Riding Bulls in Church
A few years ago, a preacher in Ohio rode a bull in the church building to get people to services. Christian News Network (May, 2015) reported, “Lawrence Bishop II, 48, co-pastor of Solid Rock Church in Monroe, announced last month in a video that he was going to ride the bull…” He said, “What God has laid on our heart to do is to buck two wild rodeo bucking bulls inside the church sanctuary…It’s a tool to get people to come in to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to stop the ‘bull’ in their lives of suicide [and] of drugs, and Satan—the ultimate bully—being exposed in their lives and then giving their hearts to Jesus.”
The article then went on to describe a similar gimmick in Birmingham, Alabama when a mega-church celebrated “the opening of its $26 million dollar, six-dome entertainment center, which features a 12-lane bowling alley, a basketball court, a fitness center, a banquet hall and cafe, a teen dance club, and an adult alcohol and smoke-free night club.”
It is unfortunate that Jesus and His apostles did not have enough sense to use these tactics in making disciples. Our Lord and Savior was not smart enough to realize that people would not listen to His gospel unless it was dipped in chocolate and nestled in layers of entertainment. Poor Jesus. He had no clue on how to win souls to Him. He had the crazy idea of taking His gospel into the world (Mark 16:15-16). What a foolish plan. If He was half as smart as preachers in America, He would have known that people cannot learn of His death and resurrection unless it is packaged in cotton candy and lights. But now that bull-riding and bowling alleys are in church buildings, we can know the Lord’s will. Right?
The truth is, those who use gimmicks to get people to church not only violate Jesus’ will on the work of the church, they never teach the truth about salvation. They don’t even have a clue about the Lord’s church (Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:4) and how to enter it (Acts 2:47; Galatians 3:26-27). If they truly knew Jesus, they would know that those who follow the Lord for carnal reasons will never be satisfied (John 6:26-27). These tactics never save anyone. They might hold people’s attention for a while, but down the road is another religion with brighter lights and bigger toys. Instead, Jesus tells His disciples to “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Our burden as Christians is not to entertain people, but to prepare ourselves to teach the life-saving gospel of Jesus. If speaking the truth in love won’t get the job done, it’s time we get a different job.