On Sunday night I went, along with a couple of CUers to the last night of the harvest outreach event at TSB Bank Area. There events featured a couple of popular Christian bands: the Newsboys and the Katenas, and a message form evangelist Greg Laurie. While a large number of people responded to the alter calls at the end of the events and I believe God was at work, I was nethertheless left with some issues about some aspects of the event.
My main issue with it was how very “chruchy” it felt. All the music was what would be considered “contemporary worship.” And while the main message delivered by Laurie was amide at non Christians, there was a lot of talk by other people was definitely aimed at the Christians present. While it was the Sunday night, which I understand often has a more "churchy" feel to it at these sorts of events, and the Meany Christians presents were obviously having a good time, I couldn’t help felling that this would feel very strange and in-groupy to any non church goers present, for whom the event was meant to b aimed at. Furthermore, it was also obvious that a large majority of the people present were church goes, maybe as much as 80% or higher.
So where does this leave us? Do we as a church in Wellington know how to reach the people in our city with the gospel in their language? It felt to me that we were try to reach them with our culture. I mean, the main drew card was the Newsboys, who while massive in Christian circles (well, they are a bit past there used by date now, but they are still well known) are unheard-of by theses outside it. If we want to reach the non- church goers in Wellington with the gospel, filling the TSB arena with Christians to listen to the Newsboys play a few of the “church worship” orientated songs is not the best way of doing it. Sure, a lot of people went up at the end, as I praise God for that. But I feel confident to predict that most of them were already church goers. Which, by the way, raises another issue: what are there so many people in Wellington churches feel the need to respond to the message at an event like this? Are there no opportunities in regular church services to do so? Do we even know how to preach the gospel to those going to our churches, or by we need a big American preacher to come and do it for us?
So my challenge to the church in Wellington is this: How are we going to build on the gains of the harvest 2007 event? How are we going to move forward, to reach the people in this city in their language? How can we share the good knows that Jesus died to forgive them of their sin and that he rose on the third day relevant to them?