…I have noticed in my short years…
I have noticed, upon some reflection, that the churches I have attended fall into two..well, churchy diseases, if you will.
I am all for outreach. I think Christ commanded it, and it only makes sense to share the AMAZINGNESS that is Jesus with the world. However, I think sometimes a church can be so focused on reaching out that it neglects the members within its own walls. The outreach programs are awesome, but the discipleship and follow up and community are seriously lacking. They would do anything to get new people in, but nothing to keep them. Personal growth is hardly ever challenged, and the body just kind of falls to the wayside. What good is reaching out if you bring them into a community just as disorderly, cold, and disconnected as the world?
Extreme Introversion (complacency)
This is the church that does everything together. They have a million little small groups going on, and they genuinely love each other. That’s awesome. But when do they reach out to people who don’t know Jesus? The community is strong and thriving, they totally love each other. But when it comes to bringing others in, their attitudes are lackadaisical and lukewarm.
I have attended both types of churches, and they’re both missing such a vital part of what being a church is about! Both are extremely frustrating; the first would hurt each other totally unnecessarily, and the second is so stinking hard to motivate to do, well, anything…so where is the balance?
Thankfully, God has also given me a church that seems to get this balance mostly right on spot. No church is ever going to be perfect, but there is some amazing stuff going on at this church. Their outreach is passionate, real, compassionate, and serving. And their community is warm, friendly, open, and real.
I just noticed I used real in both of those lists. Maybe that’s what the first two churches are missing. So often we feel like we have to put on this mask at church–the “no really, everything is going great!” mask that doesn’t let anyone in. That leads to distant communities and apathetic outreach. We need to be able to show who we really are, in church of all places, and we need to accept others with all the junk they bring. Hey, remember the big old wagon of junk you brought to Jesus? Mmmhmmm.
I guess being part of the thinktank for the outreach program at my church has really made me start analyzing how churches work more. The idea is simple enough–love Jesus, love others, share Jesus. But, because we’re all sinful people, we tend to complicate it. And I realize that in both types of churches, there are totally genuine people. I’m just saying that, as a whole, those have been the two extremes into which i have seen churches fall.
So what do you think? What are your ideas for getting introverted churches to reach out as well as build the body within? What about for getting extroverted churches to build up the body within as well as reach out?
Shoutout to the church where I have observed balance: thanks for letting God use you; keep pursuing God in everything, and don’t get comfortable!!!!!