The Church must leave the building. She must get out of the confines of the local tabernacle and get out and do what she’s here to do.
Set the captives free.
Make much of the God-man Jesus.
Ransom the lost with the ministry of reconciliation.
She was never intended to stay locked behind closed holy doors for potlucks and Bible studies only. She was designed to be a living and breathing entity that is so full of love, the world can’t help but notice her radiant glory. Like an eagle that stays in the nest, she’ll never reach the heights of her splendor until she steps out of the comfort of what she’s always known.
You, dear Christian - are the church. We are the church.
If you were raised in church you learned the importance of choosing your friends wisely. This lesson had a neat and tidy metaphor that told you, “You can’t run with dogs without getting fleas.” or something similar to that. This is a perfect rule to give to a young and impressionable 8 year old. Not so much for an established 38 year old that is commanded to “Go into all the world”.
We should be able to have close friendships with those that don’t acknowledge Jesus Christ. These people shouldn’t just be peripheral hang out buddies, but full-fledged friends and comrades in arms.
These are our friends - not mere projects. These people should be in our homes and lives. They should know us, know how we like our coffee, where we like to eat, and what kind of movie we enjoy. They should know who we are when no one is watching.
People aren’t drawn to a person that sees them as a broken down car in need of fixing. They are drawn to love. They are drawn to acceptance. They will listen when you show them the value God has given them. They may not darken the door to your church, but they will listen to their friend.
What would happen if we stopped spending so much time inside the walls of our local church, and instead spent more time actually being the church to those around us? After all, we do still serve the God that leaves the 99 sheep to go and search for the one that wandered off into a gully.
Outreach is not an event. It’s a lifestyle. It has much less to do with Christmas Cantatas and far more to do with seeing people how Jesus sees them. It’s not about planned meetings, but unplanned opportunities to shine light whenever and wherever there is darkness and deception.
So how do we stay Kingdom minded but still have friendships with people that are estranged from God? How do we love the people, without becoming lovers of the world?
Here are 3 ways to start:
1. Get a hobby that has nothing to do with your church. Get involved in a local play. Join a volleyball team. Take an art class. Whatever it is that you’re interested in, go and do it. This will not only give you something to talk about, but will introduce you to people that you’ll never meet on Sunday morning. Do whatever it is that you do - but do it together.
2. Pray for God to show you the abundant opportunities that are in your hands every day. Every tired waitress that botches an order is a change to show the grace and mercy of Jesus. Every person in line, and eccentric co-worker is a chance for outreach.
3. Kids are the ultimate connection point. While you’re waiting through another recital/practice/soccer game, strike up a conversation with those around you and build a friendship. Make a playdate. Invest. Pursue.
We, as a church are the hands of feet of Jesus. He left a treasure that was worth his life in our hands. If we’re not doing the things Jesus did - what exactly are we here for?
The world is waiting to find out.