sleep most nights and think about it must of the day. With this thought in mind, there have been so many fades that have come into the church over the years. With each of those fades, we see the church swell, but like any swelling, in your body, the swelling sooner or later goes back down. The same is true in the church. A fade will only keep people until a better fade comes along. Now do not get me wrong; many good things have come out of fades, which has helped us. I mean the attractional church model that has to seem to have reached the crest of success and is now coming to an end taught us that we should be concerned with the unbelievers that come into our church. The problem with the model is that when we focus only on unbelievers, then we fail to disciple the believers that are sitting in our church. We fail to go deeper in our understanding of God’s worship or to enter in a deeper place of worship out of fear that the unbeliever will feel uncomfortable. The truth is that a church that is genuinely flowing in the Holy Ghost should be somewhat uncomfortable to the sinner because conviction is uncomfortable. We have to realize that anytime the church focuses on one group at the expense of another group, it causes us to be dysfunctional.
The truth is if you look at the study of younger people that are looking into the church, they are now looking for passion over polish. They want to come to a church where people have authenticity with what they believe. The world doesn’t need more lights, fog machines, and a new coffee bar that serve the best Columbian coffee and homemade donuts. Not that any this is wrong with any of those things, but if they are the drawing point of the church, then the church has a problem. What people are in search of is a connection with God and people. They seek transformation over information because they want their life to have meaning, and they come to church knowing that for that to happen, there must be a change. I mean why would I waste my time coming to a church where the people do not live out what they preach and where I see the difference in their life is no different than the change in the people of the world. People want to see that the people of the church believe and live what they declare to be true. The day of shallow worship and motivational preaching has come to an end. What the world needs, and I believe is looking for is a church that is operating in the fullness of the Holy Ghost.
In Mark 6, Luke 9, and Matthew 10, we find a great example of what the world is looking for from a church. In the three texts, Jesus sends the disciples out for the first time on their own. He gives them two assignments. First, preach the kingdom of heaven to the people. Now the kingdom of heaven message is that fact that Jesus is the Messiah and He has come to save those that are lost in their sins. Second, Jesus tells them to do miracles. In Matthew, He says to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast our demons. If you notice Jesus did not tell them to pray for these people, but He says them to take action over the things that they need. This is what the world today is looking for out of the church. We are supposed to preach the kingdom of God. We are supposed, to preach the truth about Jesus whether it is popular or not. The only message that the church is to have is the message of the Kingdom. When we preach the Word of the Kingdom, it brings us the presence of God. John said, “the word was made flesh” which means when we declare the Word, Jesus is present. Now the truth is that many churches are preaching the Word of God, and many in the church would say they love good preaching. The problem with that we are having little to no impact on the culture that we live in. So why not? Because the second thing that Jesus told them to do was to operate in the power of God. They rejoiced because demons were subject unto them. You see hearing the Word will bring presence, but when we do the Word, and we obey it and live it out, there is power that comes into our life. Remember the Holy Ghost had not yet come to the disciples. So how did they do these miracles? They did them with the presence of Jesus because they were obedient. When we live in obedience, the Holy Ghost empowers us to do signs and wonders.
Now in Mark 6, it says that the crowd was so great that Jesus and the disciples did not have time to rest or even eat. Now think about that for a minute. Without any advertising, without social media or a great website, these men were overwhelmed with the crowd only because there was power in the message that they preached. Could it be that the true attractional church is one where the Holy Ghost I operating in fullness? Could it be that the true attractional church is one where anything can happen on any given Sunday? If we would allow the Holy Spirit to operate in the church and we would walk out of faith and live out what we preach then people would be drawn to it because God would respond with power and might.