The church is changing. God is moving and there is a revolution on the rise, a revolution for the organic Christian. These ideas like those from my post, the McChurch, aren’t new or original. Authors like Dan Kimball and Mark Batterson are writing about bringing the church back to what it truly means to be a church and some pastors around the country are preaching the same message. People are finally voicing their opposition to the complacent church and Christian bubble we’ve created.
So then once all is said, what is to be done? I honestly think that is a question that every Christian must ask themselves, but I’ll give my answer.
First of all, we need to move outside our Christian bubbles and our comfort zones. In Kimball’s book, They Like Jesus But Not the Church, he describes who Jesus is to him, and in this description, he says, “I think of the [man] who didn’t just sit in a holy huddle or point out the wrongs of the culture but hung out with sinners and ate with them (Matthew 9:10).” I believe one of the ways to approach this problem of the McChurch is to step outside of the church-centric lifestyles Christians live and face the world in all its uglified glory. The boy you pass on the street puffing at a blunt is as much a creation of God as you are. The college girls headed out to get wasted on Thirsty Thursday are as much a creation of God as you are. The coworker that annoys everyone in the office to no end is as much a creation of God as you are. And here’s the kicker… He loves them just as much as you, so you should love them, too.
I want to bring up Matthew 23 again, because to love those people, we need to step off our soapboxes and put down our protest signs. In Matthew 23, Jesus accuses the pharisees and sadducees of “seating themselves in the chair of moses” meaning they are too obsessed with the Law. We are so eager to take up signs against homosexuality and abortion, spouting how it is wrong according to the bible, but we miss the heart of the matter; what about those hearts of people that are hurting and just looking for someone to care? Forget about the woman’s choice to abort her baby. Let’s focus on why she feels she has to make that choice.
Christians wield our rules and laws like they are the end all be all of everything, but when people asked Jesus what the ultimate commandments were, he told them simply love God and love others. We forget.
It reminds me of that drawing that Sunday school teachers always would use to illustrate the gospel. If you grew up in the church, you should know it, too. They would draw a huge canyon, a cliff on the left and a cliff on the right. God, in all his righteousness, would be represented on the right, and humans in all of our sin and wretchedness would be on the left. The humans would be separated from God by a huge gap, the representation of sin. The teacher would then proceed to draw a huge cross in the middle, the arms of the cross bridging the gap between humans and God. That would represent Christ dying for us on the cross.
My teachers never finished the illustration, however, and I think that’s where we have lost a lot of Christians. Now that that the cross has bridged the gap, Christians seem to imagine themselves on the right side of that gap now, with God, set apart from the rest of the sinners who refuse to walk across the bridge. We forget that we don’t seat ourselves at God’s table until our work here on earth is finished. We aren’t finished yet, folks.
So being the Christ followers and imitators that we are meant to be, we should instead find ourselves in the middle of that drawing, standing on the cross, helping those on the left across to the right. Christ did his duty. It is now our job as Christ followers to stand in that gap for the rest of the world and help them across. And what that takes is a Godly love.
What does that look like for you?
If you want to know what to do now, I have a few suggestions. If you’re a college student or work with non-Christians, make friends with your classmates or coworkers. Ask to hang out with them outside of class or work; go get coffee with a group of friends together, have a movie night, go to a farmer’s market or concert, invite them over to watch the football game. But I’d advise that you don’t initially invite them to a “Christian event.” That may sound bad, but become friends with them. Don’t treat them like your next convert. Invest in them with no hidden agenda.
So my challenge isn’t for you to go out and share the gospel with someone this week. My challenge isn’t to invite someone to church this week. I’m not saying to not do those things, but my real challenge is to make a new friend, and while you’re at it, be Christ to them. Love them, because God loves them, too.