The Power of ‘What If’

April 24, 2018

In my life in ministry, I’ve always been amazed at the black or white approach that many seasoned veterans who’ve championed the cause of Christ for decades seem to take when it comes to reaching people.

Black and white is great for those with a familiarity for it.  One of my favorite movies ever is a Henry Fonda movie called, ‘Mr. Roberts’ about a natural born leader who wanted something greater than what he had.  It was in black and white and I don’t mind that at all, but my kids won’t engage in it enough to decide if it’s good or not.  To a modern audience who can hyperstream multiple sources in realistic color and stereo sound, it’s a little hard to see the beauty in something different.  When we can’t see the beauty or value in something, we often just avoid it altogether.  As much as younger people avoid the black and white of the traditional church, it seems the church has no problem reciprocating.

We expect them to drop what they’re doing, leave what their watching, stop what they’re listening to, and suddenly start wanting what the Christians have: 3 hymns, announcements, and a cookie cutter message that came from the Bible with exact rehearsed timing.  Then, the church is surprised when the younger crowd all drop out or stop coming, but if they suggested something more upbeat and louder, it’s usually shot down by the traditionalists.

This model isn’t happening in every church, but it’s happening in a lot, and teens are leaving the church because they can’t get connected. Why?  Young adults are indifferent to the plight of the church. Why?

As a parent, you have to know that the best way to reach a child is to carefully get down on their level (meet them where they are), and allow them to apply what you’re teaching them in a way that is clear and practical for them to understand. Get that? Reach them on their level – be clear – make it practical.

This world has a million devices aimed at distracting us all from God’s message, which is ultimately one of freedom, hope, and love… both received from and shared to others.  These devices offer fun, entertainment, folly, and temporary smiles designed to placate the lack of purpose and true joy in people’s lives.  If this world is full of purposeless, empty, joyless lives, and the church isn’t appealing to them in it’s current state… AND God created us all with different abilities and talents… AND we’re supposed to use everything we’ve been given to bring honor and glory to Almighty God who made us, then WHY CAN’T WE USE HUMOR, SONG, THEATRICAL DEVICES, VIDEOS, SKILL ACTS, SOCIAL MEDIA, and other ‘entertainment’ avenues to meet the young world with a different sensibility about everything right where they are?

The answer is a resounding, ‘We can!’ But that’s just part of the answer.  The rest of that answer is, ‘We Should’.

Walt Disney built an empire by never shutting down the question, ‘What If..’, but it seems that we as Christians have somehow made it a shame to say, and even more so to do.  What if we reach them where they are by creating comedy that entertains while it speaks to the heart?  What if we dazzle them with spectacle displays of skills while witnessing to them of God’s goodness?  What if we step out of tradition, and into a spirit led opportunity to use our abilities and modern resources for His glory rather than for our individual purposes?  What if God changes hearts because we were obedient to a calling to reach others?  What if doing something we normally do for ourselves is somehow used to reach others to offer them eternal life with God?  What if our willingness to try new things makes us somehow more useable than a million others who cling to “the way it’s always been”.

ACTS is the new age of evangelism where we stop doing what have we always done, and focus more on what we can do to gain audience with those who need to hear the good news of Jesus.  We’re not anti-church, but we are missionaries for the unchurched who’ve been blessed with abilities that can be used to reach a different demographic, with a powerful, eternity changing message.  We’re not rebels ACTing out, but rather radicals (like Jesus) who are meeting the world where it is; pointing them toward a loving God who doesn’t hesitate to accept them as they are. We are an “acting, singing, joking, videoing, juggling, fire-eating, street performing, church touring, art creating, bringing smiles, but leaving room for true joy” ministry who seek to please God…completing His commission with the talents that He’s supplied.

What if God called you to be creative for Him?  There’s always room for one more in ACTS, because there’s always one very true and very significant story to tell!!

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