Tuesday, March 16, 2010
The Church Isn't for Christians
Please forgive the rant that's about to occur. This is something I am extremely passionate about and therefore I tend to get a little fired up and high-pitched when talking about it (be glad you're reading and not listening). Anyway, here goes...
Jesus never intended the Church as a place for Christians to simply hang out. The Church isn't a place at all. The Church is people (you and me) who believe in Jesus Christ and because we do, we are sent together into the world to share the good news about Jesus with everyone else. Thus, the primary function of the Church is to reach the world. The Church isn't for Christians, it's for the world.
And so, we don't make decisions based on what we want and what we like. We make decisions based on what will effectively reach the people who aren't there. The Church doesn't exist to meet our needs. It exists as an avenue for us to meet the needs of others in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ.
The Church is not a social club. It is not a non-profit agency. It is not a social justice organization. The Church is the body of Jesus Christ. And if we're serious about being that body, then yes, we're going to help people. Yes, we're going to fight for the people who've been hurt by injustice. But, first and foremost, we're going to proclaim a message of hope in the name of Jesus to those who haven't yet heard or connected.
This means sometimes doing things that aren't our taste or interest. This means giving up our seat so someone new can sit in it, not claiming prior ownership. This means not getting so wrapped up in our preferences that we can't see the preferences of those we're supposed to be reaching.
I have a friend who went to a meeting last night and the person in charge of "older adult ministries" asked for suggestions about what event they should have for the older adults in their churches. What a ridiculous question! The Church isn't a bridge club or a bowling league. We're the Church. Maybe the older adults could get together and talk about how to make room for more teenagers to come. Maybe the older adults could spend time learning some of the music the teenagers like so they could worship with them.
We've got to get over the idea that the Church should suit our needs and instead start going out of our way and out of our comfort zones to meet the needs of those who don't know Jesus yet.
Rant temporarily finished.