If we front and centre anything other than Jesus and the Word of God, we will be winning them to something much less, something deficient. What we communicate about Jesus and his Word matters because, if we front and centre anything else or try to win people by other means, that is what we have to keep them with. Not only that, but that is what they are really coming for.
The old, oft trotted adage is certainly true: what you win them with you win them to. We have to be clear what we are winning people with because that is ultimately what we have to keep them with. That is to say, we have to be clear what we actually want to win people to and then make sure that is what we front and centre.
In the church, the ever-present temptation is to win people with whatever will win them. It is to take something of a pragmatic approach to church growth. If people are more likely to come in because we do something or other, then let’s do that something or other in order to win them. Aside from being a principle that literally opens the door to any nonsense and ungodly activity so long as it brings them in, it actually doesn’t even work. It may get people in the door, but if they’re only coming for the thing, they ain’t coming because of Jesus.
I am reminded of some of the issues that cropped up in the earlier years of my ministry. The frequent refrain was that we effectively needed less Bible, less of the Word, and more of a bunch of other things that are more likely to bring people in and keep them. Perhaps, I was once told, if the Spirit so moved us we should ditch the sermon altogether and just spend the entire service singing. Maybe, I was told another time, we could limit the sermon to a 5-minute sermonette because 40 minutes of preaching probably isn’t that appealing. You probably should, someone once insisted, stop preaching about sin, Hell and judgement and all that because people don’t like that sort of thing and they may not want to come back.