It’s been awhile since my last blog, but now that I’ve got my head above water a bit — and have had some great God moments – I’m back.
One of these amazing moments actually happened the other day.
On July 22, the Parkview Lockport Campus held our second annual “Church Has Left The Building” event. Now to be honest, the idea is not very complex nor is it completely new. In short, rather than holding a worship service on a Sunday at church we release the members of the church into the community to serve the community. As I tell my Lockport Peeps, by leaving the church we are giving our congregation a chance to actually do something with their faith by being the hands and feet of Christ to others.
We have been blessed to strike up a great relationship with a local school district in our area. The administration at the school has been tremendously open to our people coming to their school and cleaning, fixing, mulching, painting, and this year extending a free wellness clinic to the local community.
The interaction between the community and our congregation has been nothing short of miraculous and has been personally life changing for me to say the least. It’s one day out of the church calendar that I can point to see God working in overdrive.
So why don’t more churches do this?
I don’t necessarily mean hold an event to mobilize a congregation for a specific day to do something in the community. To be honest, lots of civic groups clean up highways and pick up trash at local parks, but they wouldn’t attribute it to a burning desire to glorify God.
What I mean is why don’t more churches encourage their people to DO something with their faith? I’ve known churches, and maybe you do too, that have a way of saying without saying that “all you need to know about being a Christian can be accomplished on Sundays at our church.” There really is never a “now what are you going to do about it moment” because the only call to action is to come back next week.
I think the bride of Christ is becoming obese with Christians who are bloated with spiritual calories on Sunday, but never do anything to burn them off. Our churches quite possibly could be part of the problem of the stagnation of the Christian faith if we aren’t careful.
Jesus’ mission for His followers cannot be completed if we don’t put our faith into action. A faith brought into the world He called us to love. A faith developed not just be learn-ing but also by do-ing!
Jesus says in Matthew 25:45 ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’”
In James 2:16-17 we read, “If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
Notice the indictment in these passages is not in the lack of knowledge but in the lack of action.
Knowing a lot about golf doesn’t make you a PGA golfer, just like knowing a lot about being a Christian doesn’t make you a Christian. It’s only when you apply what you know that you become what you want to be.
Can this swing the wrong way? Absolutely.
Paul spells it out clearly in Ephesians 2:8 when says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
The pendulum can swing so far over to the other extreme that we think that feeding the homeless, cleaning windows at a school, or giving money to the church will save us. We can think that our good works will somehow build the bridge over our chasm of sin, but that is equally foolish.
It is only by the saving Grace of Jesus that we are made free from sin and not by our works. In fact, the Bible actually goes so far as to call our righteous acts “filthy rags” in His sight if they are void of Jesus.
However, I would much rather go down swinging by following Christ and doing as much as I can for His namesake than sitting in the pews waiting for my spiritual BMI to get to a level that kills me.
It’s time for the church to leave the building and get moving!