Question: Given the identity of church, what are the activities that would express that identity and by what criteria are those expressions to be evaluated?
For too long, the church has separated its activities from daily life; we have conformed to a sacred-secular dichotomy that does not exist. God is Creator and Ruler of all and we are his people in all of life. We–his church–ought to bear his influence through regular life in our neighborhoods. I do not mean the sort of influence that we often package as programs, but rather an influence had by joining existing services in our neighborhoods, working together in the community as a powerful expression of church in the world.
How should we decide which services to join? General grace is one criterion: “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45b).
As we consider participating in this work, let us ask, “Will we demonstrate God’s mercy, grace, and rule before the world?”
If the answer is yes, then let us join the work.
I hesitated in posting this, because it is an indictment of and a challenge to me more than to any who read it, for I have separated myself from my neighborhoods.
In self-defense, I offer a usual excuse: time. But I must ask myself, “If I am too busy to be a neighbor, them am I not too busy?”
I also offer the excuse of calling, for I am called to minister to the church. But does this excuse me from service as the church? I think not.
Now, the million-dollar question: Will I take the next step?
- Being a Local Church “…discern those few key points of dissension that will communicate what it means to live the gospel of King Jesus most clearly to our people and our place.”
- Finding Your Way With the World “… use truth rather than opinion… change the existing culture… shape the arriving culture”