The title may be a bit unusual, but I think this is something we as spiritual leaders have to be very aware of. We stand and preach the Gospel in the hopes that those outside the walls of the church would come and be reconciled to God. This is a good work, and pointing people to Christ should be at the heart of every message that a pastor delivers. We stand as the mouthpieces of God and must declare His mercy and forgiveness to as many as we possibly can.
But in the midst of this a large number of people are neglected, those within the church. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or in this case an expert theologian) to determine that the church is packed with lost people. If you ever need proof that there are unregenerate churchmen, go to a business meeting or listen to people discuss the budget, worship style, carpet color, “those people” etc. What I’m saying is we have a widespread problem in our churches, that many who sit in the pews and sing in the choirs and dare I say preach the sermons are in fact lost. This is not gossip fodder, I am not speaking of anyone in particular but am making an observation based on observations.
Derek Webb talks about preaching the Gospel to one another in his album The House Show, and he even admits the complexity and seeming contradiction in this – that the Church must preach the Gospel to its own members? I believe it is something we must do, if nothing else for the fact that many we speak to on Sundays will not be part of the Wedding Supper in Heaven. We do this out of love for our friends and neighbors, we do this because we are compelled to by Christ Himself. It is not to preach down our noses at those we are near, but to draw them to Christ.
It is hard work to preach the Gospel to people who have been churchmen for many years, but until our churches are able to present the Good News (even when it is difficult) in all circumstances to all men in all places, we are going to continue to see churches plagued with issues and divisions that do nothing but cripple the ministry of the Bride. Our love for our fellow man should motivate us to share.
I hope on Sunday God gives me the courage to proclaim to a room full of people who have labored for Christ longer than I have been alive that we must be a Gospel-centered people as the Church and that the Gospel does not stop at the moment of conversion. Our conversations, our work ethic, our business dealings, our family time, our recreation, our giving, etc. should be grounded in the mystery and beauty of the Gospel.