Monday, April 30, 2007

sometimes we wear pants

At Horizon Church of Towson, we are all going to the Towsontown Festival this weekend. It should be fun. We have a simple booth to set up on Saturday and the rest of the weekend will be mingling with friends and eating food.

Instead of having an involved booth this year, we opted to do t-shirts. A sign at the booth will say, "A church is not a building but a community of people who love Jesus and love people. Horizon Church is everywhere you see these t-shirts." That's it. We will hang a few of our t-shirts so people can identify us but most of the time we will be mingling among the rest of the folks at the festival. For us this is a way to show that the church should be present out in the world, rather than huddled back at our little space.

The t-shirts will say "Horizon Church of Towson" on the front with our logo. On the back they will say, "Sometimes we wear pants." This slogan will be sure to spark interest and conversation. It already has.

This slogan is our way of saying that we are a casual community that tries to love people where they are. Essentially we are saying, "Sometimes we wear pants. Sometimes we wear shorts. But at Horizon Church, we always come as we are." But its a whole lot more fun and will spark a whole lot more conversation by just leaving it at, "Sometimes we wear pants."

I am looking forward to this weekend. I am excited to be out among festival foods and music rather than stuck behind a booth. I am excited that we have a t-shirt that reveals the inclusive and good-humored nature of our community. I hope that people who are skeptical of Christianity will see those shirts all around the festival and see that they would feel at home in a community like ours.


At 7:59 PM, Anonymous jason edwards said...

Sounds like a cool idea. Have fun!

At 10:01 PM, Blogger ballofdirt said...

Here is some food for thought from Charles Spurgeon around 1860.
"The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them......providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in Scripture as a function of the Church.......The need for biblical doctrine, so understood and felt that is sets men aflame."

Just something to chew on.

At 10:16 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Spurgeon was awesome. And that quote is great too. I also get frustrated with churches that end up doing a show on Sunday morning rather than worship. Entertainment is not our goal.

When I think of what it means for us to be out in the midst of people with our shirts on at the festival, I am reminded of another great quote. This one is from the apostle Paul:

"Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jew I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law(though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law(though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all of this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings." 1 Cor.9:19-23

At 11:01 PM, Blogger ecclesia said...

I have to agree with Mark on this one as I struggle with this all of the time. I know we are to be out in the world, Scripture calls us to do that. Maybe someone can help me with where, I can't seem to find it, but I think it said something about how we are to go out into the world but without indulging in worldy things. I do know in James it warns us against being friends with the world. Anyways, if we aren't out there among the world, how do we even begin to show others who Christ is?

On the contrary, ballofdirt, I do think there is some credit to what you're saying as well, and I see what you are trying to say, and I guess I agree with both of you on a very balanced scale. I'm going to use drinking as an example. ballofdirt, I do understand some of the issues that have occured in the past about alcohol and so forth within your church and not that I agree with your pastor to that extreme, however I do agree we are called to be holy. So Mark, as a church, as we go out into the "world" at the Towsontown Festival, I do sincerely hope and pray that people have that in mind at the Towsontown Festival as I remember just a few short years ago can also be one big drinking fest for some. I do sincerely hope that those who attend the church, wearing these shirts, will go there realizing that if they want others to see Christ in them, they have to look "different." I'm not at all saying drinking is bad, if someone has a beer, again, I don't agree with the no drinking policies that some denominations follow, I just know that we should be careful who we choose to drink in front of if we want to look "different." Mark, I'm not knocking any of this, I love the idea Horizon has come up with and I hope to be a part of it, I just pray everyone exercises caution, that's all.

With all of that being said, I think it's important that Horizon Church become a part of the Towson Community as a whole to show others that they can come into this church, just as they are, but it's when they come through the doors that discipleship begins and they really do get to hear God's Word. I almost don't think it would be beneficial to just have a booth and hand out slicks or just start preaching from the Bible. I don't know, I guess in some circumstances it does work, I've heard stories, but most people look at stuff like that these days as just another "gimmick." Jehovah's Witness hands out fliers and they preach and Mormon's hand out fliers and they preach, and it just keeps going. I believe we reach out and touch people's lives by showing we are united as a community and we lovingly bring in the lost and teach them and train them and show them love with the hopes that Christ is doing His work in and through us, thus saving another soul.

Jesus ate with tax collectors and he drank wine but did this in a holy and perfect way. Who knows what could come out of this. I went to a missions conference in Baltimore City two years ago when I was working in youth ministry and it's amazing the conversations you can get into with someone by doing things like this. We took a different approach at SEMP, but these T-Shirts could spark a conversation, and who knows, one of us might find ourselves sharing the gospel with someone right there at the festival in the beer garden or at another booth. When I was at SEMP in Baltimore City, all it took was handing out water bottles to strike up a conversation about Jesus. I was even a witness a few times and heard many testimonies where people were led to Christ through that experience.

Ballofdirt, please just pray that God will use this as an opportunity to help bring glory to His kingdom. I also have to believe, that if our we go out there with our hearts in the right place, God will us it somehow.

At 11:33 PM, Blogger ScottJ said...

The following is for those that think what we are doing on Sunday is some kind of gimmick to entertain people.

Four years ago this week a girl I worked with invited me to come to Horizon. She did not know that I was at one of the lowest points in my life and that I felt that there was no way out. She just got talking to me and invited me. I really was not looking for Christ, I was looking for some friends that would take an interest in me and just basically care about me.

When I got there people came up to me and talked to me. I enjoyed the music and the message was alright and we went to lunch and I went home. The next week the same and the week after that the same. Then I met some more people and we began to hang out at other times other than just Sundays. Then after about three months the same girl said lets start getting together with another couple and some other people on Monday nights and hang out and share our lives together.

So we formed a link group. Yeah we talked about the Bible some but mainly we just shared our lives together. I began to experience genuine friendships and realized that these people cared about me despite my faults. As our friendships grew and our relationships got stronger I felt like I belonged to a community of people that was living life the way it was suppose to be lived. I felt apart of something amazing. I wanted more and I wanted to know what it was that made this group of people so awesome. I soon realized that it was their love of Jesus Christ.

See I did not become a Christian because someone preached the Gospel to me, I became a Christian because Jesus used these friends to show me His love through them.

Anyone can read and quote scripture. I thank God because He put people in my life that actually lived scripture.

At 11:41 PM, Blogger Mark said...

ecclesia wrote: "who knows, one of us might find ourselves sharing the gospel with someone right there at the festival in the beer garden or at another booth"

I also hope this is the case. And as Scott said, the best way to share the gospel is to just share our lives with people. If our lives point to Jesus, then all we need to do is be honest with people and share our lives with them. The Holy Spirit will take care of the rest.

At 8:48 PM, Blogger ballofdirt said...

Wow, Why is your congregation so defensive? I just shared a thought, one that I have used when I go out and wittness, or look at a new chuch for someone. Many churchs are more worried about entertaining people to keep them in, than trusting the Precious Pearl, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One problem with that is the church will have to keep coming up with new entertainment to keep them in. I have listened to a couple of Mark's sermons and found no problem. We do the same kind of thing up here a couple times a year in the community. I would be courious what fruit you have seen Mark. I have not seen much up here at our church, people don't seem to understand they need a Savior, just handing out cold water on the 4th of July or free hot cider and donuts at the Fall Festival. We will keep trying. Me I prefer doing what Jesus did, except He was more direct.

The Necessity of Preaching
Suppose that we do not preach the gospel, and warn the wicked man, so that he turn not from his iniquity, what then? Hear this voice: “He shall perish, but his blood will I require at thine hand.” What will my Lord say to me if I am unfaithful to you? “Where is the blood of those people who gathered at Newington Butts? Where is the blood of that crowd which came together to hear you speak, and you did not preach the gospel to them?” Oh, it were better for me that I had never been born than that I should not preach the gospel! “Woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel” of Christ, for men perish where there is not the Word of God!

From Spurgeon Gold

At 10:06 PM, Blogger ecclesia said...

I just wanted to say I didn't sense anyone being defensive, I don't know. At least when I commented, I wasn't trying to be. I think I said this before in one of Mark's other posts, I just get on my soapbox on these blogs. Haha! I just enjoy the conversation and I sensed that from Mark and Scott's responses as well. In my mind, they were just clarifying the purpose of what's happening at Towsontown Festival. I was just giving some of my own feedback in my comment. Now I'm looking back on all of the comments and I see how you were just throwing out some food for thought. I guess we've all been trying to say the same thing or at least have the same goal. We're all just different in how we communicate that. It's amazing the different personalities God has all blessed us with. Ballofdirt I want you to know I do listen to what you say and try to take all comments into consideration and thought. These blogs are hard in that we can't read people's tones. Oh well. We just make do.

I do see what you are saying now and I agree with you. I've seen the stress involved in trying to "entertain" the crowd instead of just simply teaching the gospel and living it as well. We live in a society that wants to please everyone, and everything has to be PC and we can't offend anyone. What I see in Scripture is that Jesus did offend people, and it wasn't because of his attitude, it was simply because people didn't believe Him, but it never stopped Him. He never held back. He kept preaching truth, hard truth. How sad it is for those who just didn't want to accept it. Obviously we don't set out to offend people, but we shouldn't hold back truth for fear of offending,which you are right, many seeker-sensitive churches do that. I've even experienced it first-hand. However, with that being said, it was that same seeker-sensitive church that helped me become a believer. Unfortunately I could only go so far in the church and I needed more than what the church could provide. Churches need to do more than bring people in, they also have to grow the people they have and that's by good sound teaching, accountability, and challenging people. Jesus challenged the crowds. I want to be challenged. The more I've been reading Scripture the more I've been realizing the importance of Scripture and how important it is in our lives. God has been teaching me so much in the last few weeks and I feel like I'm working on a breakthrough and I'm sure when it happens, I will be anxious to share it with the world.

Okay, so I went off on another one of my tangents, sorry. I've just been doing a lot of reading and searching and God is revealing. I enjoy listening to all of you. It's you guys and these "silly" blogs that help me think and challenge me to get that Bible out and really search what I believe. Bring it on!!!!

At 10:09 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Yeah, sometimes we don't see much fruit from being out in the community in terms of people coming to know Jesus.

Many times it feels more like we are planting seeds than harvesting fruit. We become present in the community. We serve the people around us. We imitate Christ.

I think of what it must have been like for Jesus. He always had crowds around him, yet only a few decided to truly follow him and become disciples.

As He was among those crowds, I imagine that his heart broke for the people around him. He just loved being around people. Yet at the same time, he knew most of them would reject Him in the end.

The surprising part is that the people who most liked to be around Jesus were the "sinners" and the prostitutes. The people who least liked to be around him were the "holy" people... the preachers and teachers.


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