2011 FBSC Annual Meeting
“The reality is you can’t lift Jesus up and not draw a crowd,” he said. “The Bible says wherever Jesus was there was a crowd. When your faith is added to your hope—and He is lifted up—I’m telling you there is going to be a crowd.
“Most of the time in our churches we [only] hope that God would do something, because if we truly believed that He could [do something], we would get the people to Him. I want to challenge us to move from hope to believing.”
He said that there is a myth, especially in South Florida where there are so many unchurched people, that people are not interested in having spiritual conversations. They are interested in authenticity and that it is important for Christians to “get people to [Jesus].”
“Let me ask you a question,” Gramling said. “Are you hoping that God will do something this holiday season or are you believing [He will]?”
Barnes, interim pastor of New Testament Baptist Church, Miami, and a family counselor, told pastors that an opportunity is opening to reach a generation of unchurched young adults who are now having children but have no categories for being parents.
“We have a totally unchurched generation trying to do family,” he said. “And all of a sudden they [are looking at church for the first time] and wondering, ‘What will church do for me?’ They are not sure what spiritual need they have but they know they have a need. The need is how to do family.”
Barnes said one reason 20 to 40 year olds have “no idea” how to parent is because culture has taught a generation how to delay adulthood and responsibility. He said their attraction to church is because they are looking for an answer to the “Why?” question, and referenced philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s belief that once you find the “Why” then you can find the “What.”
“The ‘Why’ for us is serving Jesus Christ, bringing glory and honor to Him,” Barnes said. “Our “What” question becomes ‘what can we do to get them to church.’ We used to call [their need] a felt need, but it is now an absolute critical need for a generation that was un-parented completely but is now parenting. They have no idea how to train up a child to become a competent, godly adult.”
Barnes said the result in American culture today is the opposite of what Paul calls Christians to in Romans 12:2: People conform to the pattern of this world. He said that instead of being trainers of children parents become transporters of children, shuttling them from one activity to another and “subcontracting our children out to anyone who is an ‘expert’,” such as sports programs, music programs and camps.
The new “revival door” open to churches in reaching the culture, Barnes said, is by being available to answer the question, “Can you help me” with their parenting ability. He said that when they realize churches can, and they got it from the Bible, then they will understand the Bible’s relevancy.
“Today’s 30-something is screaming for this felt need and they don’t even know it,” Barnes said. “This time in [our cultural history] gives us a phenomenal opportunity to be spiritual leaders within our communities. We have the answer for them and their kids…all for the glory of God.”
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