Steve & Shirley“Five times I have received the forty lashes minus one.  Three times I was beaten with rods.  Once I received a stoning.  Three times I was shipwrecked; for a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from bandits, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers and sisters; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, hungry and thirsty, often without food, cold and naked.  And, besides other things, I am under daily pressure because of my anxiety for all the churches.” (Excerpt from 2 Corinthians 11:16-33)

Much ink has been spilled over the decline of mainline churches (that’s us). A zillion reasons are given: the loss of Protestant Christianity’s primacy in American culture, a loss of trust in institutions, crises of leadership, children’s sports on Sundays, and on and on.  Many of which are true.

Here’s the real reason our church is in decline: we are NOT doing evangelism. It is just that simple. We do not have a heart for those folks who do not know Jesus. And until we do nothing will change.

When was the last time you told somebody… somebody who didn’t already know, about your commitment to God, or about the strength you’ve received from our church, or about the goodness you’ve found in the Christian life? How many people have you invited to join our church in the last year? When was the last time your Facebook status had to do with God? And OMG doesn’t count. (If your answer is sometime in the last month, please disregard this devotional.  If not, read on.)

We’re worried we’ll be inappropriate. We’re worried we’ll sound like our weird 4th cousin, or like the neatly-dressed young man that knocked on our door last week. We’re worried we’ll offend someone. Mostly, we’re just worried people will think we’re uncool. Or we are worried that we just don’t know how to do evangelism.

To all of which concerns, Paul, who lived through the stuff in the passage above, replies with a long, cool stare followed by three carefully enunciated words: “Suck!  It! Up!”

Nobody’s going to whip you for inviting them to church – especially if you offer to pay for lunch afterwards. If you’re worried about being inappropriate, you almost certainly won’t be. And for the love of God, why do you assume your friends will think you’re less cool for going to church, instead of assuming that they’ll think church is more cool because “you” go there?

Before you finish reading this blog watch the video on Melrose UMC.

Dear God, I love this church too much to let it die because I’m chicken. I love you and my friends too much to not introduce you to each other. So make me brave, and don’t let me lose my cool. Help me connect people to you in and through Jesus. Amen.

I want to thank all who continue to read the sample chapters of my books and purchase them, and leave a good review on Amazon. If you haven’t done so already just click on any of the book titles in the bottom of the above header and it will take you to the Amazon site where you can read more about the books. Thank you for sharing in this ministry. I hope and pray that these books will help you in some small measure to help those in your care.

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