• John C. Richards, Jr.

Valuing the Message over Methods

Updated: Apr 30


Let's admit it. Ministry is tricky. So many things in this world compete for people's attention. Churches are looking for new ways to engage a culture that has now become unchurched.


Most churches spend a considerable amount of time trying to discover new ways to reach the lost. The prevailing question: How can we reach more people for Jesus? It's a valid question. But I'm concerned about how some churches answer that question—valuing methods over the message.


Sometimes church staff members get more connected to the how of their messaging than the why.


How are we going to fill our seats? How are we going to staff our children's ministry? How can we reach teenagers?


And the most critical question gets lost in the shuffle. Why are we doing this in the first place? The answer: The gospel.


The gospel is the good news that Jesus came and lived the life we could never live to give us an unearned right standing with God.


Unfortunately, in exploring different methods of church ministry, many churches lose the message of the gospel. And that is tragic.

Sometimes church staff members get more connected to the how of their messaging than the why.

You've Got One Job


Heralds would travel from town to town in the first century proclaiming various gospel messages. In that culture, gospel proclamation happened when kings were born—when they entered the world.


Heralds had ONE JOB. Tell the world of the new king.


Christians have one job, too—to proclaim the good news of the gospel. Our job description is simple. But we complicate it when we esteem our methods over the message. And we ultimately lose our heralding ability.


I love what Larry Moyer writes in 101 Tips for Evangelism:


If the message isn't right, the methods don't matter. Methods may be attractive in drawing people to church, but if the message isn't correct, people will not come to God.

Well, then.


So much truth there. When it comes to ministry, may we always remember to esteem the message over the methods. When all the methods find their ways into our ministry storage space, the gospel remains. The gospel is the most precious thing we carry in this world. Church, let's start acting like it.

 

Questions: Have you noticed some churches valuing methods over the message? How would you address leaders in those churches in a gracious way?

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