Outside Church Walls
By Dr. Tim McClure
It was reported that the First Baptist Church of New Orleans, Louisiana during the mid-nineteen eighties, had won more people to Christ than any other church in the Southern Baptist Convention. The pastor was asked, “Do you do most of your evangelism by getting people to attend your church services?” His answer was, “No, we win almost no one to Christ through church enlistment. We could get almost no one to visit our church. We were forced into the position of winning them to Christ in their homes or where they worked. Then after they are really converted and transformed by Christ’s new birth, they come to our church and become strong members” (Osborn, Outside the Sanctuary, OSFO Books, Tulsa, 1986).
I don’t know whether to blame Pentecostalism or not – but a cursed thing has come to the body of Christ. In this twentieth century, we seem to have turned our attention from giving to getting, from sharing to selfishness, from ministry to receiving. In the early Church 90% of the church was out in the streets witnessing and ministering to others, while 10% were disciplining the new believers (Acts 8:1-4). Today we seem to have 90 % in the church standing in line for a church position, while less than 10% are actually out in the streets doing something to minister to the unchurched.
Ministry to the church body is necessary, but how can we have a position title for everyone in the church, but have only two people winning souls to Christ? Check it out for yourself. We have assistant pastors, associate pastors, assistant ministers, pastoral staff, music ministers, youth ministers, singles ministers, children’s ministers, departmental ministers, nursery ministers, custodian ministers, lawn ministers, sidewalk ministers and with all of the above, we must have coordinator ministers to explain to all of us what in the world all these positions are about.
Please, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for organization, delegation and leadership; but for Heaven’s sake, will someone go outside and reach an unchurched person? I believe in leadership structured organization within the church, and I have it in our Church. However, every position in the church must point to saving souls, healing hurts and meeting needs, or it will create spiritual sterilization. Every ministry in the Church must be extrovert in philosophy, or the church will become selfish, cynical and Pharisaical. Introvert ministry spends all of its spiritual energy singing, preaching and ministering to itself. Such a church will die a slow, but sure death. The extrovert ministry church reaches out to those outside the church and ministers to the lost. And when a believer ministers to an unsaved person, then the believer is blessed himself because he is used and needed.
By Dr. Tim McClure
“This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”