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Monday on the Links…a good word

I found the article below on Leah Rade’s blog. Leah is part of a the staff of fellow local church here in the area and focuses her time on creating community in the church much like I do. Like her, I find this short word from James D. Berkley challenging.

Is there anything simpler or more natural than members of a church looking out for their own interests? We like to park conveniently. We want our pew available each week. We expect our kind of music to be sung—not that other ungodly stuff! We like things our way, to our convenience and taste.

How easy it is to make church nice and comfortable for us! And how wrong! Why? Because church isn’t meant to be comfortable. No pioneering, radical, countercultural organization has the leisure to be comfortable. A country club can be comfortable. A golfing foursome can be comfortable. A family gathering can be comfortable. But a church—that culture-shaking, eternity-changing band Jesus commissioned to turn the world upside down—doesn’t have the charter to be comfortable. It’s commissioned as activist for the kingdom of God!

My pleasure, my ease, my way are really not important. God’s glory, God’s tasks, others’ benefit—that’s the reason for the church. The apostle Paul makes clear that Christians must treat one another as more important than themselves. They are to be “put out” by the interests of others. The church is not my personal vending machine. Instead it is a lifesaving station to reach out to those in peril needing to be made safe.

How does that happen? When leaders decide their responsibility is to follow seriously the One who came to seek and save the lost. That, however, gets expensive, when the church has to add parking and pews and programs for those not yet in the church. That becomes difficult when the comfortable become discomfited by change. That becomes messy when the sacred mixes with the profane. Granted.

But Jesus emptied himself, humbled himself, and died on a cross for us—and that is to be our mindset (Phil. 2:5-11). As leaders we must proclaim to the comfortable the message of Christ. And then refocus our thinking and strategy on the outsider, so that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

—James D. Berkley

To note, I think the Summit Church is a body of believers who “gets” what berkley is saying. But we must never forget it. especially as we enter a season of growth in our small group ministry.

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