Summary: Five myths commonly believed about the unchurched.
God’s Glorious Church
Shattering Myths About The Unchurched: Part Two
Woodlawn Baptist Church
February 27, 2005
Tonight I am going to finish a message I began a couple of weeks ago, called Shattering Myths About The Unchurched. If you were here, you should remember that in our text Jesus had gone into Samaria, where He met with the woman at the well while His disciples went into town to buy lunch. The disciples were appalled at His speaking and interacting with this sinful half-breed woman, and although they didn’t dare say anything to Jesus about what they thought, He knew their minds. He told them in John 4:35,
“Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”
The disciples had failed to see the harvest in town, and they failed to see it at the well. Whether we realize it or not, each of us has certain preconceived ideas about the unchurched that invariably cause us to construct walls of separation from the very people God has sent us into the world to reach. We cannot see the unchurched because they don’t fit the mold. Sometimes the walls we erect are sinful in nature, and other times they are simply built on faulty notions, but Jesus challenged us to lift our eyes to see those who were in need of a relationship with God and to answer the call to join in the harvest.
In the first message, I shared four of nine myths that are commonly held by churched people about those who are unchurched. We can be guilty of treating the unchurched as though they all think and act like middle-class white people, which we know to be untrue. While being distinctly Missionary Baptist, we can relax and know that most people aren’t as concerned about the name on our sign as they are about how we will respond to them once they come to our church. Sometimes we treat the unchurched as though they are completely ignorant about church, and we can wrongly believe that direct personal evangelism will not work when it is in fact one of the most powerful tools God gives us to reach those who are strangers to Him.
As I give you these other five myths, I want to ask you to open your hearts and lift up your mind’s eye to see those things God may be speaking to you about. Have you accepted these myths? And as you hear them, will you be willing to let God change your heart? I pray that you will.
Myth #5: The Pastor Must Be a Dynamic and Charismatic Leader for Our Church to Reach the Unchurched
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the pastor is an important element in reaching the unchurched. He must be a capable preacher and teacher, and he must demonstrate a life of faith and love to those with whom he interacts. He must model godly behavior and a Christian attitude about life. He must be many things, but to say that the pastor must be dynamic and charismatic in order for us to reach the unchurched would be faulty thinking.
I know we are living in a day when people can turn on the television or radio and find very inspirational preachers. You can hear the likes of Tony Evans or Adrian Rogers. Some of you have told me you listen to Joel Osteen, or perhaps John McArthur, and as I listen to them, I have to admit that there are times when I wish I could be more like them. They are some of the truly dynamic and charismatic pastors of our day, and there are many others like them.
I have found that occasionally a church member will say something like, “You know, if our pastor was this or that, I believe our church would grow.” “If our pastor was more out there, we could reach more people.” I usually hear members of other churches say these things about their pastors, but I know that every church has those kinds of members.
Is it true? Is it true that your pastor must be dynamic and charismatic in order for our church to reach the unchurched? Not at all! In fact, if that were the case, then we could rightly say that since God knows best, He would only call men to preach who were dynamic and charismatic. We know that He didn’t though. Some of us are not dynamic and charismatic. But listen, the pastor’s personal traits, while important, are not the overarching reason for the success or failure to reach the unchurched. The pastor must simply be himself, using faithfully the gifts God has given to him, and while he is being real, so must the church be.