Invitation and simple communication
I was able to speak to Pastors of the Xhosa people in a township called Gugeletta in Cape Town. Before me I had watched another speaker trying to communicate to get a message across to these African Pastors and then it was my turn. I felt confident in the message I was bringing but I was getting a lack of response. The jokes that work in every other place died a horrible death. Whilst I was speaking a man walked in from the street and went up the aisle sat in the throne at the top of church and then walked towards a cross and started bizarrely enacting a prayer around the cross, every eye watched this man, whilst I vainly carried on. Eventually the man after about 2 minutes walked back down the aisle and the implacable faces showing no emotion returned to me. I decided to abandon my normal flow in the Seminar and speak directly into the problem that I have found every church has and that is the fear of inviting. As soon as I did this, I started to see the first sparks of life behind the implacable mask I grew more direct and all of a sudden they welcomed the message into their hearts and minds.
My language inadequately fails to communicate how I saw those Pastors respond that day, but it was in simple direct communication that spoke to the problem. We had diagnosed their problem correctly, but I had been communicating it wrongly in words for which it was difficult for them to relate. In the same way words and phrases such as justification, sovereignty of God, the good news, intercession, and sacrifice are meaningless and often dare I say it counterproductive to the generation in the west. Jesus was prone to simplicity at times, he said follow me, come and see. We over-complicate but Jesus spoke directly of His Father’s invitation in words that were understandable. Perhaps not as simple as that but here is the question I am trying to get a million Christians to ask their non-church-going family and friends
“Would you like to come to church with me?”