Guerrilla Warfare and the Church


It doesn’t impress people when I tell them I am a pastor. It doesn’t impress people when I tell them I have a position at the local church. It doesn’t impress people when I can give proper exegetical, hermeneutical or theological analysis of the scriptures. Frankly, I don’t think it impresses people when they find out I’m a christian. Why? I believe we have ruined the true identification of what it means to be Christian. Christianity has become like an overbearing sour lemon drop (unless your into that sorta thing). Which is why the standard approach to sharing the gospel doesn’t work anymore. That is, informing people that they are sinful and in need of a savior and inviting them to church.

People aren’t interested in church anymore because that’s where money hungry preachers are. That’s where hypocritical church-goers are. That is where gossiping housewives are. That is where legalistic elders are. That is is where drama-heavy youth groups are. Church is off-limits because limits to sinning is off. Sinning is actually overlooked as long as it benefits the establishment.

Picture if you will. The British have lined up on one side of the field. The Colonists are lined up on the opposite side of the field. Each army have their muskets in hand and the eight-pounders are lined behind the infantry. The calvary is off to the side and the officers are on a hilltop overseeing the battlefield while the fife and drum corps are nearby to give signal.

The signal is given to commence!

The infantry line up within yards of one another. The British take first shot creating a hole in the left side of the wall of Colonists. As the British reload, the Colonists take their first shot. And on and on they go taking turns hoping that their respectful Minié ball found its target. In the end, thousands of soldiers are slaughtered in the name of war.

But what really won the war? It wasn’t their weapons. It wasn’t their fortitude. It was their approach. It was their guerrilla warfare.

The Colonists did not mass in front of the British but chose to sneak around and fire behind trees and stone walls. One of the greatest accounts of guerrilla warfare is Washington crossing the Delaware. On Christmas, of all days, while the Hessian army was celebrating, Washington crossed the half-frozen Delaware at night (who’d have thunk) and attacked with vengeance by the break of light the next morning while the Hessian army still lay sleeping in their tents half groggy from their celebration. They didn’t expect such a thing to happen because, as the British would say, it wasn’t gentlemanly to fight with such incivility.

Now let’s apply said analogy (bear with me). The Colonists are the Christians and the British are those who haven’t accepted the message of Christ; call them what you will; unsaved, sinners, Non-Christians, unbelievers, unchurched. They both march on the battlefield of life and take shots trying to overcome the other.

The real problem is that both sides are lined up with no protection, nothing standing in between them for cover. They are in the open air slinging their form of ammunition hoping it will knock the enemy off its feet. The Christians hail their scriptures. Those who don’t know Christ sling their cynicism.

The Christians consider their enemy are those who don’t show up on Sunday morning. Vice-versa, those who don’t know Christ know their enemy by those who do go to church (and show up at Golden Corral in a three-piece suit on a blistering Summer day, being rude to the waitress and loud because the whole church decided to show up with the exception of Aunt Faye who left church early because her roast was burning and the preacher was being long-winded). But I digress.

Those who don’t know Christ run or create a defense mechanism when approached by the Christian. The Christian rebuttals in anger and disgust because the one who doesn’t know Christ won’t just “get it and believe, and go to church, and get baptized, and sing the songs and quit cussing, drinking and smoking and stay home on Saturday nights.” So the fight continues without end.

But what won the war for the colonists can win the war for the Christians.

Guerrilla warfare.

What if church (as we know it with four songs, offering, announcements and preaching) was not the goal? What if telling (showing if need be) them about Christ and when the time comes, that is when the Holy Spirit sees fit to begin a change in their lives, we join the effort to make them disciples were the end goal? By infiltrating the enemy, it means going where they are, being with them and exemplifying Jesus in the midst. Not condemning. Not judging. Not pointing fingers. Not thumping them with bible. But being amongst them and showing them the life of Christ and how beneficial it can be to the human soul. What if we asked people to belong in community of believers before believing what the community believes? Disciples are made in the trenches of life, not the pews of the church.

I do believe we can make a greater impact in this war on Hell when we take a guerrilla warfare approach and infiltrate the enemy’s lifestyle and invite them to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). That means work with them, eat with them, play with them, live life with them and invite them, not to church, but to experience Jesus.

I’m just trying to find a more concrete way for people to experience Jesus and not a service on Sunday morning, for them to experience a life change instead of a schedule change. I am just convinced this is the way, guerrilla warfare.

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About Kevin Riner
child of grace, worshiper of Jesus, husband, father, Pastor of Village Church, author of Faith Debugged

2 Responses to Guerrilla Warfare and the Church

  1. KellyRBaker says:

    This is good. I think if we make disciples and then send them into the trenches, then they won’t fall away from God in a spiritually immature state. One of the problems though, is that the church stays in the four walls of the church for so long becoming disciples, that they never go out to make more. Thus the church becomes more of a club. I hope my point makes sense.

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