By: Rich Christiano
In the 1800's, CH Spurgeon had some interesting thoughts in his book called "Around the Wicket Gate." The "wicket gate" is the narrow gate of Matthew 7:14. I believe what Spurgeon wrote speaks to all of us today, especially in ministry. Whether you're a preacher, teacher, artist, actor, singer, filmmaker, whatever ministry you do, this applies. I will try to sum up what he wrote.
The movement in the arts and the church is to reach people by crossing over. (especially in films) Make things easy, don't be too preachy. Let's have nice feel good sermons, feel good movies and the such. Let's reach the mainstream!
I am not so sure Spurgeon would agree with this thinking.
Spurgeon says there are a myriad number of people just outside the narrow gate of Matt. 7:14. These are lost church members, intellectual believers and professing Christians. They are interested but have never really received Christ as Lord. And our churches are full of these people. But, what the modern day church wants to do is to spend all their efforts in evangelism trying to reach the liberals. You know, people that could care less about Jesus or the Bible. However Spurgeon notes that Jesus tells us in Matt 7:6 not to cast our pearls just to anyone. Instead, Spurgeon would say to focus on reaching people already interested in spiritual things. Try to reach the deceived church members first. Let's reach the people "around the wicket gate."
I believe the aim of all ministry should be to first please the Lord because without Him, we can do nothing. (John 15:5) It's not about how large your church is and how many members you have because it's not a numbers game with God. It's a question of who are you pleasing? We all want to enlarge our outreach, but we need to do it without compromising the prime directive which is to abide and please the Lord. Jesus said that he "always did the things that pleased the Father" (John 8:29) and we should be no different in our ministries. Since only God's Spirit can reach people than the goal of our life should be to please and glorify Christ with all that we do, no matter what ministry we partake in. So, if you preach, preach to please Christ, not others. If you teach, the same. If you make films, make them to please the Lord first. It's the only way to really reach people.