A Whole New Take on Communion


I rarely discuss topical issues at Mike’s Place.  I have other forums for that.  Here, I try to stick Bible studies and issues of a theological/doctrinal nature.  However, those who are fortunate enough to know me well know that I am an opinionated news junkie.  Having stumbled across this story, I had to comment.   In addition to being a news junkie, I am also big on the free market.  There is no doubt God does use the free market to bless His people with good jobs and opportunities.  Our country itself  (and the lifestyle we enjoy) was built on a combination of Biblical ideas and (relatively) free markets.  So why is it a bad idea to physically wed the two?  What’s wrong with putting a McDonalds inside a church?

Well, on the surface, an idea like this should be appealing to me.  People have to eat, Christians should be in church, therefore putting a McDonalds in a church should draw people into the church.  The only problem with this way of thinking is something I wrote about in a previous study:

[Music] feeds a genuine need man has. Christians want to get to close to God and in our modern thinking, music is seen a means to that end. What Christians aren’t aware of is that’s a completely pagan thought – using means that appeal to the flesh to reach heaven. As Christians, of course we’d never use LSD or alcohol, but we think nothing of using music to help us touch the Divine.

In this case, though, it’s not music being used to satiate a fleshly desire or need, it’s a Big Mac, fies and a Coke.  Just like there may be nothing wrong with music, there is nothing wrong with a Big Mac, fries and a Coke.  But when you use those things as ways to lure people into your church, you are engaging in seriously deranged form of “evangelism.”  And it’s also disingenuous.  It’s a kind of bait-and-switch you’re playing on your “customer.”  They’re wanting a cheap lunch but you’re trolling for new church members.

While it is true that the early church had what they referred to as a “love feast” every week, that early pot-luck dinner was not used to draw sinners or non-members into the church, but rather as a way for church members to fellowship together and as a way to feed the poor members.  The early church understood something the modern church seems to have forgotten:  the church is a place for Christians to gather together; it is not a place you fill up with sinners.  That sounds counter intuitive.  We all want to win the lost, but that’s not the primary job of the church.  It is the job of the church to train its members to go out and engage in acts of evangelism, not necessarily to drag those sinners back to the church to let the church save them.  The church is the Body of Christ.  Why would a sinner want to be part of the it?  If church members are doing what they are supposed to be doing, they will go out, share their faith, lead sinners to Christ, then bring them to church as new converts.  Once there, these new believers will grow and mature in their faith through the preaching and teaching of the Gospel and through fellowship with other believers.

In case you think I’m wrong on this, check this out:

It was [Jesus] who gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God—a mature person, attaining to the measure of Christ’s full stature.  (Ephesians 4:11 – 13  NET)

The phrase, “the work of ministry” is important.  It refers to, as Paul wrote, building up the Body of Christ – making new Christians.  We don’t do that by tricking sinners into coming into the church with McDonalds meals or movies or hip worship bands or whatever.

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.  (John 12:32  NIV)

That’s Jesus talking there, and  He’s referring to His crucifixion.  The death of Jesus, and ultimately His Resurrection and Ascension, unleashed the incredible power of the Holy Spirit within all believers, making them veritable soul-winning machines.  Trouble is, most Christians just don’t know the same power that raised Christ from the dead resides within THEM.

No church needs a McDonalds in it to make it relevant.  All things being equal, a church will be full of soul winners, doing “the work of ministry.”

I’m not against McDonalds.  I’m not even against churches investing in businesses as a way to be good stewards of what they have.  But I am against churches using worldly methods to “promote” themselves in the community.  If a church has to do that, it’s doing it wrong.


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