I was having a conversation with some peers this week when of them said something along the lines of:
We have got to work to get people to come to the church.
Okay, so I don’t know what about me stuck out, but the more I thought about that statement, the more bothered I became. My initial thought was why we assume that people must come to us for salvation. Last I read the end of Matthew, the Great Commission was directed at us and said “Therefore go…” not, “Therefore have them come…”
But that leaves me the question: what does it mean to be the church? Is church what we do? Who we are? Both? Neither? My peer seemed concerned that people needed to come to the church to hear the message of salvation. Honestly, that does not surprise me. Maybe it caught me off guard because I just read an article in a magazine from a missions agency about the emptiness of the cathedrals in Europe and the author’s surprise about finally hearing and finding a thriving evangelical house church movement completely apart from any known missions organization. The people were doing it differently – in their homes, by word of mouth, by putting themselves out there. The missionaries who were in Europe also testified how it was more important to live with the people and demonstrate true Christian life-altered living than to ramble off the Four Spiritual Laws. Evidently, the people of Europe the article was talking about knew the stories and were disinterested in hearing the means of salvation. But after years of just living day by day side by side and seeing the difference that Christ makes in the actual living of day – the life of hope that only Christians have – that is what finally attracted some to hear (and ultimately receive) the Gospel.
Anyway, I’d like to hear your thoughts of late on what it is to be church, and what that means for us in the world in which we find ourselves.
Until next time….