Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Church That Tells it Like it is

I would never have dreamed to have found this kind of information in a traditional Baptist Church's welcome material, but I guess Farmersville, Texas pastor Bart Barber is blazing a new trail. Here's what guests are greeted with:

So, you’re looking for a church home. What does First Baptist Church have to offer you? We offer you a cross to take up as Christ’s disciple. We offer you the chance to forfeit your vacation to serve a meal in a slum in Thailand, or carry gypsum wallboard up a flight of stairs to install into a Hurricane Katrina victim’s new home in Waveland, Mississippi. We offer you the chance to rush to church after a long Wednesday’s work, don an AWANA shirt, and lead a fifth-grader to a life-changing faith in Christ. We offer you a chance to lose your life, so that you might really find it.

We offer you a weekly confrontation with the Word of God. We promise that it will make us all uncomfortable sometimes. It will challenge our preconceived notions. It will make us think, and it might make us mad. It will ask us whether we’re doing the things that really matter in the long run. When the world says we’re worthless, God’s Word will pick us up and remind us what God thinks about us—God sees the value inside and loves us too much to leave us the way that we are.

We offer you the promise that you’ll have to do all of this alongside people who don’t look much like you and don’t always see the world the same way that you do. “One body...One Spirit...One hope...One Lord, One faith, One baptism, One God and Father of all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6) That’s what First Baptist Church of Farmersville is all about. Why should churches be divided along lines of age, race, wealth, musical preference, occupation, or leisure pursuit? Contemporary churches. Traditional churches. Biker churches. Surfer churches. Singles churches. Senior adult churches. Is that what Jesus intended when He founded the church? We think not, and we have determined to build a transgenerational, transpreferential church in which people find their unity around the things that really matter: Christ, our salvation in Him, all of the teachings of His Word, and the work that He has given us to do.

Is that the kind of church you’re seeking? I can’t answer for you, but maybe that’s the wrong question to begin with. The question is, what kind of church is God seeking for you? We’re betting that He’s looking for a church a lot like ours, and we welcome the chance to open a conversation with you about it."

I'm not saying he's right on target (since I don't agree with everything he's written), but I'm sure I'm not entirely on target either. Personally, I like the direction this is going and can only hope and pray that more churches will start to move toward this.

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