Once you have a crowd, you want to keep the crowd. You want to keep that back door shut; don't let anyone out. You like to have them coming back week after week, and even more of them. You don't want them leaving, because a crowd is success. That's the thing, isn't it? Getting a crowd, then keeping it. That's blessing. The bigger the better. Invite them. Market them. Promote them. Make them show up. Whole seminars and books and conferences and retreats are dedicated to drawing a crowd. I just thought that someone might call one of them the Ants to Honey Conference.
You can offer them things for coming. You can do special things for them. Special days. Big days. From A to Z. Anniversary Sunday. Big Sunday. Carnival Sunday. Donut Sunday, Education Sunday, Friend Sunday, Goldfish Sunday, Harvest Sunday, Ice Cream Sunday. . . . You want the lower class? Candy, toys, soda, and games. You want the upper class: Cappuccino, comedy, comforts, and conveniences. You want anyone? Pop Music. At least something fast paced, exciting. And lots of programs. Something for almost anyone. As long as it isn't exactly sinful. Don't offer things the Bible says are clearly sinful. And, of course, no drugs. Nothing that is harmfully addictive; only things that are addictive. The building should also be a draw. Build buildings that look like a place that people want to see and be in and to be seen in. Once with incredible architecture, stained glass windows, and amazing art. Now shaped like a theater with soft, padded pews, and lots of extras. Just get them there, get them in. Then Katie, shut and bar the door.
And then if they come, you've got to do something with them. You've got to preach your best, most fiery message to them. Or perhaps your most powerful, funny, entertaining routine/sermon. When you've got them there, you want to get them down the aisle. At least get them in the club. Make them feel a part. Create some suspense. Get them wondering what might happen next. Make it seem like a happenin' place, somewhere they want to be. Very easily, with this big crowd you could get a whole bunch of people "saved. "
Let's pause for a moment to consider what Jesus did with crowds. He healed people. Sure. He did miracles. Right. They flocked to Him. Yes. When they got there? Most of the time, He tried to get rid of them. Here's what He thought of them:
Matthew 12:39, "But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas." Matthew 16:4, "A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed."Jesus was not impressed with people who came for the show. He didn't try to reward thrill seekers. He didn't feed their flesh with more tricks and more things. He surely wasn't attempting to attract them that way. Here's what He did to a crowd:
In Mark, he spoke in parables so the crowd wouldn't get what He was talking about. In John, He told them that free meal time was over. When people said they wanted to follow Him; this wasn't new. He heard it all the time. When they did, this is the kind of thing that He said to them:
Mark 4:1, 2a, 9, 10, "And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land. And he taught them many things by parables. . . . And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. " John 6:1, 2, 60, 66, 67, "After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. . . . Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? . . . . From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?"
Matthew 8:20, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." Luke 9:60, "Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God." Luke 18:22, "Lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me."Quite a promotion man, huh? Think of Let the Dead Bury the Dead Sunday. Or No Place for Sleep Sunday. And then Sell All You Have Sunday. Or maybe Deny Yourself and Take Up Your Cross Sunday. Think any of those would work at getting or keeping a crowd? He would flunk a lot of personal evangelism classes today. The Lord Jesus Christ did not depend on those kinds of methods. He wasn't interested in a crowd. He wanted true disciples, true worshipers, and if we are to get those, we need to get them the way that He did.
If they didn't want Him and His message, Jesus wasn't going to try to keep them another way. He did miracles. They fulfilled prophecy, showed His compassion, and revealed Him as King and the nature of His Millennial Kingdom. Nothing and no one is greater than Jesus Christ. No one should think otherwise. No one should be encouraged to think any way else. People will, however, when our churches and their leaders become so consumed with crowds.