I read about a Christian conference this morning that got my attention. It was right up my alley. It was on spreading the gospel more effectively using technology, something I’m very much into. It wasn’t too far of a drive from home, so that would cut my own costs significantly. The conference would be held on a Thursday and Friday only, so I wouldn’t have to miss any church services. And they had a slick website to promote the event. Everything about it looked awesome.
Until, that is, I started looking into the speakers. At first, I was quite impressed. “Wow,” I thought, “what a list of accomplishments! I could learn a lot from these people!” My next thought was, “Hmm…I didn’t know that person was a Christian.” Did a couple Google searches. “Oh, they’re not Christians.” Some of them were, but not all of them.
I think I can learn a lot from unbelievers. And I think it would be extremely beneficial to attend a conference led by unbelievers who know how to spread ideas effectively. But what got to me was that this was being promoted as a Christian conference in which we would learn how to share the gospel more effectively. I would expect to hear from people who have done that.
I’m not just ranting about this conference, though. I’m talking about the idea that churches think they need to hire professionals (often unbelievers) in order to accomplish the work of the church. Churches today hire people to play in their orchestras and to act in their theatrical productions. But can unbelievers lead in worship? Can unbelievers teach believers how to evangelize?
Churches (and conference leaders) that hire unbelievers are probably doing so because they want their services to be carried out with excellency. This is commendable. We should do all things to the glory of God. But if unbelievers are leading these services, they are not being done to the glory of God. We too easily confuse the external with the internal. Unbelievers are not worshiping God at all, but we are to worship God in spirit and truth.