by robyn blaikie collins
So… the majority of this chapter is spent telling us why it shouldn’t be the only focus of the church to increase numbers. As someone on a creative team at a mega-church I found it interesting to be confronted and, then encouraged by what I read. It acknowledges that God was into numbers big time in some cases, but in all cases way bigger into relationships. A beautiful display of humility and gentle self-degradation go a long way as the author points out that he not just looking at the specks he sees in the eyes around him, but willing to chop away at a plank that he apparently found protruding from his own face.
As he recalls some instances where numbers and bottom lines ruled and his ambitions were not as single-mindedly “changing lives” centered as he intended, he still acknowledges the benefit and usefulness of the mega-church. At the same time Gibbons calls us to pay attention to the importance of the small groups, relationships, even pointing us back to the powerful relationship of Jesus and his 12 friends, and the eternal impact of that affiliation.
Gibbons suggests that we tend to “put on the wrong wardrobe.” We don’t always approach people wearing the right clothes, the ones that fit our church body, our community, those we are trying to reach. We have to be willing to slough off the things that don’t fit or reflect the clearest representation of Christ, you know, those things that Clinton and Stacy would definitely say are “what not to wear”.
Then, after understanding how important it is to be wearing the right thing for the culture you are in, a wonderful thing happens in this chapter. It’s found in an excerpt that starts like this: “An embrace involves always a double movement of opening and closing. I open my arms to create space in myself for the other…”
The remainder of this excerpt is followed by a beautiful call to action for true Christ-followers. We are challenged unapologetically to love, embrace and welcome, even enter into communion with people of all communities of the world. I wrote in the margin next to one of his most convicting points, “Do we already know the answer to this?” You will have to read to find out just what made me ask that.
He even suggests ways to show this love of Christ that we know and are called to share. Don’t miss this call to action. Put on the wardrobe that fits and for crying out loud, let us love one another until we are worn out.
About the author:
robyn blaikie collins – brain for hire.
robyn has been involved in all different types of media: writing, design, branding, magazine editor, photographer and the list goes on. she is married and has 4 rockin’ kids. writes a sitcom for 1-6th graders at prestonwood baptist church. designs two t-shirt lines. wrote the book prepare to be a teen millionaire. works with , a resource for carehelpers of aging parents. is on the executive advisory board for the JMC department at samford university, her alma mater. she is a social networking enthusiast. she routinely consults on creative projects in all areas of media for entrepreneurs, businesses, churches, you get the drift. that’s why she’s a brain for hire.