What kind of church are we? We recently talked about four kinds of churches.
1. A church that is in the city.
2. A church that is against the city.
3. A church that is with the city.
4. A church that is for the city.
The first is a church that simply exists in the city.
The second is a church that pits itself against the city, as in, we are good, they are bad.
The third is a church that is unable to influence...because they care more about fitting in with the city.
The fourth is a church that wants to influence the city for Christ and seeks to love and serve it.
Without a doubt, we want to be a church that is for our city. How do we do it? It has been suggested that we seek it's welfare, as God told Israel to seek the welfare of Babylon when deported there. Could it be that we are too focused on ourselves? Maybe. How many of our programs and ministries are aimed at building up church members and how many are aimed at reaching those outside our building? We need to love on one another, but we need to remember the mission focus that Christ passed on to us. Read Matthew 28:18-20 for yourselves and answer this question: has the American church in general been faithful to that charge? I don't think so. One way to demonstrate this is to take a look at where the resources for most churches are spent. This is a sobering reality.
Could we rethink this? How can we seek the welfare of our city? Our community? Our country? Our world?
One way is by churches deciding that they will make an impact through greater investment in missions. Would you pray for our Missions Sunday, scheduled for March 6? Would you pray for your sacrificial gift on that day? The Columbus church wants to make an impact in the spread of the gospel. This is an opportunity to touch the lives of people we will never meet face to face.
A second way is by realizing that while we are the church, corporately, as a group, we are also the church individually. I am not just a part of a whole. I am the face of the body of Christ when I walk into our community, whether at the grocery store, work, school or a ballgame. I am a representative of the whole every time I am given an opportunity to interact with anyone in our city. Jesus has given us the ability and authority to make an impact, in his name.
The point is, that we need to seek the welfare of our city programmatically as a church and individually, as representatives of the church. In fact, we are not just representatives of the church, we are the church, both individually and corporately.
It seems to me that we need to think differently about this. If we want to make an impact on our city and the world, in ways we have not previously, we must think of intentional ways to accomplish it, both personally and corporately. What do you think? How would you propose that both the whole church (corporately and programmatically) and the church individually could do a better job in seeking the welfare of our city? Let's dream and pray!