Subtle shift – huge implications

Have you ever heard or said, “isn’t it good to be in Gos’s house”?

I am on a campaign to change this destructive phrase in the church world to, “isn’t it good to BE God’s house.”

This is a subtle shift with huge implications.  Change one word and we communicate a message that can radically impact our culture and the world around us.

The phrase, “isn’t it good to be IN God’s house” is an unbiblical phrase that has been passed on from generation to generation when Christians gather in church buildings and enjoy each others company and the “presence of the Lord”.   Nothing wrong with church buildings perse, but to call it God’s house subtly communicates unbiblical ideas and sets us up for a one day per week church where we go to meet with God.

What are the implications of changing from “in” to “be”

IN creates…

… Fights over paint and carpet and coffee in the building?..If  God’s house is to be reverenced and kept holy then let’s talk potlucks instead of carpet because BE means me!

IN creates…

… A one day a week connection with God where I go to meet him. Because that is where he is. Thus compartmentalizing my spiritual life.

BE creates a mindset of life and lifestyle incarnate every day in the world around me.

BE causes me to realize that my life is every day and all the time a representative of him.

IN creates an evangelism model that says come and get him or go to hell

BE creates a kingdom mindset that says in the real world around me where i live, work and play, may others see the love of christ in me and experience his love through me.

What would the world and culture around us look like if the church simply said, “isn’t it good to BE God’s house” and then went and lived in that reality?

Jesus is attractive… What if we lived AMONG the world around us and simply let others see Jesus instead of judgemental representatives.

Isn’t it good to BE God’s house?

In the field or in the barn?

barn and fieldAs I think about Luke 10:2 and the plentiful ripe harvest described, I am struck with a truth often overlooked in today’s church world. The truth is this…. The harvest is in the field not in the barn.

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few, ask the Lord of the harvest therefore to send OUT workers into his harvest field. GO! I AM SENDING YOU OUT like lambs among wolves.” Luke 10:2-3

In Mark 4 “A farmer went OUT to sow his seed…”  I wonder, are we spending a little too much time trying to harvest the harvested?  Are we spending a little too much time in the barn and not enough time in the field.

I asked this question at a semenar I was doing recently and the response I receieved when I talked about spending time building relationships with those in the “world” around us, not as projects but in caring relationships, didn’t surprise me.  The response was from scripture and creates a tension in the church world.  Can you guess what the passage of scripture was?

1 Cor. 15:33 —- “Don’t be misled… Bad company corrupts good character.”

So now what do we?  There is no shortage of scriptures that call us “out” and no shortage of scriptures that call us “out”.  We are to come out and we are to go out at the same time… Feel the tension yet?

What are your thoughts on this?

Churching the unchurched??????

unchurchedI 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?