I took my youth group to Cedar Point this past weekend. If you have ever been to Cedar Point, then you know that it’s nothing but farmland for about an hour before you reach the park. There are very few houses, but there is a ridiculous amount of corn. On the way up, I noticed a little country church made of brick. I thought out loud when we passed it, “Who in the world goes to that church? There’s nobody out here.”
I was astonished when we passed that church on our way home on Sunday morning. Not only was the parking lot full but people had to park in the yard. If I had to guess, there were 75 cars lined up around the church. That might not seem like a gaudy number unless you realize that you only pass a couple dozen houses within 30 miles of the church. There must not have been an empty seat in that sanctuary on Sunday. I wanted to pull the van over and join the church service.
I don’t know for sure what was happening inside those walls that morning. It was a United Methodist Church, and being a United Methodist, I can venture a guess. It was probably just your average church service with singing, praying, and preaching. Also, given the location of the church, I don’t think that there was anything particularly flashy about what was going on. I could be wrong but I feel confident in that assumption. I was reminded that the church isn’t about entertainment, It’s about Christ and glorifying his name.
1 Corinthians 2:2 keeps coming to my mind when I think about that little country church, “For I decided to know nothing among you besides Jesus Christ and him crucified.” That’s what it’s all about, period. We can do a million things to make our church services seem more attractive, but if we start to place entertainment over the Gospel, then we are doing the church a disservice.
I believe that also applies to being the church outside of the building, as well. We worry too much about if we have all the right answers, if we know enough, if we can eloquently articulate God’s word, etc. It’s not about us and how smart and persuasive we can be. It’s about Christ and what he did for the world. If we can tell people nothing besides what Jesus did for them, then we are telling them enough.
There was something oddly attractive about the little country church. It wasn’t just because there was a crowd there. I have passed mega-churches on Sunday mornings and haven’t desired to go in. It was that there was nothing seemingly attractive about the outside of the church so it must have meant that there was something beautiful about what was going on inside those walls. I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit was moving in that congregation, Christ was being preached, and God was being glorified. Why else would that many people want to be there on a Sunday morning?
I hope that we can follow the example of that little country church. The Gospel doesn’t need dressing up. We don’t need to work to make it more attractive. If we decide “to know nothing… besides Christ and him crucified’ and we live out that faith in our actions, then the Gospel will be attractive. We don’t need to improve upon the Gospel, we can’t, we simply need to share it.