Monday, February 27, 2012

The Country Club Church

Last week I attended a conference at a local church.  Many of the main sessions and breakout sessions related to local outreach, but a lot of it could (and should) be applied to international ministries as well.  Just like any other conference, there was good and there was bad.  There were speakers that I like(d) and those I think must be from another planet (and no, I won’t be naming names either way here).  I had no preconceived notion about some of the speakers and that made it a little easier to really pay attention to what they had to say.  (What’s the point in blogging if you can’t be honest, right?)

So on the second day of the conference I listened as a guy talked about “The Country Club Church” and I thought,sadly, “Right on, dude!”  (Because at this point we should not be having to have conferences to tell us to have compassion and to start loving like Jesus and, well, start doing what the Bible says.)

He talked about the lepers in Luke 17 and how, as they walked away from Jesus on their way to the priests, He healed them.  He didn’t require that they make it to the synagogue and sit through a sermon in order to be healed.  He saw their need and met it, right where they were.

It’s a never-ending debate in the world of ministry, I know.  And it’s something that I struggle with. 

“Bring the people to the church.”  “Grow the Church.”  You get the picture.

I know the importance of going to church and I believe in growing the Church (I’m talking about the body of Christ here).  And I absolutely believe that we should work to bring people into the fellowship that is the local church body.  But church isn’t what’s on the inside of the building.  It isn’t the pews or carpet or big screen tvs or drums and guitars or huge gyms.  It is the people.  And if we, as the Church, do not get out of our buildings and do something that is going to appear to be ridiculously bold, we aren’t going to reach anyone for the Kingdom.  And if we aren’t doing that, we have no right to call ourselves a church.

This guy said, “We’re letting demons have free reign in the alleys, in the strip clubs, etc. while we drive by on Sunday mornings trying to get to our country club church on time just to pray for them when we get there.”

DEMONS.  You know, evil.

And pray we do.  We pray that lives will be changed and souls will be saved and that we will be used to make a difference on this side of Heaven for eternity’s sake and I think that somehow we truly mean it because surely we aren’t intentionally praying for something that we do not mean, but then something happens.

God tells us to GO.

Go INTO the world.  That includes those places that we ride by on Sunday mornings on our way to church.  It includes those places that make us uncomfortable and freak us out.  It includes places in our own backyards and on the other side of the world.  He wants us to go INTO those places gripped by darkness, shine His light and help lead the people we’ve been praying for out.

It’s time to stop praying only from our pews and occasionally on our knees and start praying as we go INTO the world to reach the lost and hurting. 

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