I can see you scratching your head on this question. I can see it now … “Debby, we aren’t the church, we go to church.” Well, yes and no, but give me a chance to explain.
I’m not talking about church buildings, where groups of believers (and seekers) gather to worship and study God’s Word. I’m talking about you, the individual. What are you doing to minister and be the church to the helpless, hopeless, destitute, unloved?
I’ve heard the phrase for years – “the church is a hospital for sinners.” If that’s true, then why do I know so many people who have been hurt by the church, refusing to set foot inside a church again? Is it because some churches have become a hotel for saints or a country club for cliques? I’ve even heard the statement, “the church is the only place that shoots its own wounded.”
The church Jesus Christ described is not buildings, programs, or budgets. It is individual believers sharing the Gospel message in their own words, reaching out to care for the needs of others, to transform human beings into the image of Christ, without thought of self. Does being part of a church make us better or just busier? Does going to church affect who we fundamentally are? Do our well-crafted statements of faith about the power of the Gospel matter if nobody is really changing?
Sometimes I am completely undone by the simple goodness or raw courage I see in others yet so rarely experience myself. Everything from the care and pride the bagger at the grocery store takes in packing my groceries just right…to the kindness of a stranger who inconveniences himself to stop and help with a flat tire…to the courageous love demonstrated by Mother Theresa…to the radical life-style choices of St. Francis of Assisi…to the risk-defying leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr. … can leave me chastened to the core. I can’t help wondering, “Does what goes on in churches today turn out these kinds of transformed and transforming people?
Join me this year in getting out of the pew and into the game. Be transforming with each person you encounter this year.
“In such a fearful world, we need a fearless church.” (C.S. Lewis)