As I was walking on the campus of my north Florida college, something struck me. A thought that is. As on most college campuses, UNF is littered with signs advertising clubs and events. Living so close to UCD, it was common to see fraternity and sorority signs everywhere. However, at UNF, about 2/3 of the signs were advertising Christian meetings . . . Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC), Christians on Campus, InterVarsity, Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) and a couple more that I cannot remember.
It is so awesome to go to school on a campus with such a focus on Christianity and God’s love. Any night of the week I can go to a meeting and start working on fitting in with a new group and getting to know new people. The signs are all over the place. I am without excuse if I cannot find a gathering of believer.
But I am a believer, I am obligated by the command of my savior to find a gathering of believers, but what about those who are not obligated? All the signs had one thing in common, they all yelled “Come and see what we do.” That is great, but doesn’t the Great Commission start with the word “Go”?
Occasionally our campus will be visited by “evangelists” who really do more damage than good for Christianity. These brave, or obstinate, souls are ridiculed by believer and nonbeliever alike, but aren’t they doing something. In the last year here, I have participated in about one of maybe 3-5 ministry and evangelistic oriented events on campus. However, all the event consisted of was passing out literature about the meeting times of the ministry . . . no mention of Jesus, or God loves you, or God has a plan for your life. In fact, when passing out the literature, the “come and see” mentality of Christianity was still prevalent. Everyone sat behind a table waiting for people to take information instead of initiating contact and conversation.
If we really cared about another’s eternal soul and the possibility that they could die for eternity in hell, would our actions, methods, and strategy change?
The picture here is a startling and actually very scary, although I live in a place saturasted with Christians, we refuse to extend our outreach opportunities beyond Christian events (Concerts, bible studies, etc) and very relevant, but very comfortable Christian ministries (feeding the hungry, passign out water but not saying “God loves you”, etc).
Let me illustrate my fear. The church I go to once had a person attending who made well over a couple million dollars a year. The church was old and needed a new focus. So the church turned into a community church which welcomed children and the poor as its primary members. The person of interest appraoched the pastor and told that pastor that the church would have to stop inviting the children and poor to the church or he would stop tything. He stopped tything. However, the ministry of the church remain (minus a couple thousand dollars granted). When the church turned from a “come and see” (look at our buildings and facilities, we have the best programs for your children) to a “go and do” (look at our community, we have the most needy community that we expect our members to be involved in) some Christians could not stand it.
Before you judge them though, look a little closer. I recently went to a church and look at their coffee bar. I have worked in the gourmet coffee business and love looking at coffee bars . . . but this church had a machine with a base price of over $6,000. Plus the decor in the room (to give it a modern coffee house feel) costs well over $5,000. The inventory they kept in order to run the coffee bar was about $2,000. I love coffee bars in churches, but that was $13,000 spent on what? Trying to improve the church so more people come? I thought that we were all in this together and it doesn’t matter where someone goes as long as they go to church . . . However, how could that have been used to help someone in need? Feed a homeless man? Pay the rent of a man who has been laid off? But no . . . it is sitting in a church and is used once a week . . . and is so necessary because 75 people (out of the 1,500) would leave if their church didn’t have a coffee bar (that sounds like a dedicated Christian to me).
One further example. As Christian theological seminary recently installed 3 chandeliers . . . that each cost $1,000,000. Why was that money spent? Was there not cheaper lighting that would have stilled looked nice and got the job done? What could some of that money have been used for? Missionary planes in Ecuador? Sanitation pumps in asia?
In summary . . . why have we stopped asking ourselves What Would Jesus Do? We create program to attracts people when he said “Go”. We saturate communities but cannot talk to our neighbor about Christ and mock those who are at least trying. Are we to good to let our churches live with less so that we can reach more? Remember, he only became righteously angry at the religious leaders of the day . . . is that us today?