Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Still a good idea, a few days on.

A few days ago, I mentioned Peter Jensen's good idea.

It's still a good idea; one of the best. Giving a free Bible to people in Sydney Diocese has all sorts of potential to grow the church and bring glory to God.

Most important reason: It’s the word of God alone that grows the church—that’s basic. So looked at from a theological angle, to give people the word of God is to give the hope of bringing them into the church family and most importantly, relationship with the Lord Jesus.

Then when you look at it from the point of view of giving a gift, it’s a good thing to do also. It establishes friendly contact with strangers. It spurs the gift giver into making that contact and building on it. It is the best sort of gift, because there are no strings attached, no expectation of receiving any payment or gift in return, and if used for its intended purpose will give eternal life.

Arguing the economics of the operation really is a secondary question, especially when the hoped-for outcome is somewhat imponderable. You throw a lot of seed around in full knowledge that some of it will fall on the path, or rocky or thorny ground. If the seed you were throwing around was better child-care programmes, provision of car-parking spaces, or amped-up music, you might well think twice about using such things as tactics to grow the church.

In comparison to alternatives, I personally could handle the idea of 99 mulched Bibles for one that was read and responded to. Mulch is good recycling anyway, and imagine the bad uses the paper might have gone to otherwise.

And the giving of the Bible in no way precludes you from other ways of speaking the truth in love, or living out what you believe by showing kindness in other ways.

I would also like to think that certain areas of Sydney Dio would receive priority attention in this project. Let’s doorknock or letterbox poorer and Muslim areas before we do the leafy North Shore. They can buy their own mulch, and perhaps even have money to spare to think of buying Bibles to support the mission of the church in poorer areas.


Michael K said...

Gordo - lay off the leafy north shore! It needs bibles too. I hope that the churches there see their rich anglo neighbours as needing to worship Jesus just as much as poor muslim ones in other parts of the city. So yes, let the north shore church give to poorer areas - but let it also see the harvest field it is placed in. Remember it is impossible for the rich to enter the kingdom of God - lets not make it harder or start thinking they are any less deserving of grace

Gordon Cheng said...

Fair comment, Michael.

I apologize to my leafy north shore friends.

Gordon Cheng said...

PS That said, they are more likely to have Bibles already sitting on their shelves at home, and to have had exposure to them, than Sydney Muslims.

Michael K said...

All those leaves make for great mulch.
I think a couple of the strengths of the proposal are that:
1. it is more than just bible distribution - as fantastic as that would be - it aims to make a connection between Christians and not yet Christians
2. This means each church (even leafy ones) will need to think about how to connect with their community. One of the great suggestions coming out of Synod has beeen the 'Adopt a block' scheme in Wollongong where church army plant is visiting the same bloks week after week after week. From this they've gained trust, provided genuine Christian charity through Anglicare, and had many come to a new church who'd never been to one before. Obviously you need to work out what will work at your church and it is contemplated some larger wealthier churches can help smaller struggling ones but it is encouraging all to be on mission.
When 60% of the city don't know a Christian who goes to church then we need to connect