Church Planting Lesson #4 – Hope to see your a$% in church


When we first planted the church we produced some humorous ads to shake things up a bit.  The ads ran the gambit of appropriateness–all of them made me laugh.  We found that they were well received by the non-Christian culture and that Christians completely hated them.  We only mailed out a few one time, but most of the time we left them in the hands of our people to distribute to neighbors, co-workers, and friends as they saw fit.  There were ones that said, “A Church for people who pee” or “Catch up on your sleep, come to church.”  All of them were an attempt to break through the walls of misperception about church and church people.  We ran one or two in the paper and posted one on a bus.  The bus company was so impressed they actually made us a free sign to go with it.  I had one call from an 80+ year old Christian woman who told me I should be ashamed of myself, a few pastors who praised and criticized, and members of our church who loved and hated them.  

There were wonderful stories about conversations people started but we quickly became known as “that church” with “those ads.”  I’m not sure exactly what we were preaching or what they were hearing.  After several conversations, and some arguments, I decided to really evaluate whether or not we would produce such cards anymore.  Humor is a wonderful way to reach people, but it can also repel them.  In truth, as Mark Dever says, “You win people to what you win them with.”  I guess, even if we use humor, I want to make sure we’re known for the right things–namely, the gospel.
Below are some guidelines that I came up with once of a sermon of Redeeming Language.  Hopefully, you’ll use them to discern when and if to use humor:  

1.  Does the language or humor break down, as oppossed to build up and individual or group?
2.  Does it consist in inappropriate gestures that are dishonoring to the body?
3. Does it encourage acceptance of heretical teachings for false doctrine?
4.  Does it glorify sin, especially sexual sin?
5.  Does it minimize or make light of sinful behavior?
6.  Does it cause on to fascinate about sin?
7.  Does it cause a weaker brother to actively sin?
8.  Does it make use of culturally obscene or vulgar language that may offend?
9.  Does it make use of or reference to God or God’s creation for unholy purposes?
10. Can I say it, write it, or create it with a clear conscience?


Author: Sam Ford

Sam Ford is a preacher, planter, and pastor from the Pacific Northwest. He is currently pastoring Restoration Road Church in Snohomish, WA.

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