When do you know you have you gone too far in advertising to the world? How about when your advertisement reads, ‘Where will you find him?’ and shows the image to the right.
Every church will come to a point where it struggles with the question of quality over quantity. To phrase it a different way, each church will have to decide how much emphasis should be placed on the people that are currently attending and how much it should put on getting more baby Christians or those that are not Christian to attend.
For me, I first ran into this question in my high school youth group. Each of the different Youth Pastors of my church took the opposite end of the spectrum when it came to this question. The youth pastor I was under was of the variety that he believed that he would like as many young people to come. This philosophy hinges on the concept that if we can get people (in this case teens) to come to a youth group that they were not threatened by then they would be able to hear the Word of God and possibly get saved. Since they can’t get saved without hearing the message, the logic goes, the more that hear the better.
This is where this advertisement gets its logic. This church believes that if they can bridge the gap between those that are unchurched by reaching out to familiar things–indeed, by saying that God can be found even in a bar!– then they might get more people to try their church.
The other side of this argument says that we want to build strong Christians that will be able to impact others. The current youth pastor at my former church falls more into this camp. My current church is more focused this way was well. The logic behind this paradigm is that if Christians are stronger, they’ll be bolder, they’ll reach their friends and then the church will grow because of the fact that people will see what they are missing, want it, and will come looking for it.
Along with this approach is the concept that the church is a place for edification more than evangelization, and that the church’s business is to train godly people. If the preacher has to keep hitting salvation messages every week, how will those babes in Christ grow? The idea here would be to work with the saved to actually reach out to their communities outside of church, and let the Holy Spirit work one on one in the mundane, everyday places. Then, after they are saved (or close) bring them to the church.
I’m much more with this camp. I don’t think that we’re making enough one on one contact, and I think that we tend to believe (or act like we believe) that witnessing is the pastor’s job or something that should be going on at the church. If we were to do more one on one, and hold Bible studies in our homes (some place that’s not as intimidating as a church) then we might see more people reached with the gospel.
The problem with the evangelistic church mind-set is that it’s hard to grow the people in the church to the point that they can reproduce others.