In several places recently I have read criticism against the Church for its lack of discipleship and its heart for those outside the church. One writer suggested that many people within the church, comfortable within the pew, are not interested in the next generation. It is thought that they do not want to share the Gospel or the doctrines of the Christian Faith with younger people. He went on to suggest that some of it was because the older people themselves were lacking in their knowledge of the Gospel and consequently have introduced few people to the Faith.
I do not have enough information or knowledge to agree or disagree with the premise of these arguments but I am concerned regarding one aspect of the Church’s role in presenting the Gospel to the “un-churched” as they are prone to be called.
It has been a number of years since the idea of being “seeker sensitive” was first broached. Since then, literally thousands of churches have adopted the concept that change in program and methodology was necessary to entice people into the pews. To some great degree it worked. Many un-churched people found themselves attending a Saturday night, or an up-beat Sunday morning, program in church.
The second step was to get them to accept the message of the church which, of course, is the Gospel. This is where it got tricky. These people were unused to straight from the shoulder unabashed biblical preaching so the impact has to be lessened. The only way to do that was to present a God who is all love and a Gospel which calls for little or no sacrifice. In other words, the Gospel was somewhat imbalanced or incomplete which, in essence, means it was compromised. It became palatable and acceptable, but incomplete nonetheless.
So what do we have now? We have many people who definitely found their way into the Kingdom and through their own initiative and devices have grown in the Faith. On the other hand we have thousands of people who “said a prayer” and maybe were brought into the Kingdom, but have experienced little or no spiritual growth, or worse still, are unsure of the reality of their faith.
So maybe we, as the Church, have fallen down on our discipleship or perhaps offered a weak Gospel. I believe it is time for the Church to get back to preaching “the whole counsel of God” by presenting unashamed theological doctrine giving us in the pew no excuse for not being able to share the real Gospel to the next generation.