The Going Into Church

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                           October 2, 2016

                                    

I’m about to go to Simla on a beautiful Sunday morning and worship and speak to the small gathering of God’s people at First Baptist Church.

Notice my language…”going to!”

In recent weeks I’ve been asking the congregation some guiding questions about who they are and what they are about. Without roping them like calves I’m seeking to lead them to the point where they are “a going church!” In essence I’m seeking to add two letters to their mindset about their church…from “going to” to “going into!”

It’s a challenge that most churches face. I compare it to businesses being mall-based versus amazon.com. Amazon came to me yesterday…on-line…and gave me a free Kindle book which I’ll read on an upcoming vacation. Amazon comes to me. I haven’t been to the mall in about six months. It is to imposing to me…parking, lines, trying to find one thing in the midst of hundreds of things, over-priced food at the mall food court! The last time I went to the mall was to get new “Roundstreet and Yorke” dress shirts at Dilliards during their annual Clearance Sale. It took great shirts that were marked down 50% from the already 60% off price tag to get me to go to the mall.

That is also the mentality of most people about church. It takes a Harvest Festival or a kid’s basketball program to get many folk to go to church. The language of the church, therefore, needs to be shifted to “going into.”

It’s interesting that the first church in Jerusalem, according to Acts 2:46-47, met daily in the temple courts, and they broke bread together in their homes. They had that “church connection” in the temple courts…although it was a bit different than our present day idea of what that means…and they met in the homes of the city. An important part of their faith was spent where people lived.

Last Sunday while I was at Simla my wife visited a new church that just recently launched. It is within walking distance of our home. She knew about it because our area has been saturated with signs stuck into every corner…right next to the “Vote YES for D20 Kids” campaign signs that deal with the new school bond issue. At this new congregation, meeting in a high school auditorium, she was taken back by the dominant point that the pastor was focused on…that if each person invited someone else to come the next Sunday, and someone else new the next Sunday, and on and on…then this new church would be the largest church in the city in a year. He seemed to be fixated on that, which still flowed out of the old mindset of getting people to go to church!

Scripturally, the body of believers…the followers of Jesus are to go into the world. If we trust that God knows what he is doing then we will understand that he will bring people into our lives, or has already brought people into our lives, who we can reflect Jesus to. It doesn’t have to be forced or manufactured. We don’t even have to have a pocket full of spiritual tracts to hand out. Reflecting Christ can simply flow out of our intimacy with Jesus.

It’s kind of like my face at the end of football practice each day. I leave practice and go to the store where I encounter someone I know. My friend says something like “You got some sun today, didn’t you?” I don’t have to say to him, “Did you notice that I got some sun today? Do you know what that means?”

The Going Into Church uses language that flows out of life and relationships. Kind of like what Jesus did!

Explore posts in the same categories: Bible, Christianity, Community, Faith, Jesus, Pastor, Story, Teamwork, The Church, Uncategorized

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