There was another terrible gun tragedy yesterday. This time, though, the Facebook posts have been slightly different. Yes, there are still the politicos who demand full disarmament on the one side and arming every man, woman, and child (with careful screening and gun safety training) on the other. And there was the typical pouring out of genuine compassion from some, and the typical “Please Pray” platitudes from others.

But this time there were posts calling for Christians to stop praying and start doing something. The implication was to incite “real” Christians to take a stand, to demand legislative change, and to get involved in being the change.

To those of you who regularly read The Effective Church Group’s posts, what follows will be a bit of preaching to the choir. But if this post somehow gets shared or boosted and you’re not a regular reader, well … this may be for you.

1. Christians Must Never Stop Praying

That should be a “Duh!” to everyone, Christian or not. Praying is a part of a faithful life. But praying isn’t just “Dear Santa – I mean God – please deliver the following … ” Praying is meant to be conversation, a dialog, and that means we need to shut up and let God get a word in edgewise. If we listened more and talked less, the rest of this blog would probably be unnecessary.

2. Legislation and Lobbying Will Not Curb or Cure Social Ills

The saying, “You can’t legislate morality” has been proven over and over and over again. And yet, some “Christians” seem to think that doing the same thing over and over again will bring different results.

In the 1920s, Christians were very involved in trying to legislate morality with Prohibition.

Dr Phil: How’d that work out for you?

In the 1940s, Christians by and large were very involved in trying to legislate morality through separatism (and by promoting pacifism) regarding WWII.

Dr Phil: How’d that work out for you?

In the 1960s, Christians took up a new cause … to legislate morality by banning abortions.

Dr Phil: How’d that work out for you?

In the 1980s, Christians by and large came out “against” homosexuality, and more recently, equal marriage.

Dr Phil: How’d that work out for you?

There’s a saying that those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. I don’t think studying history is the issue. All this activity has been a ploy, an excuse, a reason to avoid doing the ONE THING CHRISTIANS ARE CALLED TO DO.

3. If You Want to Curb and Cure Our Social Ills …

… then get busy doing the one thing that’s more important than dealing with institutionalized poverty, injustice, ism’s, and all other bad behaviors.


I don’t mean relaunching ineffective Sunday school classes. I don’t mean launching new small groups. And I certainly don’t mean for pastors to step into their pulpit and start pointing fingers saying, “You need to …”

What I do mean is that it’s time to get serious about the Great Commission. About making new disciples. To engage in evangelism, proselytizing, conversion, witnessing, testifying, and all those other non-politically correct words.

If the church hadn’t got so wrapped up in “doing church” 1850 years ago right up until last Sunday, and instead if the church got focused on disciple making (making disciples who make disciples, not making disciples who hold Christmas bazaars to raise funding for foreign and local missions so no one has to actually get their hands dirty with faith sharing), then this world really would be a different place.

If we’d spent the last hundred years focusing on changing lives rather than changing laws, then there would be less racism, less gun violence, less terrorism, less poverty, etc.

Jesus was very, very clear. There will always be poverty. There will always be horrible things happening. But instead of telling his followers to go ye therefore and lobby the Roman government to abolish slavery, to ban capital punishment, to honor women’s rights, and to develop a governmental welfare system, he told them to get busy with the thing that really matter.

Go ye therefore and MAKE DISCIPLES.

If you want to change the world, start by changing lives. It’s the only cure for all our social ills. And the church is uniquely equipped to make that happen.

4. A Final Note

Pastors, if you haven’t had a conversation with an unchurched person about serious spiritual things in the last week, then today is the time to make a change. Get out of your office right now … even if the congregational bully, the clerk of session, the council president, the board chair, the deacons, the DS, or the Bishop whines about it. You can’t make disciples sitting in your office. Get out of there and go make some new disciples. If you’re not modeling personal evangelism and disciple making, then you’re failing at your #1 job in the church and in the kingdom. (Take note: this is one of the core reasons most US churches perform less than 1 adult conversion baptism each year … even the pastors have disengaged from the church’s prime mission.)

Finally, if you really have no idea how to do evangelism in today’s culture (knocking on doors and asking people if they know Jesus is NOT effective evangelism in today’s world), then here are three resources:

  1. I’m teaching an online class in evangelism for the Mid-America School of Ministry. If you’re up for academics that will change your life, this is a good place to start. Find out more and register here:
  2.  I wrote Hitchhikers’ Guide to Evangelism, a primmer on culturally relevant evangelism. You can check it out here.
  3. I created a DVD training on cultural evangelism. You can grab it here.