#6 - We care more about you coming to "our church" rather than coming to our Jesus...
I've heard from several pastors over the years that I need to invite people to church. Of course, they need to get saved. Where else could they possibly do it except church? (Yes, I say that a bit tongue-in-cheek.) I understand the push, because there are a lot of Christians who can't really explain the message of salvation all that well. They fully believe it in their hearts, but just cannot explain it convincingly. So, it may very well be easier for that person to invite the friend to church instead, saving himself the embarrassment.
I'm not standing in judgment of that person who cannot explain it well, because some people can't even explain our structure of government (ME) very well. It would be of better service for me to direct an inquisitive foreigner to someone who understands it better than I do. But I still have a general working knowledge of it. That said, the responsibility lies with me in my ability to explain.
Back to the Church, though. I hold more judgment for our church leaders and mature Christians not explaining the big-picture story of the Bible to younger/newer Christians for them to better understand. Again, this does not apply to all Christians in every church, but it does apply to a great many of them. But, as is the case in my example of me learning the governmental system to explain it, shame on Christians for not taking education in God's word upon themselves. (I'll stop there and save that rant for #5.)
I've long lived by the rule that when I share the gospel with someone, I try to put them in touch with decent churches in their relative area (if I know of any) where s/he can plug in. Because I commuted 65 miles to work for a decade, most of my acquaintances, run-in's, and co-workers didn't live anywhere near me. I didn't care to invite them to "my church" because I knew it was not practical for them to do so. Instead, I wanted them to know Jesus and to be discipled in the gospel with a body of believers with whom they can fit in and grow accountable. I wanted them to plug in with a church near them, not me.
Sadly, however, most proselytizing today comes in this form:
Guy 1: "Man, my church is really lame. Can you believe what they did this time?"
Guy 2: "Dude, that is such a bummer, because my church is rockin'. You should come check it out sometime."
And that, my friends, is the extent of "witnessing" many Christians today ever do.
"In his book entitled 'Exit Interviews,' William D. Hendricks writes something astonishing: 'Almost all growth reported by North American churches today is the result of CHURCH SWITCHING and birthrate within the churches rather than conversion growth.'"
If we really cared about the lost coming to Jesus, we would bury our faces in our Bibles so we could better understand God;
We would bury our faces in good books to help us better explain the gospel;
We would pray for our unsaved loved ones, friends, and acquaintances a LOT more fervently than we do, and our hearts would be broken for them.
But we just want them to come to our church. It's a whole lot easier. I wonder if this phenomenon has anything to do with our craving to simply have our churches more populated on Sundays, i.e, higher attendance numbers. Because a more populated church is a successful church, right? I wonder if we're too hung up on numbers as indicators of success, rather than individual growth.
Jesus told people, "Follow me", and He led them to God. He didn't say, "Come check out my church." I think we need to get back to Jesus' example and lead people to God by our own example, beckoning them, "Follow me."