Remember that old, ‘Uncle Sam’ add for the military? “WE WANT YOU!” it read. I’ll bet as we look back at draft dodgers, flag burners, military bashers, Quakers, conscientious objectors and a whole host of other “Anti-war for any reason’ folks we might want to rephrase that to, “We want you if you embrace this country, its vision, and the freedom it offers as things worth fighting for.’ Because, let’s face it, if you don’t get those types of soldiers what will be the result?
And I don’t mean OUR MILITARY. They are AWESOME! I’m talking about the Iraqi military (or lack of it).
I believe that freedom from a terrorist rÃ©gime and a mass murderer like Saddam Hussein was reason enough to “go in and affect a change.” However, it appears the people of
Did you know this scenario happens in churches all over America with alarming regularity?
People have a consumer mentality toward church that didn’t exist 20 years ago.
What’s in it for me?
This church doesn’t meet all my needs!
I want hymns!
I don’t want to have to tithe.
The pastor works for me!!
I like a smaller church!
No one appreciates all I do!
The list is literally endless.
And if our list of demands are not met? We can always throw the ultimate trump card—the scary, intimidating. knee buckling, scream evoking, paralyzing…
“I’m serious! I’ll go right out the back door and find something better for ME!”
Not so scary really. I mean…
What’s a church back door even for?
· an emergency exit
· a discrete escape for counselees
· a necessary ejection seat for wolves in sheep’s clothing
· a transition point form a church that doesn’t fit to one that does
· a church discipline exit
A lot of things I suppose. So why do we even have it if we are so concerned with keeping it shut?!
If we just want every single person to stay, than put a wall there instead of a door (spiritually speaking).
But do we really want EVERYONE to stay?
I don’t think so.
That wouldn’t be healthy.
And it can be extremely disunifying.
What about those who only want to tear down instead of build up? What about those who only want a little fiefdom of their own rather than helping to build God’s kingdom? What about control freaks? What about those who are on a crusade to make the church the way THEY THINK IT OUGHT TO BE? What about those who think we ought to water down the truth? What about those who think sin is just low self esteem? What about those who believe the church ought to just be a place to make social contacts and nothing more?
By the way, those people are welcome. We’ll try to show them the way, but if they ever go on a mission to change the vision and purposes of God’s church?
I’ll show them the back door.
You know, the Bible has a lot of different words to describe the bride of Christ (there’s one right there).
We see it referred to as, a church, a fellowship, a local gathering, a flock, and my personal favorite, ‘a body.’
There are so many parallels to the local church and the human body.
We hear about the body working best when it’s in shape .
We read about all the parts of the body being necessary for a healthy, fully functioning body. See 1 Cor. , It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.
We learn that the tongue can be the most powerful and the most dangerous part of the body James 3:5 (NIV) Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
We learn that the eyes are windows into the soul and heart of a person.
We begin to understand that our feet can lead us to do good or bad.
With our hands we steal or give, build or tear down.
The body has a lot of functions.
So does the church body.
One of them is this infamous back door.
Can I ask you a personal question?
What happens to your body if you try to keep the back door shut for too long?
You read it correctly.
And too many churches are suffering from spiritual constipation brought on by spending so much time keeping shut what needs to be left open.
Don’t shut the back door, regulate it (sorry, couldn’t resist). If it’s messed up, start with an enema and clean house. We did — a little over six years ago and went from a skinny, nerdy, non-athletic runt of a church to a community changing, world impacting force for Christ.
Back then we we’re called, Grace Community Church, but a lot of members knew nothing of ‘Grace.’ Back then we were about 200 and only occassionally saw people come to Chirst.
That church died.
But unless a seed dies…see this verse, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=50&chapter=12&verse=24&version=31&context=verse for the painful truth.
What was holding us back?
God cleaned house and Southbrook took off!
If you’re church isn’t growing, shows signs of spiritual constipation and the leadership seems a little sickly. It might be a sign it’s time to check the back door.
Not to make sure it’s shut.
To make sure it’s open!