“We want more fellowship!” he proclaimed from the pulpit. “If anyone has any ideas about how we can increase the quality of the fellowship in this church, I really want to know.” I got suckered into thinking he meant it.
So, I approached him. “You know, I’ve seen the kind of fellowship you’re talking about! It’s actually really simple. It’s in the book of Acts. I grew up with it. I’ve seen it ‘up-close-and-personal’. They do it all over the world. They do it down South all the time. They do it everywhere except, it seems, here in the northern United States, it seems. It’s actually very easy!”
He looked at me in disbelief. “Really? How?”
“All you have to do is get people into the habit of inviting people into their homes to share a meal together. It’s easy to get started. Start by inviting a few people to your house. Then when you run out of space, have others start doing it in theirs. Pretty soon the congregation has it as a regular part of their culture. It soon becomes, “Just the way we do things around here!”
He looked at me with something akin to horror. “Oh, that will never work!”
“Why not?” I asked.
“Because … (he hesitated) … because this is the 21st Century, and people don’t do that anymore.
Not in this culture, and not in this state!”
“Whoa! Hold on!” I said. “Aren’t we supposed to be transforming the culture, not conforming to it?”
“No!” he replied. “We use a more seeker sensitive model. We try to fit in, and make it easier for people to be part of the church, not make it awkward for them.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!
“That’s the problem with being ‘seeker sensitive’!” I said. “You’re so busy trying to be relevant to the culture, that you do nothing radical to transform it. You conform yourself so much to the pattern of this world’s thinking, that it changes you, instead of you changing it. Aren’t we supposed to be even just a little bit counter-cultural, to stand out in some way as a ‘peculiar’ people who are very different from the culture around us?”
“Yes! But my wife would never let me. She doesn’t like being around a lot of people!”
Way to go Adam. Blame your wife for you lack of backbone!
I was kind, and let him off the hook about his responsibility to his wife to help her grow to be one day blameless before Christ. Hey, I knew what it was to fight that battle, and lose.
Still, is it too radical an idea today, that we should actually have a meal together? What happened to, “They broke bread in their homes, and ate together with glad and sincere hearts”?
Last time they did that, the church grew … radically!