Jim Rayburn, the founder of Young Life, was once quoted as saying, “It’s a sin to bore a kid with the Gospel.” If this is true, then there are churches all across America that are repeatedly sinning every single weekend by communicating the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the most stale, vanilla, outdated, and yes even boring deliveries systems and presentations. The Scriptures however would teach us that the environment, or the context matters. It matters a lot.
“What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” I Corinthians 3:5-7
According to the Scriptures our responsibility is to plant and to water; in other words to tend to the context or environment. God’s responsibility is to bring about life-change. We cannot manufacture either spiritual birth or spiritual growth. But we can set the table for an interaction to take place between a Holy God and a people that need to meet Him.
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
The act of Creation was not only completed by Intelligent Design, but with Intentional Design. The Bible teaches us that He established and determined the boundaries of the waters. It wasn’t an accident, nor was it flippant. Creation itself is the ultimate environment the He has set us in. All of this was done in order to reveal Himself to all of mankind and draw us to himself.
Building compelling environments matter! They matter because they influence our ideas, feelings, and ultimately our behavior! In fact, the Business World spends billions of dollars annually to discover and leverage a principle that has been clearly revealed to the church. But unfortunately forgotten. Companies understand that everything from the height of the ceiling, the colors on the walls, the texture of the floor, the music that’s playing, the temperature of the room, and the way they speak to their customers matters. And they’re doing it to sell more cars, clothes, lattes, or burgers. And we’re talking about Heaven and Hell being in the balance!
And our answer, or perhaps better put, our excuse is, “just preach the word.” Hmmm…how’s that been working out for everybody?
Check out Part-2 of this post to for 4 simple criteria to consider when building your environments.
Posted in Leadership