“And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Mt. 23:12
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, and seen, churches and pastors and church leadership these days going to exceeding lengths in planning, implementing, and spending money on methods, ways, programs, plans, agendas, renovations, new buildings, new color schemes, new carpeting and chairs, planners, designers, meetings, schemes, technologies, video screens, comedies, entertainment, freebies, prizes, anything whatsoever as one pastor succinctly explained “to be attractive” to people so they will come to a church.
As that pastor explained, and as others I have met would be quick to agree, if the church is “attractive” enough to bring in the people, and to make them feel comfortable and welcome, and oh, yes, loved, then they can hear about Jesus.
I have never – not one single time – in the entire Bible from start to finish seen one command from God that we should go all out in making churches attractive, exciting, entertaining, comfortable, etc. to entice and lure and draw and tempt people to come running through the doors and into the pews.
The job of Christ followers is to love and serve and seek and obey the Lord and to proclaim the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ in love and to trust the Holy Spirit to draw people to the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe with all my heart the way in which we need “to be attractive” is to live for Christ, to grow in the image of God, to be conformed to Christ, to live by the Bible, to be filled with and led by God’s Spirit, to be bold and courageous and loving in sharing the Gospel and encouraging people to follow Christ, to become holy as God is holy, to bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit like love and patience and joy, to let the light of Christ shine in and through us, to humble ourselves before God and others, to be giving and generous and gracious, to be forgiving and merciful and compassionate, to have servants’ hearts, to let Christ live in and through us by the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost, to stand out from the world because we are attractive in the way we think, speak, and act because we reflect the beauty and majesty of Christ who is Lord, to always strive to have pure hearts, and to purify our hearts through repentance when the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, to leave behind the ways of this world and to live according to the Lord’s ways, to have no greater priority in our lives than to love and worship and glorify God almighty through Christ Jesus.
Please note the attraction I speak of first and foremost and most importantly of all without any exception is that we be attractive TO THE LORD by pleasing Him and bringing Him pleasure and joy and worship and praise and adoration and thanksgiving and glory in every aspect of our lives. Any way in which we as Christ’s followers are attractive to people should merely be a by-product of being attractive to the Lord because when we are attractive to the Lord, I believe, we will reflect Him to the world. So the real attraction to the world is not about us, but it’s about Him in and through us.
Is this about church buildings? NO! It’s about Christ’s church. Christ’s followers. Those who believe in Him, and devotedly follow Him, and day by day become like Him as God by His Spirit through His powerful Word transforms us.
What will draw people to the Lord is not worldly attractions and worldly methods, but the Holy Spirit through the love and truth of the Lord Jesus Christ which should shine and radiate in the lives of Christ’s followers.
When we try to make our churches attractive, are our motives truly to bring people to Christ, or do we desire to fill up our pews and our pocketbooks and our egos?
This may be a hard message for some. I know it is for me. For if we are honest with ourselves, we all struggle with pride, and we all need to continually humble ourselves before the Lord and repent of anything that is displeasing to the Lord. May there be no greater desire in our wanting to be attractive than that we desire to be attractive and pleasing and honoring and revering to the Lord!