This morning I was reflecting in the ways we as Christians try and promote Jesus. We try to make Jesus hip, cool and a cure to all that’s going wrong in your life. I have even witnessed someone evangelizing to the homeless and how Jesus is going to give them possessions and wealth if they would believe in him.
I too know this temptation well. A few years ago, our church asked me to start a young adult ministry and I launched Epic Life – a community of 20-somethings who would be passionate about the Word, Worship and Fellowship.
Starting with zero people, your mind by default begins to think of ways you can draw people to the service. My mind’s first thought wasn’t to draw people to Jesus, it was to first draw them with something cool and then sprinkle a little Jesus on top when they weren’t looking.
We promoted cool music, cool people, cool activities and a cool Jesus in order to gain mainstream attraction. We began to organize huge events where we do outrageous activities and games with tons of free food. These events became huge draws and big successes – but our community was not passionate about the Word, Worship or Fellowship. They were passionate about extreme events.
Our strategy was to get them to an event and then get them to come to our service later. Our events continued to be our big nights while our service participation waned. It was hard to see the workings of Jesus when he wasn’t always the main ingredient. Our ministry nights seemed to be promo nights for our upcoming events.
Then the truth hit me: What you draw people with is what you draw them to.
As long as we attracted people with events, we were perpetuating their desire for more events. We thought we were drawing them to Jesus, but we were actually drawing them to more activities.
It’s like a woman who wants to be in a romantic relationship and decides that she needs to wear a low cut blouse in order to attract a man. By wearing the low cut blouse, she will likely draw lots of attention, but it will be the wrong attention. She will be drawing men to her body not her heart. She is merely provoking a response from men by her body. And in order to keep the attention from the man, she will likely need to increase the provocations in order to maintain a similar response. Similarly, what you draw people with is what you draw them to.
It seems overly obvious but it took me a while to get. If you want to draw people TO Jesus, you need to draw them WITH Jesus. I guess what I am really learning is that Jesus doesn’t need any help from us to make himself more attractive. We need to believe that Jesus is already working in the hearts and minds of people around us. We need to have more faith that nothing can be more attractive to people’s souls than Jesus.