Don’t Ignore the “Speed Limit”: How the Sufficiency of Scripture Should Make Us Patient

Fast growth is good, even desirable! But it appears to be unusual in Scripture.

Unbelievers see things more clearly than we think. They sniff out our attempts to market Jesus. They see through our sales pitches. They’re far more serious about their worldview than we give them credit for. And I think our ignorance of this fact offends them even more than the content of our worldview. Why do we carelessly condescend in trying to reach our unbelieving friends? We could list a few answers. Here’s one. We ignore the speed limit we see in the Bible.

 

As I was pulling into my driveway one evening, I noticed a group of my neighbors huddled in a circle looking at a postcard. As soon as I opened my car door, one of my neighbors yelled from across the street, with a slightly condescending tone, “Dave, do all churches do this?” Uh oh, I thought.

My wife and I had been building relationships with our neighbors for a few years now. Our friendships had grown while shoveling snow, walking dogs, and sharing meals. The Lord had given us many opportunities to talk about the gospel. We wanted our neighbors to know the grace and love of Jesus Christ. It hadn’t happened yet, but we keep praying, speaking, and enjoying their friendship.

So, this question alarmed me. I had a hunch what it was about. That summer, my neighborhood had been the focus of three churches’ marketing strategy. So I was beginning to wonder the same thing as my friends: Do all churches do this?

As it turns out, a nearby church plant brought up a missions team from the pastor’s home state. They rented a large white van and stuffed it full of people and postcards. “A van full of people with Southern accents handed these out,” a different neighbor said. With typical New England sarcasm, another said, “They stared at us through the window like they were on a safari. We’re the heathen animals of New England they’ve come to save!” They all chuckled. So did I.

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