“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.
Matthew 23: 15
Imagine you turned up to a Snooker tournament with same the attitude you bring to a Football match. People might not appreciate your attempt to get a song going or start a Mexican wave! To be able to enjoy the event and get something out of it you need to have the right expectations.
The generation of Pharisees in Jesus day had some deep misunderstandings of what faith should look like. And so each person they converted was being brought into the faith with wrong expectation. They had been told to expect religion of strict legalism, that turned a blind idea to real problems. And so the converts were even further from the truth than their teachers. Unfortunately, this has happened to Christianity as well. Many times our faith has been mis-sold as fast track to wealth and success, or as a judgemental and legalistic burden. And so while it may look like that Church is growing, the people coming in haven’t encountered the real Jesus, in fact they may even be further.
Our ultimate mission isn’t just to get people over the doorstep, it’s to help people meet the real Jesus, the one who preached love and reconciliation, who asks us to pick up our cross. This is the Good News that we want other to hear.
Prayer: Lord, it can be so easy to become obsessed with numbers, to think everything would be better if the Church had a flood of new converts. But help me to remember that more important than headcounts and bank balances is people finding a genuine relationship with you.
Action: Who can you talk about your faith with today?