“Go ye into all the World & sell the Church…”

What is the internet?  I am sure many folks with more technical savvy than me would have one answer while marketing folks might have yet another answer, but in simple terms (which is all I understand) the internet is communication.  It is yet another means of communicating messages, whether it be with the intention of dispersing information, linking socially or marketing.  And so how is this relatively new method of communication being used by the Church?  Surely it has been grasped in the vice-like grips of the modern Christian minister and used to its’ full potential in spreading the message we have been commanded to spread, that being repentance and the forgiveness of sins… right?  Sadly, no.

Before going any further, I would challenge you the reader to perform an online search for churches in your local area.  Click on a few websites and look at the material that is being presented.  Go ahead… I’ll wait.  Done?  As I am sure you noticed, modern churches are utilizing the internet not to spread law and gospel, not to preach repentance and the forgiveness of sins, but to promote themselves!  They load their websites with music, video and articles all blatantly put forward as marketing for their individual church organization.  They use every marketing tactic known to man in order to assure the internet visitor that they are a good, fun, relevant, exciting church that is comfortable for all who come through the door.  The entire website has one aim… to sell the church.  They strive to sell the browser on visiting and becoming a regular attendee and maybe even a member someday.

Am I missing something?  I was sure the great commission was to, “Go ye therefore into all the world (the internet is great for that!) and preach the gospel” and I was equally sure that in Matthew 16 we are told that Christ will build His Church.  According to Scripture, we preach faithfully and He builds as He wills.  But the modern church has completely walked away from the commands of our Lord and decided that with some great graphics and a compelling presentation we can build His church better than He can!  “Sit over here, Jesus,” we are saying, “let me show you how we build organizations in the modern age of technology.  Didn’t you take any marketing classes?!?  Let me get you a book by Warren…”  This selling of the church  is dereliction of duty at best and apostasy at worst.

Recently I was honored by being allowed to assist in setting up a website for a local church that wanted to use the internet to preach the Gospel to the local area (visit site HERE).  The primary purpose of the site is to faithfully preach the message our Lord told us to preach.  Church contact information is on the website for those who wish to make contact, but it is plainly not the focus of the site.  So my question is this: Why is this the only church website I have ever seen that has the gospel message as the primary message of the site?  The internet is simply another means of communication.  Do we believe that our Lord Jesus is so out-of-touch with modern technology and the mindset of those that use it that we must change our message, tactics and delivery in order to compensate for His 2000 year-old commands?

I am asking those who read this to consider these things, and then to take action.  Use whatever influence you may have with the local pastor(s) and encourage them to begin using their resources in the way their Lord commands.  If a pastor wants to set up a gospel-preaching website but is intimidated by the technology, try starting a site in blog-format and set it up at the user-friendly wordpress.com.  If you need help, I would be more than happy to provide advice and assistance in helping in the formation of a new evangelism-focused church site (I would consider it an honor).  Google Adwords also has some great resources in getting the gospel message of the site in front of people in your local area.  Folks, we have no authority to change the content of the message, regardless of the technology used in delivering it.  Twenty years from now we may have floating holographic billboards levitating down the middle of our neighborhood streets.  If the church is faithful, we will be taking out advertising space on those floating billboards and boldly proclaiming repentance and the forgiveness of sins.

, , ,

Subscribe

Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

8 Comments on ““Go ye into all the World & sell the Church…””

  1. Dean Seddon Says:

    Hi Church Salt,

    Thanks for your feedback. I would agree with you church is purely a means of building up believers and reaching the lost. Much of what church does is nothing to do with either and is more about programmes and activities.

    I do support alot of the purpose driven stuff, however, only along the guidelines of the Great Commission. With every teaching you have to weigh it up and discern the good from the bad.

    The church should not be selling itself for its own purpose or to satisfy an ego of a leader. Every large church should be a product of the Gospel’s success. I believe in large churches or growing churches, if the church is not growing, then the Gospel is not being preached.

    Whether it is in church services or on the streets, the Gospel must be preached, but we must ensure we do use straight forward language and ensure that truth is delivered.

    I agree that many use Rick Warrens material because they want a bigger church. My passion is not for a bigger church, but for an expansion of God’s kingdom.

    Much of what happens today in church is not conforming to the Biblical pattern, some which is cultural, others which are just tradition. Tradition for traditions sake is not right and anything which directly goes against scripture is wrong.

    Regarding the Discipleship and Conversion comments, at what point did Peter go from a conversion to a disciple? If you look closely you will see Peter’s outward revelation of Christ happened after he had spent a considerable time with Christ. Jesus was already teaching him before Peter understood Jesus was the Christ.

    If church is not following the great commission, then it serves no purpose. If church is preaching the Gospel in truth, however they do it, whether it through public meetings, one to one or on the streets I don’t think it really matters.

    Bless you Bro, enjoy your blog.

    Dean
    http://www.deanseddon.co.uk

    Reply

  2. deanseddonuk Says:

    I hate to disagree, but I would like to help bring some balance to this, feel free to disagree. Our command is to make disciples, so much of what is described as preaching the Gospel is not structured with this in mind. Making disciples is very different from getting decisions.

    Churches promoting their services, events or messages are a means to start people on a journey of discipleship. I am not saying some churches have not gone too far in promoting a pastor or a church as an end in itself, but we must build meaningful relationships with people in order to take them on a journey into faith.

    In Acts it talks about many people making decisions after being preached to our healed, thousands added to the church. The church is the assembly of Gods people.

    I find the scripture “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not stand against it” a very interesting scripture. Literally it means, Jesus will build His people and the schemes, leadership of Hell will not prevail against it. Jesus builds, the church overcomes.

    We are not called to build our own church empires, but we must responsiblty preach the Gospel and as Matthew 28 says Teach people to obey everything Jesus has commanded. This means we have to develop a long term relationship with people beyond a once in a lifetime encounter. I have seen some people ‘preaching the gospel’ but in fact have been selling a prayer. A prayer wont save anyone, emotional appeals wont save anyone, confronting people about hell (use of fear) wont save anyone.

    What saves people is this, a deep revelation that Jesus is Lord, the persons need for a saviour and to have a right relationship with God. It’s important to get people into an environment that creates the atmosphere and provides teaching which makes this process more likely (after all, its up to God and the Holy Spirit regarding a persons salvation).

    If you choose to preach inthe street or promote a church which preaches the gospel, it doesn’t matter, it just matters that be make disciples and not decisions.

    I would advocate every church to advertise their church and their services, where non believers can attend, hear about Jesus and there is a process for that person to discover Jesus more fully and embark on a life of being a disciple of Christ.

    Any church leader should concerned about how many people are in the church; how many are non christians, as if we are preaching week in and week out to believers there is something wrong.

    In our modern day culture, i feel advertising a ‘place’ where people can hear the Truth is more effective than alot of evangelism methods as people can be put off by in your face outreach as we can look like extremist group or cult.

    The crucial point, however you choose to share themessage, is that we are making Disciples,

    Dean
    http://www.deanseddon.co.uk

    Reply

    • ChurchSalt Says:

      Hey Dean!
      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. You bring up a lot of good points. Here are some of my thoughts:

      (1) You mention the mass conversion in Acts (following Peter’s sermon). Did Peter “make disciples” before or after preaching sin, repentance and belief, and witnessing their conversion? The new Christians were added to the church after they had come to Christ. This isn’t just Peter’s style, it is the style of every biblical preacher. Can you point to a single instance of an invitation to gather coming before a conversion? I can point to Corinthians where those who had proven they weren’t truly saved being kicked out of the church so as not to have a “little leaven in the lump”. If Scripture makes it clear unbelievers in the church are a bad thing, why do we feel as though we have the right to override the written Word? I am not saying we put up a fence with a “No Sinners Allowed” sign. A church should have a plan in place when someone visits, make sure they are greeted in a warm, friendly way and they receive the gospel message. In your response, I noticed you stated we should be discipling “people”. No, we shouldn’t! We are to go into every nation preaching repentance and the forgiveness of sins and then discipling those who our Lord saves. To disciple (to teach, illustrate, etc) a lost person is to teach them obedience when they have not yet been made into a new creature. It is an effort in teaching goats to act like sheep! Changed lives are great, but they don’t save anybody. We should present the Gospel, and invite those who are saved into the assembly to begin discipling. That is the biblical model, and I do not see where we have the authority (or wisdom) to change it.

      (2) You state in your comments that new folks who come to churches focused on growth are presented the Gospel by their new friends in a loving manner. I know what I am about to say will be opposite your view, but… no, they aren’t. I have a habit of asking folks I meet (waitresses, coworkers, etc) who have external signs of christianity such as cross necklaces, bumper stickers (or whatever) a question. I ask them, “Can you tell me what the gospel is? If I asked you how I can be saved, what can you tell me?” Only once has somebody given me the gospel. Every single other person gives me an answer very much like your comment. “You need to come to church…get plugged in… get a christian circle” etc. Upon further discussion, they don’t know anything at all about the guilt of sin, atonement, propitiation, fruit of repentance. None of it! And no, I don’t use those theological terms in discussion, I use everyday language. The fruit of the “Purpose Driven” church is people whose driven purpose is to make the church bigger. That is the real fruit on the ground. Church growth methods bring church growth… but not salvation.

      (3) I noticed in your comments a lot of Rick Warren influence, and when I clicked over to your website, this was confirmed. Have you ever listened to a solid biblical critique of Warren and his methods with Bible in hand? I would highly suggest you take the time to do so. If you want, you can click HERE to listen to an MP3 regarding the seminar program he uses in teaching Purpose Driven techniques. Phil Johnson and Chris Rosebrough recently did a discussion regarding Warrens interview with John Piper as well (although I am not going to get into that mess right now) that I think you would find interesting.

      I wish I had more time to write, but I don’t (not right now, at least). Please know that I greatly appreciate the dialogue, and I hope you in no way find my response offensive. I tend to write and speak in a fairly straight-forward manner, but do not mean it as a personal attack, and I hope it isn’t taken as such.

      Thanks again for stopping by!

      Reply

  3. Lynne Says:

    Thank you for the insight…I will google “Modern reformation” to check out & will continue to find out more.may Godbless!

    Reply

  4. Lynne Says:

    Bye the way…wanted to ask you & associates have you heard of Radical by Platt. I’m sending email links I have & hope you’ll prayerfully consider. I believe I’ve been greatly blessed through them!

    Read 1st chapter free…I think its amazing!

    http://www.radicalthebook.com/home.html

    Listen or watch online regarding this!

    http://www.brookhills.org/media/series/radical/v49

    Reply

    • ChurchSalt Says:

      Hey Lynne,
      I have heard a few people say they really liked “Radical”, but then I also read a review of it in “Modern Reformation” stating that it mixes law and Gospel, even calling people to “live the gospel” rather than preach it. I haven’t read the book myself, so I really can’t comment. If I were to read it I would definitely keep an eye out for law/gospel confusion, as that is one of the most common errors today and because the guys at “Modern Reformation” are usually quite discerning. When you are done reading the whole thing, let me know what you think. By all accounts, the first half of the book is supposed to be great.

      Reply

  5. Lynne Says:

    I shared links on Facebook page b/c many networks there.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: