I was told by a minister that Kip McKean, considered the founder of the International Churches of Christ, had publically written that I was a “Friend” and “Sold Out” disciple in the mainline churches of Christ.
When I first heard this I thought that this would make me a target (the International Churches have been considered a cult by many religious groups). It made me a little nervous—because I know plenty of people who are proclaiming Jesus to hundreds of new people. I was converted to Christ by people who were active in what became the International Church of Christ and I have never deemed this group a cult. Kip has given me good advice in the past and even though he is considered controversial, he does believe that evangelism is something he not only should preach, but practice.
Then I remembered what one of my professors (Evertt Huffard at Harding Grad School) said. “Most of our ministers preach about evangelism but don’t do it.” I guess it bothers me that this is true. Now, years later, I have to agree with both of these guys. I have seen some of the ministry majors in college and seminary. I have seen many of our ministers. Some are “sold out”. I look forward to the future with some of the bright, dedicated, and loving young people. They bring joy to God and the many lives who are transformed because they broke out of their comfort zones and shared their faith. Others, unfortunately, are “sell outs”. They don’t put the discipline and time into both intellectual and spiritual development. They’d just as well spit on a stranger before they would talk with them. They have become skilled at redefining evangelism so that it doesn’t involve reaching people.
What are the differences between Sold Out and Sell Out?
Some of the ministers are leaders when it comes to evangelism. They set a good pace for the church and model missional lifestyle. If they are converts to Christianity, you can see that this impacted their lives. They are sold out to Jesus and the Missio Dei (Mission of God). They see that faithfulness to Jesus includes the call to evangelism (Mark 16:14-16; Matthew 28:18-20; and Luke 24:45-49). A lot of people get baptized where they preach.
Others are missional in language only, not their lives. They are sell outs. The mutual ministry movement in the churches of Christ called them “hirelings”, quoting Jesus’ in John 10:12. They spend more time convincing us they are important to churches, but they cause churches to stop growing. They are good at smoke and mirrors, but you don’t see the fruit in their lives. They talk mission but do not live it. The call to evangelism, in their words, is an option. However, when a church stops growing they get the axe, and complain. They accuse the church of selling out to success and numbers, but they don’t see that they are the sell outs.
I guess this seems extreme and if you’re reading this you might wonder who my target is.
My target is me.
I was a sell out a few years ago.
I loved the job and stopped making waves. I decided to be a good boy and stop bucking the system. I figured if people complained that I preached about evangelism and abuse too much, I should stop. Even though I knew God had called me to this—and opened the door to make advances against the forces of evil. I thought I would protect my family by listening to people who weren’t evangelistic. I thought older people, who didn’t ever bring visitors to church, must know better because they were older.
I was wrong.
Lori told me I was wrong. My son told me I was wrong. The people I left to fight evil without me said I was wrong. Kip told me I was wrong.
So I listened to God’s voice through them and we decided to be sold out, like we were before.
God spoke to me through the many faces at Agape Sunday. I think I’ve been listening to the wrong people.