What we need is boldness. Now boldness is something that is hard to do when it is in short order. It is difficult to take a hard stance when all those other stances seem to be so shifty and accommodating all the time. We wouldn’t want to stand out, especially if there are snipers about. But I believe not only is this the calling of the Christian but the very purpose of the church.
I do not believe the “come and see” model of Church is the point. I believe the purpose of the church is to “go and tell”. (Matt 28:19) If this is the case then there should be a place to return to for recuperating from all the travel and sharing.
I believe this is the purpose of the church, it is for building ourselves up in the Lord. I do not believe the church walls of a Sunday morning are for the unbeliever per-se, but for the building up of the saints so that they in-turn are emboldened for their “go and tell” missions. The Sunday gathering is for the teaching, rebuffing, correction, and rebuke as Paul says in 2 Tim 3:16. Those things are not necessarily for the week while we are out among the world but when we return to rejuvenate. If this is the case when we come together for tea time there should be a bit of boldness in our formula. We are to instruct our people about what is out in the world, what the world’s response to the Gospel is, and remind them our charge to share it anyway.
I feel that some churches have adopted the “come and see” model of church as if the Sunday morning should appeal to those who do not have the Spirit. An outsider may enjoy music, but will they enjoy the love-songs to a being they do not yet know? The Bible transforms lives but will they enjoy a teaching, correction, reproof or training without the Spirit to give them aid? This is what 1 Corinthians 2 is about.
We absolutely should bring people to church but hopefully, we will after a little ground work has been done first. A service is not usually evangelistic but disciplining in nature, it can be both but the purpose is for building the house and sustaining the bride. We would love to add you to that but a Sunday morning may need some context. This is a reason we ask only those who believe to partake in communion. This is why we do not refrain from communion just because there may be some present who aren’t there yet. Sunday morning is a family event. This is why baptism is also not something we go rent out the convention center for and hand out fliers to advertise.
The ground work comes when the Christians go out and live their lives. The pastor’s job is to build and continually build the house and continue to reinforce the foundations while imparting boldness to a community who may not always experience a welcome mat when sharing their lives.
Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. (Acts 20:28)
The churches job is to continually meet together and encourage one another because we know our message is not always met with acceptance. We gather, we remind, we encourage, we teach, we disciple, we embolden, and then we go out and do all again. (Eph 4:16).
It is the sometimes diminished returns of the week that can discourage. This reality is why the church has the responsibility to be there for one another. (Heb 10:24-25) We continue to point back to Jesus and continue to support our own. We lick our wounds and we go share the Gospel again. A pastor will always be happy to share the Gospel with visitors to church but the visitors want to know if Jesus is working for the person who invited them.
This takes boldness. This means that we need to take a stand on something. This means saying things like “Yes I do believe God created the Earth, Yes I do believe that mankind is sinful and in need of redemption. Yes I do believe the Jesus died and raised from the grave, providing that forgiveness…Yes, I am serious, Yes I do believe that Jesus is God.”
Saying these things takes boldness, not crumbling at the rejecting takes boldness. Sharing in the first place knowing the consequences takes boldness. Accepting the social consequences takes boldness. None of this happens without faith, but often our faith still does not open our mouths. This takes understanding that “Our Redeemer lives”as Job said. This is not being ashamed of the Gospel because like Paul says we know it is the power of God for salvation. (Rom 1:15-17)
Getting these truths in the heart so that at anytime we are prepared to give an answer for the hope that lies within with gentleness and respect is what we prepare for on a Sunday. (1 Peter 3:16). But if this is not something that is a part of our makeup and preparation then it is hard to pull from in a moments notice.
To be a Christian is to be bold, because to be bold is what it takes to confront a world that does not want to hear our message. Thankfully we have example after example of Jesus and the disciples acting in boldness because they knew that they were citizens of a different country and they knew who was truly to be feared. As Jesus says:
28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. (Mathew 10)
So acknowledge Jesus before the world, the world needs it.