I have been wondering a lot about the mission of the church and how often I read about reaching the Unchurched. Is it our mission to “church” the “unchurched”? somehow I think we have come to believe that we have reached our goal if the unchurched cross the thresholds and sit in our sanctuaries. We are rewarded for butts in pews and bucks in plates. We have not so subtly created a culture where if your butt is in a pew and your buck is in a plate on Sunday morning we are not to concerned with where you were Saturday night. We wrongly assume that all is well because of where you sit on Sunday morning. The more we reward butts in pews and bucks in plates the more we move away from our mission as the people of God the “Church”.
We have been called to go and make disciples not church the unchurched. Unless however we redefine what we mean by “unchurched”. When we use this word we tend to define it by those who “don’t attend a church on a regular basis”. This definition leads us to try and get them to our buildings. Another definition for us think about is the church as a people verses a place. Now when we think of the “unchurched” we are talking about reaching people for the Kingdom not a location.
In fact when the “unchurched” are interviewd the discoveries in these interviews reveal that the “unchurched” are not looking for another club to attend but to be connected to authentic genuine people in community.
Ed Stetzer comments in his blog, (http://blogs.lifeway.com/blog/edstetzer/2009/04/interview-with-trevin-wax.html)
“But much of what the younger unchurched are looking for is found in the character of God and what our churches are called to be. Note that I said what our churches are called to be, not necessarily what they are.”
Would it change how we did ministry if we saw people as people not as butts in pews and bucks in plates? Would it change how we did ministry if the destination was changed from our facility to the Kingdom of God? Are we successful if the unchurched enter the church or are we more successful when the “church enters the unchurched”?
What if you were to reach people for Jesus and disciple them in community relationships but they never cross the doorstep of your church? Would you be ok with that? How would you feel about them? Would you consider them unchurched, unsaved, or even a lesser class of Christian?