Empty As a Church on Tuesday…


empty as a church on tuesday

Writer Ozzie Smith, who deals with faith and church growth, recently wrote an article about the reality of church.   In that article he tells of one community that challenged its churches to be bigger and better.  

“A few years ago in the city of Chicago,” he wrote, “a crowd of community residents did something unusual. They picketed the churches in their community to do something other than have church. They picketed them to be church.

They seemed to say the Christ you claim and proclaim each Sunday seems more than enough in the sanctuary, but never seems to get out in our neighborhoods. Why are you open only on Sunday? Need happens 24/7. There are six other days in the week, but you’re closed.”

The greatest threat to any church is to give off the impression that you don’t practice what you preach.   If we have the most orthodox of theologies, the most vibrant of ministries, and the most successful and vital of missions, but look to the rest of the world as if we are playing a game; we lose.

What we preach is important, but What we do is equally as important.

That said, you can go to a dozen, a hundred, or a thousand churches, and find different goals, dreams, and theologies, but you should be able to go into those churches and know – after just a little while what is important to the pastor.   Stay a little while longer and you will get a sense if the people agree.

If there is a disconnect, you will find that disconnect in every corner.   If they agree you will sense that agreement like a heartbeat.

If I was to be asked what is important for the growing church, I wouldn’t point to a particular theology.  I would not point to a particular political or economic ideology.  At our church,  I wouldn’t point to our food ministry, our toy ministry, or our kids ministry and say:  “That’s it!  That’s most important!”

Although these things are blessings, these are gifts, and these are important it isn’t the most important thing that occurs inside these walls.

Instead, I think I would answer simply, that a healthy church is about discerning God’s place in our lives;   it’s about figuring out what we believe and how that belief will change us….  And…  It’s about doing that, and living that quest out, as part of a community, and a family.

We may not always agree.   We may argue.   We may roll our eyes at times.  But, you will know,…within just a few moments of entering their doors,  that you can’t be anonymous in the healthy church.   You can be you.  You can be different.  You can be silly.   You can be incomplete, broken, and imperfect.   But, you cannot be anonymous.  

You matter, and a church that is doing things right works towards reminding you of that.

 

(Pic/Flckr.com/Manaskie/2009)

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