CHARLOTTE, N.C. — To get people to attend his new church campus, Robbie McLaughlin is sending his message out to where the people are.
Next Friday, staffers from Next Level Church of Matthews will go to bars in the Ballantyne area of Charlotte to hand out shot glasses which ask patrons to "give us a shot" and bear the slogan, "Real church for real people."
The idea is to draw people to the Ballantyne campus, which opens next month.
McLaughlin is the pastor, and said he is confident that it will be controversial, but he said the goal is not necessarily to impress people who already go to church. He said it's to impress people who don't.
Next Level is a nontraditional church that encourages members to dress casually and snack on coffee and doughnuts during services.
McLaughlin said the idea has caught on, and in two years, the church has grown from a handful of members to more than 700.
I have so many problems with this philosophy of church growth for several reasons...and none of them have anything to do with the practice of going into bars to evangelize.
First of all, church isn't something that we should be asking people to "give a shot". The church should be something we should be asking the world to commit to. After all, the church is the body of Christ. I think Mr. McLaughlin should read this book.
Secondly, a church's goal should not be to impress those those who don't go to church. It's goal should be to impress God! When a non-believer enters our fellowship, there should be a level of discomfort because those around him are worshipping a holy God, and that unbeliever is not holy! There should be some measure of conviction. This does not mean we don't welcome the unbeliever into our church and attempt to make him feel welcome. We should be pursuing proper friendships with those who frequent bars, but we aren't bringing these people closer to Christ by bringing them to a church that tells them that church is all about themselves. I shudder to think about how many false converts these methods bring into the church.