A digital commonplace for a Regular Guy called Charlie Pharis

Category: Evangelism (page 1 of 1)

The Barn…

(Image via flickr.com/mytimemachine)

Ed Stetzer has some thoughts on the evolution of the Church Growth Movement. This quote grabbed me early this morning…

The church can never become the place where I live, work, and play. My neighborhood is where real people live. I am not sent by God to a church facility, ever how convenient and impressive it may be. I am sent away from the church gathered to my tribe and household with the Good News of the Gospel. That is where transformational movements take place that engage every man, woman, and child with the Gospel. So, too many in church growth focused on the barn, rather than how we might live on mission among the white fields. When focusing too much on the barn, we sometimes forget that the wheat will not harvest itself.

I’m living and leading in such a context right now.

(OK, not leading so much. There, I said it….)

Not Really Ready, Am I?

Went with the lovely and gracious “Mrs. Just Charlie” to our favorite little Eye-talian place for lunch today. (I had just talked about getting back to the basics of church, and how the mission of Jesus to seek and save the lost must be our driving passion, etc.).

So we pull up to Provino’s and there they were, in all their redneck-hip-hop-wannabe glory: about four guys and a girl,  all of whom appeared to be in their early 20s. Standing right outside the door, smoking, swilling Budweiser longnecks.

My first reaction was something like…

Crap! Why can’t they move it somewhere else so I can get in the door?

We went around this crew and headed in for lunch. Well, it gets better. As soon as we were seated, that whole crew came in and joined another very similar crowd at a large table across the room from us.

Another young woman joined them shortly, and it became apparent that this whole bunch was celebrating the first young woman’s birthday. (Or that they were continuing to celebrate her birthday might be more like it!)

I’d like to think that the language they were using would be offensive to the young woman (with the obligatory and very evident tramp stamp), but since she was the loudest and most obnoxious, I guess not.

Every third word from her mouth began with “f” and ended with “-kin'” and there was no “rea” in between. I had almost had all I could stand when she made this comment…

S**t! I was so f**kin’ messed up, I f**kin’ woke up with nothin’ but my f**kin’ bikini top on, and my f**kin’ bottle of Everclear was f**kin’ gone!

The rest of the table laughed and commented favorably.

And that’s when it hit me. Or I should say, that’s when He hit me. Right in the face. Hard.

My buddy, Gary Lamb, often says that most pastors who say they want to reach the unchurched really don’t want to, they just want to have cool, different ways of doing church for the already-convinced.

I know he’s right, but it hit home in a big way this afternoon over a plate of manicotti and garlic rolls.

I am not really ready to advance the Kingdom. I’m not really ready to storm the gates of hell and rescue people who are far from God. I’m good with nice, decent folks who just don’t go to church. But there were people, loved by God, created and designed by Him for a great purpose, people for whom Jesus lived and died, people being passionately pursued by God, and I couldn’t handle them. My anger and discomfort soon turned to great shame and I wept over my last bit of manicotti. Sitting right there in the restaurant, I wept over people far from God, and over my lack of passion for them.

God, help me see those who are far from You as You see them. Give me patience for the things I don’t like so I can have a passion for those You love. Help me be ready next time…

Wow. Just Wow. Un-freakin’-believable…

Here are some things I bet you pastor/preacher types out there weren’t aware of, until John Killinger said so, in a presentation today in Memphis…

  • Doctrine is a “thing of the past.”
  • Pastors are reluctant to preach from the Gospel of John, preferring instead to focus on the “human” side of Jesus found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
  • We need to be “a little less certain” about who Jesus was and what he was all about.
  • Jesus did not conceive of Himself as the Savior of the world and may not have viewed Himself a sacrifice at all until the crucifixion.
  • Salvation is more about “self-fulfillment and love” than any pesky old doctrine.
  • Daniel lied.


Guess we all need to be “re-evaluating” our stance in light of this “advanced” understanding of the gospel and its ramifications.