Saturday, October 18, 2008

Where are my tangible relationships?

Advertisements by their very nature are intended to coerce thinking and behavior. They are needed when there is no personal relationship between the seller and the potential buyer. This type of coercion is expected when you're trying to decide what beer to drink or car to buy, but it's highly offensive when people try to tell you important truths without any tangible relationship. If you want an authentic heart for people outside the church...you've got to be with them. [The Tangible Kingdom - Halter/Smay]

This book continues to challenge me beyond belief. I have had to read it in such small doses because my head is reeling after each chapter. I have forced myself to journal on the discussion questions that come with each chapter and that has proven to be far more important than the actual reading of the book. The quote from above is convicting me on every level. Why do we advertise Jesus instead of actually building relationships with people? Even more gut-wrenching is the thought of how many tangible relationships I actually have with people who know Jesus in the same way they know Miller Light or Toyotas - from an advertising perspective. So much of my time is wrapped up inside the church with the idea that I can come up with enough programs and "coolness" that somehow people will fall through the doors to hear about God. Even if they somehow do, is what I am doing even effective? I would like to think that I am a relational guy - yet my concern is that I am pouring my time into relationships that don't necessarily need my time. Harsh sounding? Maybe - but in reality is spending time with people so that they will continue to serve versus pouring into neighbors who don't know the Lord more important? I guess on some level they are both important, I am just trying to figure out where and what I need to be doing with my time. Am I realistically doing enough to advance God's Kingdom? In other words, am I communicating the most important truths of life in the most effective manner to the people who need it most? Am I pouring into relationships where people desperately need to hear about why Jesus is actually important beyond just avoiding hell? Or do I think like the Miller Brewing Company and assume that if I make funny enough commerials and broadcast them enough times that people will naturally want my "product" [Jesus] that I am trying to "sell"? Sadly I think that is where I, along with the Church, happens to fall right now. The goal would be to spend time starting NOW making tangible relationships that will lead to natural paths of sharing the news of Christ.

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