How to Find The Right Girl (or Guy) & Grow Your Church

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How do I find the right girl?

That's a question I have heard many times. Young guys tired of being lonely and navigating that confusing maze called dating are the usual inquirers. The question is simple and often phrased in different ways, but the main idea is always the same. They are tired of bouncing back and forth like a ping-pong. Tired of rejection on the one hand, and disappointment on the other. In desperation they search for the secret. The one simple thing that can turn their life around. "No more making this up as I go along. Just tell me, How do I find her - you know, the 'one' - the right girl?"

Of course, girls ask the same question about guys and experience the same level of frustration. Everyone seems to be searching for that Mr. or Ms. Right and everyone seems to think that there must be a secret, or formula out there somewhere, that can lead them straight into their true lovers arms.

Well, I have good news. There is a secret formula and I want to share it with you. But first, let me make a point about church culture (since that's kind of what this website is about). 

Every church I have ever been to operates the same way. They are like a love-frustrated youth desperately seeking their significant other. "How do we reach the lost?", "How do we grow?", "What should we do to lead new people to Jesus?" All excellent questions of course. But if you look just a little harder you'll realize they are the same as girl-searching-for-guy. They are looking for a secret or formula which, if applied, will result in the relationship they dream of. The guy dreaming of the girl. The girl dreaming of the guy. The church dreaming of the convert. Over time frustration and disappointment settle in. The church becomes jaded. They did their best to navigate the maze of outreach and evangelism. But nothing really came of it. They are disillusioned and wonder why it seems to work for others, but never for them.

OK. So are you ready for the secret? Because I am about to share it, and what I share can revolutionize both your dating life and your church. So here goes.

In all my years of hearing young men ask, "How do I find the right girl?" I have never, one time, had anyone approach me and ask, "How can I become the right guy?" (or vice versa). The inquirer is always pursuing something "out there". But here is the problem. What your pursue will always elude you and even if you find it, it will eventually slip through your grasp. Rather than pursue the right girl or guy, you have to become the right guy or girl. And when you become the right person, you will catch the interest of the right person. That is the secret.

I saw a video last week where a guy shared how he once wrote down 40 page description of his ideal girl - the woman he would marry. Then, on another 40 pages he wrote down the kind of man that same woman would be attracted to. In the end, he found a massive gap between the person he was and the man his dream girl would be attracted to. He decided right then to stop trying to find the right woman, and to focus instead on becoming the right man.

Churches need to apply this dating advice to their own experience. How do you reach the lost? How about, instead of worrying about reaching them we asked, "How do we become the kind of church that broken people want to be around?" I mean, look at Jesus. Sinners always wanted to be around him. They felt safe in his presence. Can we, as a church, become the kind of community that others look at and say, "I want to be a part of them"?

How do we become the kind of church that broken people want to be around?

So here is my point: Rather than focusing on gimmicks and blueprints for evangelism, lets focus on becoming the kind of church that would catch the attention of the lost in our community. Rather than trying to the find the people "out there", let's become the kind of people that the culture would be drawn to. That is the secret.

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Book Release!

"Story-Church: How to Turn the World Upside Down" is my first, official book on revitalizing the local church for mission. Coming soon!

Subscribers will also receive the 7-day church optimization course free by email.

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Pastor Marcos is a millennial Adventist pastor with a passion for Jesus, the narrative of Adventism and the relevancy of the local Adventist church. He pastors in Western Australia where he lives with his wife and children. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

What Bruce Lee Taught Me About Evangelism

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I grew up in the 90's when action stars like Chuck Norris, Jackie Chan and Steven Seagal where every boys heroes (at least every dorky boys hero's). We used to sit down and talk for hours about their fighting skills and every time, without a doubt, a debate would break out on which of them would win in a real fight. Could Samo Hung take out Jean Claude Van Damme? How about Jackie Chan taking on Bolo? And on and on we went. And yet, almost without fail one of us would stand up and whisper a name. A name so revered that the moment it was mentioned, the conversation was over. The debate had ended. There was just no comparison. That name was "Bruce Lee."

In all my years, I have never heard anyone say "this guy can beat Bruce Lee". In our minds, he was on a whole other level. There were great fighters and then there was Bruce Lee. He was undefeatable. 

Whether our quasi-worship of Bruce Lee was merited or not I suppose is a conversation for another place and another time. But regardless of how accurate our assessment of his fighting ability was one thing was true - Bruce Lee is the most significant martial arts icon to have ever lived. Not only was he a great fighter, he was also a great philosopher and he singlehandedly turned the world of combat sports upside down.

Bruce Lee had a belief and it went something like this. Kung Fu, the martial art that every one seemed to fear, was not that scary at all. The reason was because Kung Fu only worked if the person you were fighting was fighting according to the same rules you were fighting by. But the moment you fought someone who operated on a different set of rules and was good at it, your Kung Fu was at risk of becoming meaningless. For example, Kung Fu is primarily a striking sport. You stand up and throw punches and kicks. Jiu-Jitsu is primarily a grappling sport. You take someone to the ground and wrap them up in submissions. If a Jiu Jitsu fighter took a Kung Fu fighter to the ground, the Kung Fu guy would be completely helpless. All of his years of training prepared him to compete against an opponent who agreed to his rules, and nothing else. The moment those rules were effectively bypassed, his black-belt was meaningless.

But Bruce Lee didn't single out Kung Fu in this. Instead, he criticized every martial arts discipline as being useful only when the opponent was either totally unskilled or was fighting according to the same rules. The moment you faced a skilled opponent fighting with a different set of rules, your chances of dominating the fight dwindled. As a result, Bruce Lee advocated for what has become known as Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). His point was that a fighter should aim to master diverse fighting styles and combine those into one. In doing so, the fighter would be capable of fighting well even when the opponent changed the rules.

As an Adventist passionate about evangelism, I found myself challenged by Bruce Lee. You see, our way of doing evangelism is just like Kung Fu. It only works if the people we are evangelizing are either completely unskilled in their own belief system or if they are playing according to our set of rules. But the moment we encounter someone who is good at playing by a different set of rules, our evangelistic tactics become meaningless.

For example, if you were preaching an evangelistic series and came to the topic of the Sabbath one of two things can happen. If your audience is primarily classic protestants then your sermon on how the Sabbath was changed to Sunday could be convincing. After all, they already believe in the Sabbath. The only thing you have to show is that its not on the first day but on the seventh. However, if your audience was post-modern or post-Christian the entire sermon would appear unneccesary at best and narcissistic/ narrow at worst. All your arguments would prove meaningless.

So here is what I learned from Bruce Lee. Our greatest weakness in evangelism is that we assume everyone around is pursuing truth according to our rules. And our failure to play by their rules is the main reason why our proclamation lacks power and relevance. Therefore, rather than having a cookie cutter approach to evangelism and truth we need to study the cultures around us and develop mixed approaches. We need to nurture the ability to communicate truth to diverse worldviews which means we have to learn and enter into the worldviews that surround us. As we do, we can more intelligently adapt, innovate and contextualize our message and our method to be effective even when our audiences play by a different set of rules.

Our greatest weakness in evangelism is that we assume everyone around is pursuing truth according to our rules. And our failure to play by their rules is the main reason why our proclamation lacks power and relevance.

However, as cool as this is, Bruce Lee is not the originator of this "mixed" approach. Jesus is. All throughout scripture we see him presenting the gospel of the kingdom in diverse ways. To Nicodemus he says "you must be born again" - a metaphor linked to Nicodemus' theology as a descendant of Abraham. To the woman at the well he said, "I am the living water..." - a metaphor linked to the woman's spiritual thirst. To the rich young ruler he said, "sell all that you have...", to Mary "I am the resurrection..." and to the crowds "a farmer went out to sow..."

The diversity of metaphors and illustrations Jesus uses to introduce people to his kingdom are amazing. He is the originator of "mixed evangelism". And the pattern continues in the life of Paul. When he spoke to the Hebrews he used the old Testament. When he spoke to the Greeks in Mars Hill he used their own poets (Acts 17). But perhaps the strongest evidence of "mixed evangelism" is in Acts 15 and 16. In chapter 15, the Jerusalem council affirms that under the New Covenant circumcision is no longer necessary and is in fact "anti-gospel". Yet, despite this, in chapter 16, Paul circumcises Timothy as they prepare to evangelize the Jews. Neither Paul nor Jesus assumed that their audience was playing by their rules. Rather, they adapted their evangelism to the rules of their audience.

We as a church, if we want to remain relevant, must do the same. Let's stop assuming everyone is playing by our rules. Let's learn their rules, enter into their mindsets and value structures, and meet them where they are.

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
— Paul, the Apostle (1Corinthians 9:19-23)

 

Comment Questions

  1. Have you ever had an experience where you tried to share your faith and none of your arguments worked?
  2. If there was a resource that could help you develop a "mixed" approach to evangelism, what would it look like? (ie. book, course, videos, online class etc.)
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Pastor Marcos is a millennial Adventist pastor with a passion for Jesus, the narrative of Adventism and the relevancy of the local Adventist church. He pastors in Western Australia where he lives with his wife and children. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Why is Adventism Failing to Reach the Culture?

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Why is Adventism Failing to Reach the Culture?

That's the topic of this months podcast interview with faith and culture enthusiast pastor Eddie Hypolite. Listen below!

PS. The Pomopastor podcast is now on iTunes! Click here to subscribe.

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Pastor Marcos is a millennial Adventist pastor with a passion for Jesus, the narrative of Adventism and the relevancy of the local Adventist church. He pastors in Western Australia where he lives with his wife and children. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.