I am frustrated as I write this, so the tone may not be what I am hoping for. It may come across as a polemic rather than an illustration about the need for a great commission resurgence within the SBC.
I’ll begin with some context. Just over a year ago, the city of Fayetteville’s Dogwood festival passed a ban on all booths that promoted “religious or political views.” Effectively this shut out all churches from the festival.
So last year the churches of greater Fayetteville made a big deal about not being allowed into the Dogwood festival. We even held a political action rally. This rally did not exclusively address the Dogwood Festival, but that decision was the impetus for the rally.
In response to the outrage, the board, rightly in my opinion, reversed the decision.
Political action working, right? Yep. We got the desired result, churches are now allowed at the festival.
Obviously then, this year, there were many churches there representing Christ, giving out free water (rather than selling beer) and telling people the life changing message that Jesus saves. Right? Wrong.
Three churches participated. They include, the largest church in town, a small Presbyterian church (PCA), and one church that was apparently fundraising.
There are 100 churches in the Baptist association which encompasses Fayetteville. Many of these churches were represented at the political action rally last year. Now let’s do the math, 100 churches in the association, zero churches participate in the festival after they hear our voice and change their policy. That number, again, was zero. Now, to be fair, not all 100 were at the rally, but many were.
Here’s the question; does that make us look inept, or hypocritical, or like we only want to cause trouble? I’m afraid it sends the message that we have no time to witness because we are too busy complaining about people who will not let us witness.
To me it definitely says that we are not nearly as concerned about the gospel as we pretend to be.
By the way, my church was at the rally but not at the festival, so I am not merely casting stones. Actually I want someone to tell me why I'm wrong to think this way. I believe in political action, I’m glad the board reversed its decision, and I don’t expect every church in Fayetteville to be there. I do, however, believe that we put way too much energy into fixing social issues and not nearly as much effort into spreading the gospel, even though it is the greatest message that could ever be told.
I believe that this is the perfect example of the need for a great commission resurgence. We need to have churches that focus on what's really important, the gospel. It seems that we are currently out of whack.
(BTW - I really wanted to post this comic here because it is funny and goes with the last line. But usage rights cost $25, which is ridiculous whenever you can just follow this link and see it for free.)