A church that’s connected to society

I’ve been linking to other people’s thoughts a lot more recently, but sometimes I run across people who are saying things that connect with what’s been running around in my head. So, they get linked to here.

Why reinvent the wheel?

But here’s a great conversation from a Fuller student about how the church should connect to the community. Click through to his post to read some great application to his work as a high school minister.

“Living the Incarnation”:

“Gibbs started off by reading this passage from 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

And then he turned the tables on us and asked…

Could we read this passage to our congregation and believe it applied to them?

Or have we removed ourselves so far from culture that adulterers, prostitutes, sexual offenders, thieves, and drunkards don’t show up at our churches because we have never taken the time to reach out to them?

Silence…seems to be a recurring theme in my classes this quarter…

Gibbs and Bolger then lamented the American churches inability to follow Jesus’ model of entering into the lives of those whom most needed his transforming and redeeming love. Our inability to be incarnational ministers. Our inability to go beyond just trying to attract people to our church and actually try to enter into their lives. Its this inability that will soon make the American church as it is practiced now obsolete…we’ve seen it in Europe so it can very well happen if we don’t learn from previous mistakes.”

So make application. If you’re a leader in a church, what can we be doing as the body of Christ to reach out to the people who need to hear the message? What’s the point of ministry, of all the stuff we’re doing if it just results in nice people getting nicer (a phrase I picked up from Dan Morgan)?

And for us as individual Christians, how does Jesus’ life affect ours? Shouldn’t God’s message make a transformational impact on us in such a powerful way that we go and live differently? And here’s the catch. Living differently doesn’t mean being more perfect. God will grow us to be more like him, true. But living differently probably has a lot more to do with how we serve those around us, how we love the people we meet, and with how we can go through life with a smile in the midst of everything that is happening because God sets our priorities.

If I’m learning one thing, it’s this: the Christian life boiled down is about loving God and loving people through relationships and realizing that love motivates us to do something. And that’s exciting. Because when we act, it gives God the chance to use us, and we get the chance to be part of a bigger picture – something that matters. We get to be a part of his story. We get to engage in a deeper relationship.

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