I just posted on Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones and his view of what the church needs to pull out of its slump. “The church was to advance, not by approximating to the world, but rather by representing in the world the true life and privilege of the children of God. The fundamental need was for the church to recover an understanding of what she truly is.“
Now Tullian Tchividjian has a great post that reinforces this thought. Tullian quotes Sinclair Ferguson:
Doesn’t Jesus teach us here [John 17:20-23] that His single greatest evangelistic agency is the church? And notice –I think this is significant –not the church simply as a random collection of individuals who have been converted, but the church as a new, counter-cultural community in which the fellowship of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit comes to expression in the unity, and community, and joy, and sense of the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ among His people.
That’s the reason, you know, in the New Testament there’s hardly any instruction whatsoever about how to be a witness. And by contrast, in our evangelism manuals all the emphasis lies on ‘How can you as an individual be a witness?’ and ‘Here are the questions you need to learn to ask.’ Now what’s that a sign of? That’s a sign of the bankruptcy of the church, because when the church is full of the power of the Holy Spirit what happens is what Simon Peter describes in 1 Peter, chapter 3–that you’re in a situation that you need to be ready to give an answer for the hope that’s in you.
When the church fails to be the church, individual Christians need to learn how to ask questions that will make ungodly people think about godly things. But when the church is the church, the people of God simply need to answer the questions that the very character of the church is prompting the world to ask.
It’s much harder actually. Becoming a counter-cultural community is a lot more work than running a program. It’s also easier since it’s much more organic and an overflow of who we are.
By the way, if you don’t subscribe to Tullian’s blog, you should check it out.