People ask me all the time, “Pastor Slick, how do we grow such a wonderful church like yours?” To this question I answer immediately, “It’s the communion!”
The communion time in our services is vitally important. For years no one has recognized the potential that this behemoth of an outreach has to offer. It’s just like the renowned preacher Anton LeVay says in his book “The Devil Speaks”. “In order to perform the supernatural, you must first be able to perform the super normal.”
The first thing I did was ask myself, “What do people eat at home?” To answer this question, I took a poll of four hundred average Americans. It was very interesting, but I didn’t find unleavened bread or grape juice anywhere near the top ten percent of the foods that are commonly eaten. What was right at the top of the list was root beer, and in a close second, Twinkies.
I realized then that it was time for a change in our churches. So I did it. One Sunday morning when we gathered for worship, I used root beer and Twinkies instead of grape juice and unleavened bread for communion. The results were tremendous and the rest is history. In all my years of preaching I had never seen such excitement over the body and blood of Christ.
In no time at all the pews were filled from the front of the church to the back. People drove from miles around to worship with us. Homeless people and bums, who were previously unfamiliar with the church, walked into our service right off of the street.
Perhaps the most amazing thing was the effect that this contemporary communion had on our young people. For the first time they were awake and attentive during my message. They were so “on fire” for the Lord that they couldn’t sit still! There’s nothing more exciting than preaching to a roomful of spirit-filled children.
As great as all these things were, some of the original members of the congregation began to have objections. As people all across America started implementing my contemporary communion plan, they too began hearing complaints from some of the older members of their congregations. I couldn’t believe what some of them were telling me!
I have found that in order to maintain a steady growth in the church it is necessary to shoot these Satan filled ideas down as soon as they raise their ugly heads. I found that if left alone, these ideas and the legalistic old people that spread them can severely hurt church growth.
I hear lots of arguments from these “legalistic” brethren. “But pastor Slick,” they object, “didn’t Jesus instruct us to use bread and wine for communion?” To this I respond by pointing out the fact that I am a Southern Baptist pastor, and I know the Bible better than they do. I then instruct them on what Jesus really taught in the Bible. He said that “it’s” all about our hearts, and that we are to love and accept anybody no matter what.
After realizing this fact, we can see that communion is about the heart. Jesus doesn’t really care what we use for communion as long as our hearts are right. After all, I thought all food was the same.
I’ll say it again, all food is the same! God has said numerous times that no food is evil. Just look at Peter in the book of Acts, when he sees a vision of a sheet with all types of animals and a voice that tells him to “take and eat”. Peter is worried because, just like our legalistic brethren, he was only concerned about being “right” all the time. God sets him strait, and tells him that “Nothing I have made is unclean.” Acts didn’t mention it, but I’m sure if some of us saw that same sheet today, it would have Twinkies and root beer in it, right along with the pigs and lizards.
In regards to the type of food Jesus actually used at the last supper, that is up for debate. I like the way the “New Amplified, Revised, Manipulated, Standard, African, English, Aramaic, Catholic, Holy Friends, Apostolic, Living then Dead then Living,” version of the Bible puts it in 1 Corinthians 11:23:
“What God told me, I’m passing on to you now, that on the same night that the man Jesus was betrayed he ate supper and it was mmm-mmm-good. He took some food, and then said the blessing. Then he looked up at his disciples and said, “Take this food dudes, and eat it, and while your eating it, think about me and how my totally awesome body is about to be smacked down for you.” Then, he passed out the drink the same way he had passed out the food, and said, “Every time you drink this, think of my blood that I’m about to pour out for your sins. This will represent a new way to spread my testament.”
We can clearly see by a close examination of the above text that there really is no need to constrict the act of communion to any one type of food or drink.
If you point out these solid biblical proofs to the nay-sayers of contemporary communion, and they still cause you trouble, you should challenge them to find scripture that says only grape juice and crackers should be used in communion.
Perhaps the “legalistic” brother should consider the last time he read any verses in the Bible that outlaw root beer or Twinkies. If he recalls any, it would be a surprise to me. I’ve read the Bible many times, and never found one verse that says anything at all about root beer or Twinkies.
I think the real reason these old people have such a problem with my new “contemporary communion” plan is that it takes the power away from them, and puts it in younger hands. They are so used to having things their way, but now they have to sacrifice their comfort to accommodate the growth of the church and they don’t like it.
These people are very legalistic. They try and use the Bible right down to the very letter to bind and box others into a set of moral absolutes. How dare they!
These people are hypocrites. They preach against root beer and Twinkies, then go strait home and eat them. They also claim to know and love the Bible, yet they can’t provide one single verse that claims root beer and Twinkies are evil! How dare they!
These people obstruct the growth of the church. They hinder our attempts to implement contemporary communion. They scoff at our attempts to bring non-Christians and the un-churched into our services. They abhor the way we form our contemporary communion around the needs of children and the un-churched. How dare they, how dare they, HOW DARE THEY?
When trying to make your church grow, there will be loses. There will be those who walk away from you. You need to realize that the changes you implement will help determine which type of person leaves, and which type stays. Sometimes it’s better to sacrifice these old legalistic brethren, and let them leave, for the good of the church.
In closing, I would like the prospective contemporary communion church to consider what the book of Acts has to say about David. Acts 13:36 tells us that David was purpose driven: “When David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he died.” He served God’s purpose “in his own generation.” The fact is, we can’t serve God in any other generation except our own. Ministry must always be done in the context of the current generation and culture. We must minister to people in the culture as it really is, not in some past form that we may have idealized in our minds.
I hope that I have stretched your vision, and your faith. I especially hope that you will share everything I’ve said with as many other people as you can. We need to spread my word around. If you are ever in doubt about how to carry on in your church, I have an abundant source of information for sale about my contemporary communion plan. (You can purchase your copy in a Christian bookstore near you).
Also; coming soon: “Contemporary Baptism.” Is your church dying because no one wants to climb slowly into the baptistery? Well with my new contemporary baptism plan, you’ll find yourself hurtling towards the baptistery at seventy-eight miles per hour, ten miles and hour faster than the fastest slide at Water Country USA. People at my church are getting RE-baptized by the hundreds, PRAISE THE LORD!
Pastor Slick Lure’in
I know my name sounds like brother Rick Warren, but, I assure you, there are no similarities between us!