"You can't do that in here!"
What should our church be?
"Oh, you can't do THAT at church."
"You're having a JUGGLER at your CHURCH?!?"
There is a lot of talk about what church should and should not be. "Should we have this music, or should we have this other kind of music?" "Should kids attend the main service with their parents, or is a children's church best?" "Can a church have an entertainer as a drawing factor to get people into a new church facility in their neighborhood?"
Well, I hear questions like that all of the time while I am on the road. My answer would be this: Is the Gospel being presented? If it is, then these questions become external, legalistic details. For example, the Bible does not say that a kid should hear the Gospel in the main service. Let's face it, a kid can hear the Gospel from his parents, his friends, in children's church, at kid's club, from a song on the radio, in Sunday school, and "YES", even from a juggler like me.
The crucial question is not HOW he hears the Gospel, but THAT HE HEARS IT. Period.
No matter how much we might hope for it, your neighbor may never show up at your church to hear a guest pastor speak, to listen to a Gospel quartet sing, or to hear the missionary report from Uruguay. But they may come out of their comfort zone to see what they believe will be a fun time with their family at an entertainment show. Then, when they are comfortable with me as an entertainer, I can then present the message in a way that is comfortable, but hits them straight where they're at.
Jesus told parables. Jesus spoke directly to someone's sin. Jesus stood quietly. Jesus overturned the tables in the temple. Jesus used various ways to share His message, and I know that I can use the situations that God has given me to share Jesus' message also.
I love the opportunities that I have had to sit down, face to face at a table with someone and talk about the Gospel. But those times don't happen as often as I'd like? So, it is important to take advantage of every moment and opportunity that God lays before us to share his Good News. That means that whether you are a doctor, a house wife, a plumber or a teacher, God will bring people into your life that need to hear the Gospel in a friendly way. My challenge is to be ready in all circumstances to share the faith and hope you have.
1 Peter 3:15 says, "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,..." NIV
Notice the "with gentleness and respect" part. Through my programs, I believe that God has led me to a place where I can present the Gospel with "gentleness and respect". Let me be straight: I am not soft on sin, nor am I a respecter of persons. But sharing the Gospel does not have to come at people like a punch to the face. The Gospel is a Gospel of love, not a Gospel of hate and forcefulness. We don't have to shove it down the throats of everyone we meet, but when God brings someone into our lives that needs to hear the truth, we had better be ready to tell it to them. Not watered down, not lovey-dovey feel-good stuff. But the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
So, what is important?
Who is God? Who are we? What is sin? Who is Jesus? What does His death and resurrection mean for us? These are the questions that need to be answered when someone asks us about that truth we have within us.
Skip the denominational stuff. Skip the stereotypical televangelist stuff. Skip the contemporary/traditional debate. Skip the legal-eze, and share the Gospel, the WHOLE Gospel, and nothing but the Gospel.
Preacher Don, checking out of the pulpit now.