Post by Ryan Schrader
Up until the 1960’s it wasn’t uncommon to still see public schools using Bible verses as part of the school curriculum. The 10 commandments were posted in most public buildings and church was a place that not only met the needs of the individual, but the community as well.
My how things have just changed.
Nearly everywhere in society today, the church has been pushed out and the government has stepped in. Secular programs have been designed so that people no longer have any “Church Guilt” tied to them. (Photo Via Pixabay)
This rapid change in culture has caused many churches to go down one of two paths:
On path one, churches have begun to change what they believe in order to better reflect what they think the culture wants. They’ve begun to water down the gospel, and sermons preached are to tickle the ears but often don’t cause real conviction or change.
On Path two, we see many churches out of fear of these culture changes begin trying to protect what they have. They isolate themselves, dig their heals in, and start drawing lines in the sand.
There is a problem with both of these paths.
We see in Matthew 28:16-20 that Jesus has given us the great commission. He has told us to go out into the world and to make disciples of all nations. Isn’t this what it’s all about? Going out into the world and giving hope, help and ultimately changing people’s lives for the better?
If we look back to scripture again we see Matthew 22:36-40. Here Jesus explains that the most important commandment in the law is to LOVE. In fact, he says that we are to love the Lord with all our hearts AND to love our neighbors as ourselves. (Photo Via Pixabay)
I genuinely believe that in order for us to stay relevant in our communities and continue to have a positive influence over this next generation, we can’t change what we believe and we certainly can’t isolate ourselves either.
It’s time we flip the script.
It’s not love when we only see people through their sin. Every time the church draws a line in the sand, we are effectively telling a group of people that we have either given up on them or have decided that they’re an acceptable loss.
If we truly believe that we have what the world needs, then how can we justify closing those doors to anyone?
There is something incredibly wrong when people in our community hit rock bottom, and come to the conclusion that they have nowhere to turn because the church has made it clear that it does not approve of how they are living their life. Instead of feeling hope, they feel the pressure of judgment. (Photo Via Pixabay)
The truth is – none of us are equipped to change someone’s heart. We just don’t have the right tools. The only tools I have available to me are guilt, disapproval and condemnation.
We forget that when we were struggling with that same sin it was God who convicted us out of LOVE and in turn, that is what changed our hearts so that we could have victory. As a church, we have to stop portraying ourselves in a way that makes people feel like the sin in their lives somehow disqualifies them from having the peace and hope that Jesus offers.
We have to scream from the rooftops that there is no guilt, disapproval or condemnation inside these walls. Instead, we need to offer healing, encouragement, hope and fellowship. It is our job to disciple our brothers and sisters, not to discipline them. It’s our job to tell them about this man named Jesus who lovingly died on a cross for them. If we will do this, God will take care of the sin in their lives and He will do it in a way that creates lasting changes without the association of guilt or condemnation.
If we want to be relevant as a Church then we have to make sure our community knows that our doors are always open and no matter what they will find love and compassion here.
We need to show people our hearts, let them know that we have been where they are and that they too can overcome anything the world throws at them. Revelation 12:11 says, “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony…” Jesus offers life to those who need it and He is telling us to let down our walls and let people in. How about instead of telling people how to live, we tell them what we have overcome. Our testimony brings healing- our rules do not. (Photo Via Pixabay)
Let’s open the doors and tear down our walls. Let’s let the gospel be the gospel and our lives tell a tale of hope. Let’s quit hiding from a changing culture and instead introduce that culture to a man named Jesus who loves them with all His heart. If we do this, we won’t have to worry about being relevant.