The Joy of Getting Outside

So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. – 2 Corinthians 5:20

The summer is drawing to a quick end.  This week, one day it felt like it could be the middle of July and the next it was clearly September.  I’ve lived enough of my life in Minnesota to know that this means it is time to get the heck outside every moment one can before the snow falls.  It is nice to be outside when one can still have exposed skin without the fear of frostbite.  We, as the Church, need to get “outside” more too.  While we don’t have the motivation of a fast approaching arctic experience to motivate us, we do have the words of scripture.  (Hopefully a far stronger motivation!)

Historically churches could attract people to ourselves.  We just needed the best preaching, best music, best bible studies, best potlucks, etc.  As long as we were the best at something we would be in good shape.  If you weren’t the best church maybe your “all-around” score could carry you.  It was really a survival of the fittest situation if you will.  Ironically, I don’t think God works through survival of the fittest and we, the Church, shouldn’t buy into that structure.  Those days are gone.  I could spend 100 hours preparing a bible study instead of 10 and I know the group coming to it would not be ten times bigger. 

So we can approach this reality in one of two ways.  We can bemoan this or we can celebrate it.  You see, I don’t know that the church was all that healthy when people were beating down the doors to get in.  While I certainly never lived in this reality, I question whether the hoards of people at church in those days were committed disciples.  These days when someone walks into a church on their own volition it is the Spirit’s doing.  We who are currently within the walls would do well to take note of that.  People don’t just walk into churches anymore.  They are coming for a reason, most likely at the prompting of the Spirit!

So where am I going here? Looking back up at 2 Corinthians 5:20 tells us that we are “ambassadors of Christ”.  Ambassadors don’t do their job by staying in their home country.  They reside with those they ambassador to.  Living into the calling of 2 Corinthians 5 has become far easier.  The job of an ambassador is exciting!  We get to learn how to communicate to this foreign land where we reside.  This is the call of the Gospel throughout scripture.  We must translate the Good News to those we interact with daily OUTSIDE the Church. 

We live in exciting times.  No longer must me travel to the far corners of the globe for God to make his appeal through us.  Out of our discipleship, out our devotion to Christ and his life, we are called outside our building into the community.  We are kicking off the year right by doing this in our block party.  Let’s collectively think creatively about other ways to do this.  After all, “First Presbyterian Church is a grace driven church rooted in Scripture, committed to Christ, who creatively nurtures the community by extending love, grace, support, faith and hope.”1

 

In Christ’s Service,

Pastor Jeremia