I really do appreciate well-meaning people, but sometimes their tactics don’t bring about the intended result. Here’s what I mean. From time to time, I receive unsolicited emails from well-meaning people concerned about the church’s message, not specifically this church, but the church in general – that’s an admirable concern. Interestingly enough, these emails aren’t the product of congregants where I serve; these are emails from people outside of my church context. Their subject matter can range anywhere from topics preached, Jesus’ near return, to America’s decline as the fault of the local church.
While I can understand their concern for the state the of American church, I think they’re barking up the wrong tree. My heart yearns for renewal and revival in our country, but I understand something that’s different about today than yesterday. For example, the influence of the pastor upon a congregation or community is at an all time low. Getting the message to the pastor isn’t necessarily the way to get the word to the congregation. People who don’t understand the change in the American Church believe if they can just get a word to the pastor, then the churches will be on board. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. I know there are well meaning people who spend hours emailing pastors via email addresses on church websites hoping to get their “urgent” message across and that by some novel way feel as though they’re fulfilling God’s calling.
To all the well-meaning composers of emails, before you send your next message think about the intended audience. You’re not telling a minister something He doesn’t already know. Understand that real renewal begins at the “grass roots” level. God must get a hold of hearts, minds, and lives of people who’ve been satisfied with a nominal spiritual existence.
Rather than send an email, organize a prayer meeting. Start praying for your town and community. Ask God to save your city. Take the phone book, page by page, and pray over the names of people in your community. Enlist others to pray with you and for you. Pray for righteousness, conviction of sin, and the salvation of souls. Pray that God would transform your community. But, here’s the catch, just don’t pray once or twice about it, make this a prayer of perseverance. Cry over your community and the lostness of neighborhood. Personally, I think you might find a greater audience in prayer; you’ll be conversing with someone who is able to bring change to hearts and lives.