My time in the pulpit on Sunday went well.
The video on Brasil and Ubaúna seemed to have hit a cord with many who were in attendance. My passion and urgency were hopefully not “over the top” in scaring people away. So far, I’ve had good feedback AND promises of financial support for the work.
During the interval between services, an older gentleman made a point to come up to me. His comment caught me off guard: “You didn’t give an invitation!” It was an accusation, not an observation nor statement.
I readily agreed. I did not. He was not happy.
“There may have been people here who needed to respond to the gospel,” he stated. To which I politely replied, “There were more here who needed it than you think; but they were not here to respond.” His parting words, thrown over his shoulder as he spun angrily away from me: “You didn’t give an invitation! Remember that!”
Folks, this is a point that I’ve struggled to make. It’s not about form or function. It’s about relationship. You can talk to me all day long about being “right,” “correct,” or “biblical” and it simply doesn’t mean a thing. Everything Sunday was done “right,” but a simple deviation from the “correct” way to doing church was instantly the focal point, not the message.
“Church” is people, not structure, not tradition, not liturgy, not form. It is simply people, people who have been redeemed, purchased out of a world that belongs to Satan. People who are not church cannot and should not be expected to act like church; but, we have to give them a reason to want to be church. It really is that simple.
Offering an invitation isn’t wrong, incorrect or stupid; but it is not always appropriate. Being consumed with the form over the message does not produce church. That is what breaks my heart.