How Did They Do It?
On Sunday mornings, our little church is working on Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church of God (the one called First Corinthians in the New Testament). We are in chapter six…and I found myself wondering how the church in Corinth would market itself to its community. If they took out an add in the Corinthian Column Newspaper what would it say? Would they say, “Come and visit us. Surely you would find one of our small groups to your liking. We have one group that follows Paul…another that follows Peter…one that follows Apollos…and even one that follows Jesus Christ. So come and support your favorite preacher!” Do you think that would get it done? Or maybe they would say, “Welcome to a church that not only accepts sinners but also accepts the kind of sin that even pagans won’t commit!” How would that go over? Perhaps they could print a flyer that would appeal to lawyers…something like this: “Are you an attorney? Come to our church and find plenty of work. Our members are looking for good legal representation as we take one another to court.”
As you read through this letter, you see that the problem-laden church at Corinth, who, Paul said, did not lack any spiritual gift, made it pretty difficult, by their poor behavior, to market themselves in any way to their fellow Corinthians.
Paul puts forward the answer to all their deficiencies Jesus Christ and Him crucified! Corinth would be hard-pressed to put themselves forward. But they were the perfect ones to put forward Jesus Christ and Him crucified. “See!” they could have said, “If Jesus Christ can save us, He can save anyone!” Now, of course, their sincere putting of the crucified Lord forward would have to arise out of sincere hearts that refused to accept the sin in their church. Their vision and their commitment to Jesus Christ and Him crucified would necessitate their swearing themselves to unending conflict with the sins in their own hearts as well as the sins in their church family.
Now…how do you think our churches today should market themselves?