Have you seen the awesome new TV ADS for the Poison Control Center? How about their sweet new LOGO, and high-tech HEADQUARTERS, and culturally-current THEME MUSIC?
Check out their website sometime. Pretty boring. But it's soooo important! Why isn't Poison Control trying to get the word out?
It's because people who recognize they have been poisoned don't really care about logos, facilities, or music. When my two-year old swallowed TIDE, I didn't care about the outdated font selection on their website. I had a problem and needed the answer. ("The powder stuff is non-toxic. But drink some milk and watch him.")
See where this is going? I know the analogy doesn't follow close comparison, but thinking it through does pay some dividends.
When I sit down to plan a Christmas video, an enormous Easter service, a televised funeral, or a packed-out stadium revival -- I have one thing on my mind. "LET'S GIVE THEM OUR ABSOLUTE BEST THING. LET'S GIVE THEM THE GOSPEL."
The poison is SIN, and the antidote is CHRIST'S FINISHED WORK. If our church services don't get people to a bloody cross each week, we're simply charming them with idolatry.
Long-time [retro] readers will recognize that I like culturally-current music (like the CDs I've recorded), high-tech buildings (like the wi-fi hospital I'm typing in right now), and sweet logos (like my blog header . . . sorry, bad example).
But don't be confused. The gospel is the stuff. God help all of us move beyond our mere charming, hip, civic-minded (what's the word) . . . neighborliness, and GIVE THEM THE GOSPEL.