Posted by: everynation | December 24, 2008

Doobie Brothers & Evangelism

mike-watkinsby Mike Watkins

One of the most puzzling questions in my mind has always been, “Where did the attractional model of evangelism come from?” It you are not familiar with this it basically means that a particular church has a particular worship or cultural expression that makes non Christians get up early Sunday morning, drop what they are doing and go to church.

As for me I have always wanted to put nails on the road in front of the church and then offer free tire repair as an attractional method. However, there may be a few ethical problems with this approach.

Of course I am all for churches trying to remove those things that make it unnecessarily unattractive such as archaic styles, but is it reasonable or even biblical to expect that the main method of evangelism is to get people to church?

When I was a new Christian there was a great expectation and hope that if we as a church were to return to our origins as found in the Book of Acts then the world would hear the commotion, come and check us out and then fall to their knees. Revival would then ensue. After all, isn’t that what happened in Acts 2 when the church was filled with the Holy Spirit for the first time? Many people came as a result of this, Peter preached his famous message and 3000 people were saved that day. Now that is something to write about!

Well, let’s do some math here. There were 120 Christians praying in the upper room of a house, and God showed up in great power. Then we read that this move of God attracted a lot of people, but it is unclear how many people or where they gathered. Next there is a debate among the nonbelievers as to what just happened – how did they get in the upper room? Then Peter makes his move with a powerful message.

I firmly believe that God used Noah to carry pairs and sevens of all animal life on the Ark, but I do not see how the first church fit over 3000 people in the upper room. I don’t even believe that Peter preached from the window. At some moment on this great day I believe that Peter took the discourse to the streets or to the community, and this is where the church often falls short in its understanding of evangelism.

We may indeed experience great moves of God within our insulated Christian communities, but does the result of these experiences ever make it to the streets? I fear that the answer is very seldom.

The real attractional model is to go to where the people are and shine: the streets, the community, the workplace, the university. Don’t let the church building become a basket.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matt 5:14-16

Mike Watkins is a missionary, a fisher of men and the author of the blog “Simple Truths.”

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