WHO THE DOCTOR WAS SENT TO
Pastor Barry Brister
Gateway Assembly of God, Louisiana
Are you seeing people who need to be born again sitting in your church on Sunday mornings? To have people sitting in your church on Sunday mornings who need to be born again, you have to be willing to have people who need to be born again in your church on Sunday mornings.
People who need to be born again frequently don’t look like us. In fact, most are not even close. The women show way too much cleavage or legs, they (men and women) may smell of drug use, or, in general, they just don’t look or smell like someone typically in our Sunday morning services. Because they’re not used to sitting still, they will be getting up to go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, smoke a cigarette, etc. It doesn’t matter how exciting your preaching may be, there will almost always be at least one nodding off because someone invited them to come to church while they are still under the influence. Some may even have ulterior motives for coming to your church, like looking for a hookup or needing money or something else.
What if 20 people who aren’t born again show up this Sunday morning? More than likely, everyone would be excited about the visitors. What if 5 of them answer an altar call to be born again? More than likely, everyone would be excited about it. But what if they came back the next Sunday and brought 10 more unbelievers with them and this trend happened over the next few weeks until you have a house full of what I call Acts 17 believers--people who are born again, but have no clue about what that means, without any concept of sin? Now you have people in the house, because of the world we live in, who have no morals or character. Many are struggling to understand who they are and now what they are, man or woman, gay or straight, etc.
20 years ago, if a new convert stumbled and gave in to the temptation to fall back into their old lifestyle for a day, they would smoke a cigarette, drink a beer, or have an illicit encounter. We would run to their rescue and bring them back to the house. But today, we have a different class of new converts. When they stumble and fall, it’s not just smoking a cigarette or just drinking a beer. It's drugs that usually hold them until they run out of money or get so disgusted with themselves that they can’t continue, or it’s the illicit encounters we can’t mention here. Do we run to their rescue, do we go into the dark places they find themselves in now?
The question is: do we really want people who need to be born again in our church on Sunday morning? It’s easy to think that it is disruptive to have them in our church. Or we find ourselves thinking we need to find “normal” people who need to be born again--those who look like us, smell like us, and wear the same clothes. Let’s not forget who the doctor was sent to!