Contend Earnestly: 5 Guarantees by the Church

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

5 Guarantees by the Church

This past week I got another really lame flyer in the mail about how the Bible and the church is all about me and how I am destined for greatness. As I was throwing up, I noticed that on the back, under the late 30-something pastor in clothing from Abercrombie and Fitch, that this "church" had five guarantees to the visitor if they would come to their church. At some point I feel like these guys are used car salesmen, "What do I have to do to get you in our church today?" Funny, yet sad, one church in our area was handing out gas cards if they would just come to the church. Then, on my way to work the other day, I saw a huge sign on a Honda dealership promising free gas with a new car purchase.

This whole flyer never mentions the name of Jesus and the only time that they mention God is when they say, "Your kids will learn about God's love!" Yet they have the gall to name themselves with the name "Christian" in the title.

Here are the five guarantees of this "church":

1. A Casual & Relaxed Atmosphere!
2. The Music will be Contemporary!
3. The Kids Will Love it!
4. You are our Guest! You will be Welcomed and Accepted!
5. The Talk will be Positive & Encouraging!

Yes, they did actually put exclamation points at the end of each point like a guy with a bullhorn at the circus. This two page car ad, I mean church ad, had 18 exclamation points! Didn't they watch Seinfeld? Too many exclamation points is just overkill. But, look at what they are promising. They promise nothing about Jesus. They promise nothing about God. They promise what you would expect from a dinner and a show, not a church whose focus is on the blood of Christ and the redemption of a sinful people. When are we going to understand that the church is not about the glorification of people but of glorification of God? Plus, what if my kid hated it? What if someone doesn't say hello? What if the pastors talk isn't encouraging because I am looking for hope because my wife just got cancer? What if I don't like the Dove Award winners being sung in church? Not only are these guarantees completely people oriented but they are empty and cannot be guaranteed to everyone that gets this ad in the mail.

What had me thinking is, what would my church guarantee if we were to send out this type of postcard? What would your church guarantee if you were to send out this type of postcard? Here are my five guarantees to anyone who wants to visit our church:

1. God will be glorified
2. The Word of God will be preached
3. The proclamation of the Gospel will be heralded
4. You will know that you are a sinner in need of salvation
5. We will show you the hope found only in Christ

Every week that you come to our church these five will be shown in every area of our ministries. From Sunday school, to children's church, to worship in song, to worship in the word, to fellowship and to the corporate worship, these five are promised week in and week out.

Is this a casual and relaxed atmosphere? Sometimes. But, sometimes those who are in sin and hear about judgment might not be so relaxed until they here about the hope in Jesus. Is the music contemporary? Sometimes. More importantly our music is Christ focused and God honoring. Will your kids love it? I don't know. Probably depends on how you prepare them for worship on Sundays. Do you prepare your kid to be entertained the entire time? Then they probably won't like it. Do you prepare your child that the Lord's Day is about learning about Jesus? Then that will be accomplished. Are you our guest? Are you welcomed and accepted? Sure. Are we going to change our service to make it all about you? No, that is idolatry. Our church is about glorifying Christ, not the sinner. Will the talk be positive and encouraging? Maybe. Sometimes I walk out of our service wondering why Jesus loves me. I see my sin, see my struggles, but I am always encouraged because of the hope found in Christ.

I get frustrated everytime I get one of these in the mail that focuses so much on people instead of on God and Jesus Christ. The church is for the glory of Christ, not the glory of man. It disturbs me to see that these churches will do anything to get people to come in the doors. It also causes me to examine myself to make sure that I am doing everything that I can do to leave the doors of the church and proclaim the word of Christ to my neighbors and to encourage them to join us in worship.

So, what are the five guarantees of your church?


Anonymous said...

Excellent guarantees. Good story in the life of Seth McBee.

Seth McBee said...


What would be your guarantees?

Anonymous said...

Alrighty then Buddy.

1. Christ will be exhalted.
1. Expositing the word of God.
2. A biblical understanding of the gospel.
3. A biblical understanding of God's sovereignty.
4. The sufficiency of scripture.
5. What salvation means.

I could go on but you said only five.

Anonymous said...

Ok, sorry. I snuck in six.

Keith said...

"...This whole flyer never mentions the name of Jesus... Seth, that's not necessary in many of today's churches.

Five Guarantees:

1. Inerrant, infallible, all sufficient Word of God is proclaimed.
2. Acknowledgement of God's sovereignty in all things.
3. Unashamed confession of sin.
4. Unashamed call to repentance.
5. Christ heralded as THE only way of salvation

David Shaw said...


It seems that the church you received the flyer from, and others similar to them, want to be liked by those who are not members of their church, whether those may be Christians or non-believers. As I read those five guarentees that you mentioned from the flyer I was reminded of John 15:19, If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Those five guarentees mentioned seem contrary to what Christ taught in that passage. I don't want to be a member of a church where sinners feel welcome and have a good time with their sin.

Anonymous said...

I find it ironic that in the first list that is obviously trying hard to be "Seeker sensitive" that at least three of the things on the list have no context or meaning to those outside of Church tradition. What the frick does "contemporary" mean? It is a stupid by word that Church people fight over...and if you have to call your music contemporary it probably isn't.

How about "Casual and relaxed"? What about "you will be welcomed and accepted"? As opposed to what: beaten and ostracized? My point being that none of the things listed have any meaning to a person outside of the church because they do not have the church culture comparison.

These things sound like an advertisement for Walmart. People who might finally step into church (and they are rare ..thus the great commission begins with "GO" not "send" as in send a mailer and hope they come) are not looking for Walmart they are looking for hope, and that is found in only one.

I pray for the day that the churches chooses to be missional and incarnational instead of attractional and cheesy.

I like your list btw Seth.

Anonymous said...

Oh Btw our five guarantees:

1. It's all about Jesus
2. It's always about Jesus
3. It's only about Jesus
4. Every Message will be about Jesus
5. If you already know Jesus and don't want to be involved with the mission of Jesus we will gladly help you find another church but we will not coddle you.

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