This week on page 3 in the March 10, 2011 issue of the Alabama Baptist newspaper was an article entitled: “God's Plan for Sharing 2012 preparation under way, to focus on attractional events.”
Jerry Pipes, president of Jerry Pipes Productions states,”The way to reach across the state (Alabama) is through attractional events.” Not once in the entire article does it mention reaching out to the lost. Not once. So who is Mr. Pipes telling us to reach? Are we planning some media blitz to make God a mainstream fade? Mr. Pipes also states from a study that 92% of the most effective churches hold attractional evangelistic harvest events. What constitutes “most effective?” Number of members within a congregation? Number of baptisms? Number of newsletters and cards mailed out? Here in America we think bigger is better. If that is so then why did Jesus pick twelve apostles and not 1,200 or 12,000? Jesus, who's he?
There is one disturbing quote that really makes me wonder what is going on here within the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. Jerry Pipes and Director Sammy Gilbreath state, “...want to see what God can do in the state with GPS.” Does anyone care to think that God might be waiting to see what we will do with the Great Commission, Mark 16:15? Are we not commanded too?
Jerry Pipes does make one outstanding quote within the article. “Ninety-five percent (95%) of Southern Baptist churches won't lead one person to Christ.” There is the problem. The one problem and only problem we should be focusing on in my opinion.
Witnessing! We do not preach it. We do not teach it and we certainly do not lead in it. That includes me. I too am guilty and it burdens my heart. Why is Islam growing? Because they are out promoting it. Why is Mormonism growing? Because they are going door-to-door witnessing for it. Here we are, Christians, expecting “that if we build it they will come.” Let's plan a concert. Let's build a new slippery slide for Jesus. Something cool so others will be attracted to come on by. Why include the name “Baptist” in our church name? Entertainment Center would be much more marketable.
Mr. Pipes is quoted, “ … the plan is for churches and associations to partner in media buys in their particular markets in March and April of 2012.” I guess I missed that part in Mark 16:15. Does it say thou shall go out to your particular market?
The article ends with Director Gilbreath saying, “Let's saturate this state with the gospel.” I am all for it. I disagree with their methods. In my opinion, we as Christians need to get out of the four walls of the church and seek and save the lost. Not bright lights and waiting for those to come inside. The fact is if they did just “come on in” they might not like what they find inside.
Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Mark 16:15 (NLT)