Last week a mate of mine was telling me that his local parish church was so desperate to get people to cross the threshold that they’ve just launched ‘Bring Your Pet To Church Sunday’. Apparently preaching the gospel is not enough these days! Quite how Pet Sunday works logistically is anyone’s guess (though the mental image of a vicar darting between pews with a pooper-scooper is a funny one!) I’m seriously tempted to go along with Boaz, just to see what effect the addition of a 7stone canine freak into the mix would have! Joking aside, however, when churches are so empty, so powerless and so dead that they start pursuing your pets, you need to start asking questions.
While still reeling from the craziness of Pet evangelism, I came across this event advertised as part of an outreach campaign in another part of South Wales:
“Enjoy a good singsong with a pint in your hand! An informal and relaxed event, with NO preaching!”
I didn’t capitalise the the word ‘NO’ – the advertisers did that, I assume to reassure you that there’ll be no annoying preacher to put you off your pint! Now this isn’t a rant about whether or not it’s appropriate to have an outreach event that involves alcohol – that’s a whole other post! (I’m personally not bothered either way!) What this is about is asking the question to the Pet Shop Parish and the Preacherless Pint Posse – what’s wrong with the gospel?!!
1. To the Pet Shop Parish – If you faithfully preach the true gospel you won’t need to coax people in via their pets because the power of God will be unleashed in your midst to such an extent that people will be compelled to come:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. “ (Romans 1v16)
2. To the Preacherless Pint Posse – You are essentially putting on an event where there is a significantly higher chance that those in attendance will leave drunk and dead in their sins than saved and filled with the Spirit of God. That’s outrageous!!
NO preacher = NO salvation:
“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’…So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10v14, 15+17)
I am more convinced than ever that while the gospel alone is becoming increasingly uncool, unpopular and unacceptable – it is still all we need. We don’t need to add anything to it. We don’t need to replace it with something more culturally relevant or politically correct. We simply need to preach it faithfully, passionately and continually – then get ready for God to do His stuff! For what it’s worth, by God’s grace that’s all you’re ever going to get from my lips! So whether you turn up at Hill City Church with a pooch or a pint of Guinness – please know that all you’re ever going to get in return is the gospel, cos that’s all you truly need!
“Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1Corinthians 9v16)