The vision of a typical church: "boost church attendance next month by 100 people". The advertising campaign begins, the flyers are sent out, phone calls are made. Lights, camera...no evangelistic action, BUT the goal is reached. But how?
One might call it "sheep-shifting". It's typically one of two things.
- People who have been saved or have had some prior relationship with a church, but do not consistently attend a church decide to come for a time -OR-
- Christians from one church "shift" to the other.
How can I arrive at such a conclusion? Well, if there is no evangelistic outreach to reach those that are lost, what else can it be? The illusion here is that the church is growing by leaps and bounds with new people, when in reality they're not "new" at all to Christianity, just that church. It seems to be the church with the latest "buzz-factor" or event wins the swaying crowd...for now, anyways.
Until we, as a church, go beyond the church walls and decide to stop waiting for unbelievers to come to us, "sheep-shifting" is what we can expect. And let me tell you, that drives me about as crazy as that wacky optical illusion.