I have, in the past, spent and without a doubt will spend, in the future, more time pointing out how the church has wandered from the path Jesus carved for us. But for the next few posts I want to focus more about how your church and my church can have an impact in the communities God has placed us.
We have burnt a lot of bridges and build a lot of walls to protect our little holy huddles and it will take time to repair those bridges and tear down those walls. But I am believing more and more that it can be done. Lets look at an easier issue and then move on to harder ones in subsequent posts.
Evangelical churches have done a great job protecting their congregations from the “pollution” of the world. as some call it. We have created for ourselves a sub-culture that can cut us off from non-believers around us. From music and books, to schools and Christian festivals, if you live in a medium to large city you can find a “Christian” everything and everyone to meet your needs without ever having to interact with a non-believer.
So here is my first thought. Get to know the people in your community. Buy gas at the same gas station, shop at the same grocery stores, purchase your latte at the same coffee shop, and get to know the names of those that work there. And as you get to know them, and holidays approach give them a card, a little gift, or a gift card. Developing that relationship of genuine care will without a word show them the love of Jesus.
Secondly, attend town council or board meetings that are generally open to the public. Learn what is going on in your town or city, and ask yourself, “How could I be involved to bring prosperity and growth to my community?” Joseph, Daniel and others in the Bible worked to glorify God and show His love by seeking the best for the cities and the people under their care. God want us to bring His love to our communities too.
Finally, if you are a pastor or a leader in an Evangelical church, do not dismiss and ignore the local council of Churches in your area. One of the works of these organizations is to help people. And while you may not agree with them on every theological and doctrinal issue, many of them are reaching out to the families in need in your village, town or city and helping the needy is something we all can agree on. You will in the process come to understand believers that may not share the same views as you but in working with them you are working to answer the prayer of Jesus that we all may be one.
The goal in all of this is to build relationships and show people unconditional love. the people around us are not projects to “get saved” but rather people uniquely created in the image of God worth our time and effort.
Be Jesus to them,