What is the destination of your church, your life, as a Christian? So many churches and Christians see the center of their faith-life as “at the church building.”
While Jesus said, “I will build My church,” He wasn’t reflecting about a building as a destination. Yet, what is your strategy when it comes to unchurched friends, relatives, neighbors, or those with whom you work or go to school? For most Christians, the posture is: “Invite them to church.” However, this is the polar opposite from the posture of the New Testament church in Scripture.
The direction of the Christian movement is not to bring people to church, but to take church to people. Jesus said, “Come unto Me.” For some, they translate this to, “Come to church.” However, when Jesus gave the Great Commission, it was all about “Go,” make disciples.
The Old Testament was a centripetal movement: “Come to the temple,” make your sacrifices. The temple is where you encounter God. But Jesus reversed all that. He visited the temple, but His priority was to be “out there” where you find the people. This was a huge reversal for those Jews who became followers of Jesus. Jesus’ approach is centrifugal.
And yet, “mission” for many believers is focused around programs and activities at the church building. Honestly? This approach is not biblical and not that effective. Why would you invite someone to a worship service, where your focus is on the Savior they do not yet believe in?
Churches make the established religion the “hero” of the story. In the Old Testament, that was appropriate. But it doesn’t fit the movement Jesus built. His mission is centrifugal: going out, meeting people where they are.
In Hebrews, the writer says that while, in the Old Testament, priests sacrificed animals and brought the blood into the temple, Jesus changed all that. In Hebrews 13:13-15, the writer says, “…let’s go outside, where Jesus is, where the action is….” The Scripture continues, “This ‘insider world’ is not our home…. Let’s take our place outside with Jesus.”
Many churches are plateaued or declining. One major reason is that they make the church building the destination. Change that: Your church is the launchpad. The world is your destination. It doesn’t say in John 3:16, “For God so loved the church, that He gave His only begotten Son.” It says, “For God so loved the world.” Turn your church inside out, and God will use you to start a revival!