by Robert Aitken, Perth, Australia 2002
“To reach all the nations there’s only one way!”
The old school missionary ventured to say.
If you want to reach the people,
All it takes is church and steeple
In large buildings built on loans
Through laptop computers, mobile phones.
When they come, seat them in pews,
Surely their ears will hear the good news.
We’ve done it this way for years and years,
Reaching the people based on their fears.
The young man came in and said to the first,
Of all of your methods these could be the worst.
Your peoples and steeples, big loans and phones,
Sitting in pews each one of them clones.
Does it not matter what they look like at first,
You’ve starved their hunger and dried up their thirst.
People come in, to you all the same,
The old, the young and even the lame.
Do you really care for the mild and meek,
Or simply hope they’ll return next week.
I don’t like your tone the old man said,
Are you implying that my church is dead?
I’ll have you know, my brother and friend,
We do it one way and will to the end!
Once, long ago and in a far off land,
We built a house on rock, not sand;
There it stood all mighty and proud,
Today the bells ring, still just as loud.
This is church as it has always been,
You’ll do the same if you want to be seen.
But these folks are different from those you first knew,
Those others liked red and these ones wear blue;
These people eat chocolate and muffins galore,
They are different from those you reached before.
You must teach these people in ways they can see,
Or true disciples they will never be.
If they don’t drive cars and live in a house,
They are not weirdoes who probably eat mouse;
They may be different from you and from me,
Still they came from His family tree.
What are you saying the old man asked slowly,
That not all men are weak and lowly;
That some may stand on their own two feet,
Even if a different drum they beat
The old man trembled and sat in his chair,
How do we reach them and show them we care
How do we teach from the Word of God,
Without feeling funny, nervous or odd
And why would they listen to a word we say,
When we’re different from them in every way
It’s easy my friend and I’ll tell you how,
Throw out your methods and start again now;
Start with love, move into their ‘hood,
They want to show you and be understood.
Teach them the Word from beginning to end,
Then send them off to tell a friend.
Whatever you do they’ll do it that way,
The message is more than just what you say.
Keep them connected one to the other,
Then a church you will have… and then another…