Wishing To Be Within A Yard Of Hell

“Some wish to live within the sound of a chapel bell; I wish to run a rescue mission within a yard of hell.” — C.T. Studd

The sad part about the Church is that they would rather sit in the circle singing Kumbaya, then reach out and show love. But the sick part is that they think that they are reaching out by staying inside their holy huddles, and sneering at lost people & condemning them.

I recently stumbled upon a blog of a guy named Donny Pauling, who is a FORMER pornographer. This guy had taken naked photos of women that went into magazines like Playboy. And a few days after having been offered a huge contract by them, he decided that he had had enough and gave his life over to Christ. You can read the whole story here.

And about a week after that he posted a very interesting blog entry that I have posted part of below.

Please don’t think I’m being negative. To be honest, I was very happy all day and was a bit excited at the prospect of going to church after asking God back into my life. I tried to remain so throughout tonight’s service. But, as I mentioned in my last blog entry, I made a promise to my father to remain true to myself and to sugar coat nothing while on this journey, so I’m going to tell you exactly what I think. Here goes…

Church tonight really annoyed me. It’s like I never left. The same songs are being sung. The same things are being said in sermons. It’s just one more person parroting what everyone before him has said in every church service since the beginning of time.

Why must we sing about how great God is, over and over? I know, I know. God wants to hear our praises. This doesn’t make all that much sense to me but I’ll accept your word for it. As one of God’s children, I think of my relationship to him a bit like my relationship with my own son. I want my son to think I’m great and all, but he doesn’t have to tell me over and over and over and over every day for the rest of his life. In fact, I’d think he was a bit weird if he did so…

Seriously, now. Churches wonder why so many “fall away”. I’ll let ya in on one big reason: most churches sing stupid songs that don’t “get to” a person. Know what I mean? One song tonight literally repeated “God is so good” over and over. Wow! That moves me about as much as watching paint dry and almost as much as watching a snail crawling a wall. I mean, what exactly is the point of repeating that phrase for 20 minutes? I don’t get it.

And why must the same rhetoric come out of every preacher’s mouth in every service in every church around the world? Most of the people in church have been there since they were very young. We’ve all heard the stories. 45 times or so. Why tell it again? And why use the exact same verbage as every other preacher? Does God demand only certain words be used when proclaiming his truth?

When the church was singing tonight I was thinking to myself, “I need to start writing songs that people actually enjoy singing!” When the preacher was preaching I was thinking, “Ya know, there’s a big need for interesting preachers in today’s churches! If I ever get up in front of people I’m going to try telling them something that actually helps them in real life situations. Or at least come up with something that INTERESTS them!”

Isn’t that sad? And yet that is primarily the state of the Church today. What is wrong with us? Instead we stay stuck in the same old ruts and are not willing to get out of them for the sake of reaching out to lost people.

I have heard Donny Pauling talk about the ministry of xxxchurch.com and how they are a big reason why he made the decision to follow Christ. xxxchurch.com does some pretty radical things and a lot of Christians are pretty inflamed about it. This ministry will actually go to porn conventions and rent a booth inside of them, in fact, they get asked back every year since the first year they did it. And Donny said in these interviews that if they had not been there on the floor, but instead stayed outside passing out tracts, that it would not have effected his life. He went onto to say that the mindset in the porn industry is that Christians hate them and think they are to bad for someone as “righteous” as them to hang out with. But the guys from xxxchurch.com were willing to set up that “rescue mission within a yard of hell”.

I think it is about time for more churches and Christ followers to start setting up rescue missions within a yard of hell and get away from the sound of the chapel bell. There is a lost world out there that thinks we hate them and we do for the most part. Especially when we condemn them instead of having compassion for them. After all isn’t that what Jesus did?

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Kim, father to Hannah & Caleb, and the connections pastor at The River Church. The thoughts expressed here are my own and not The River Church's.

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