Several leaders of my church and I attended a Stewardship Seminar this weekend led by Dr. Clif Christopher of Horizons Stewardship. It was a very helpful, informative event; and a trip well worth taking for the group I went with.
One of Dr. Christopher’s points that I particularly enjoyed was that a cross, a sign by which most every church represents itself, advertises changed lives. In this context, he told a story of stopping for food on a long drive. Hungry for chicken, he found a KFC sign and pulled in. He ordered Extra Crispy and was told they were out. He asked, then, for original recipe, and was told they were out.
This KFC (stands for Kentucky Fried Chicken) had no chicken.
The implication was clear: churches that have a cross anywhere in their signage that do not offer changed lives are as nonsensical as a KFC with no chicken.
I love his point! Churches are about following Jesus, and Jesus is about changed lives. What could be simpler?
Just like words out of our mouths, the intended message is not always the one that is received. Is it entirely the responsibility of the speaker, or the one (church) with the sign to perfectly articulate in ways that cannot be misunderstood? Hardly.
On the other hand, the first step towards returning the message of the cross to the understanding we Christians intend it to have is to be in the process of having our own lives changed.
Let’s try this for a while and see how it works!