What Do They Say About Us?
When people drive by our church building, what do you think they say? Do they say? Do they say, “Yea, that church is incredible. They are always teaching people the Scriptures and they do such a great job showing others Jesus Christ by what they teach and the way they live?” Well, perhaps people say that and perhaps they do not. But, the sad truth is that very few congregations are talked about this way. Why not? Well, to have people say this about the church means that the Christians who meet at the local congregation must have a commitment to proclaiming the cross of Jesus Christ while also caring about their community enough that they become the solution to the major issues plaguing our communities. They must be a light to the world! And, if we are not like this, then we need to change.
For instance, if we do not think like this then we need to change the way we think. So many Times we believe that the church is the answer or is a huge asset to the community in which we live. So often, we may be called a compassionate church, we may even have a wonderful benevolence ministry with helping others, including a food pantry. We may even help struggling Christians all over the world. But here’s the thing…. while it is a good thing to help others out when they need it, did we extend our hand out to them too? What I mean is, did we embrace them? Did we identify with them and put ourselves in their shoes? You see, compassion is not what we do, compassion is supposed to be who we are because that is who our Master is. And so, we help others not just in momentary ways, but help them to see the Savior by teaching them because if we really care for them, we will care more for their souls.
Second, if we want people to think about us in incredible ways, maybe we need to change the way we pray. What do I mean by this? Most of the Time, prayers need to be based on more than just what our needs are. In the book of Mathew, Jesus teaches us something revolutionary. Jesus wants us to pray that the Father would raise up workers to meet the needs that we see in our communities. He says, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matt. 9:38). When was the last Time you prayed the song, “Lead me to some soul today?” Do we not sing this song because we hope that someone else will care for the souls that are around us? Perhaps the preacher or some missionary will reach them. I think the Lord here was referring to His disciples, Christians, who would be those workers in reaching out to the souls that He knows can be saved. So, will you be incredible and reach them or let them be lost?
Third, change the way you keep score. Huh? For years, congregations define success by the strength of the programs and/or the increase in numbers. But, does this really define success? Why do we define success like this…like a business? Should we not be basing our success on meeting the Lord’s will and tending to the crying needs of people around us? I mean, so what if we can feed the hungry, provide shelter, give blood, go to ball games together if we are still unwilling to fulfill God’s calling in Isa. 61 and Luke 4. We ought to be able preach good Tidings to the poor and allow Jesus to heal their broken hearts so that they can be released from the bondage of sin! That’s it! Doing the will of God because we love our Creator and we love our community as much as ourselves! To love them and to serve Jesus, with no strings attached, and allowing God to open their hearts and to give the increase.
Fourth, to be an incredible congregation of the Lord’s body, it involves changing our thinking, praying and score keeping. But, it also means to change the way we do community outreach. Community outreach does not mean “inviting them to our church.” It means, inviting them into our lives! It means, going to them and being involved in their lives and not just insisting that they come and join us. Jesus is the best example of this. So often it was the case the Jesus went to the people. He was involved in their lives. He wanted to know about the people. He wanted to know them and to show them the glory of God and in doing so, many followed and still follow Him. We can do the same thing if we are willing to do His will. You see, that is giving yourself to God. Too often it is the case that we give God the bare minimum and that is not going to cut it.
We have got to be good stewards of what God has given us and what He has given us is ourselves…a born again life! We belong to Him! We must therefore, change our normal giving to Him and start giving ourselves to others because our hearts are gripped with all that God has done for us and that even when we are not in the “mood” to do for God, we “get in the mood” because of how much we love our God in heaven. And, if we do that, when people drive by the church building, they will says, “Yea, that church is incredible. They are always teaching people the Scriptures and they do such a great job showing others Jesus Christ by what they teach and the way they live! They want to be involved in my life and because of that, I want to be involved in the God whom they serve!” Dare to be different than the world, brethren.