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Tuesday, November 13, 2007 

X-Mas Devotions For Unchurched Peoples

From the Reporter, (the official newspaper of the LC-MS) comes this little "gem";

Revolutionary Christmas, a 32-day set of devotions written for those who are “unchurched” or nonbelievers. Developed as an outreach tool by the ministry staff of Jefferson Hills Church, an LCMS congregation in Imperial, Mo., the new devotions are written “to engage the alienated or disconnected reader in finding the true meaning behind the Christmas story,” according to Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM), St. Louis, which is distributing the set of prayers free via its Web site.

If the mission meetings that I am so privileged to attend are any indication, our beloved synod's newest non-program type of evangelism will fail miserably. What I hear over and over both from the district as well as mission minded circuit types, is that we need to meet people where they are at and not scare them away by bringing up “church” stuff. Sure they’re welcome, the “unchurched,” in fact they’re so welcome we’ll make sure our Sunday morning gatherings virtually indistinguishable from a high school glee club meeting.

And another thing, does anybody recognize Jefferson Hills Church? You should if you read this blog! These are the good folks that I wrote a post about last June. Jefferson Hills Church was the group that was inviting people to renew their baptism under a program entitled “Dunk’d”. This in spite of the fact that the Church catholic, and Lutherans specifically confess that we believe in one baptism for the remission of sins.

For the record, Jefferson Hills Church described themselves this way on their blog before the link was pulled: "Jefferson Hills Church is a Multi-Site Church specifically designed for people who don't go to church." Yeah, I agree.

So, now we are letting these yahoos write devotions? Maybe we should give Tom Cruise a call to see if he’ll help us reach that the Operating Thetan demographic trying to break free from their engrams and Xenu. Just a thought.

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Now there's a word fit for our age.

There's no sinners, there's no repentance, there's just not being in church.

As if they would be in church if the church didn't turn them off with all the churchy stuff.

As if the real reason for not being in church is not being by nature a sinner in full flight from God and recoiling at what he has to say about that -- just like myself -- and hiding that behind a million and one personal excuses.

Meet people where they are. True enough, if one remembers where Scripture says that is, on the highway to hell in need of Law and Gospel.

And if that's not our real concern, what is -- getting enough bodies in church so that at collection time enough will be gathered to keep the institution going?

“what is -- getting enough bodies in church”

Uh, yes that’s exactly the point. We are measuring our success by headcount instead of by those that confess their fallen sinful nature and understand the need for Christ!

We do need to reach out to those “unchurched,” but if we water down the Gospel so we don’t offend we are only preaching a new Gospel separate from the one given to us by the crucified Lord. Sure we are supposed to eat with sinners but if we are failing to point out that their sin is a cancer that will ultimately kill them, how are we helping them out. The sick know they need a physician, those who ignore the fact that they are ill…well they get their reward for not seeing the doctor, they die.

I keep bring up a high school glee club because that’s we seemingly are trying to present ourselves as. Joel Osteen should be proud of us!

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  • I'm Frank Gillespie
  • From The Haut South
  • Confessional Lutheran
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