We are always talking about reaching the unchurched, unreached and unengaged. That’s a good thing. The problem is we have no plan to reach the rejects of society because we aren’t willing to become rejects ourselves. We are always separating “us” and “them”. We put them in a different category as if we have something to give and they have something to gain.
Truth is, we all have rejected God and were unreached and unengaged until Jesus came to us. So why is it so hard for us to go to them?
The short answer is that we have a hard time loving on people who are different from us. They live in unfamiliar cultures, they eat unfamiliar food, they dress differently and have a completely different set of worldviews. They might be gay, gang members, bikers, b-boys, homeless, Muslims, tribal Animists or Buddhists but they are different. And that makes us uncomfortable, inconvenienced and insecure. So we build our churches to encourage comfort, convenience, security and consumerism. No wonder the lost remain lost because our churches have (unintentionally) rejected them.
What if we did something completely out of character? What if instead of doing church for people like ourselves we take church to them? What if we took on the posture, attitude and lifestyle of the reject in order to reach them for God’s Kingdom? What would this look like? Maybe a little something like this:
- Rather than export our religious programs, activities and Awana’s, we find out what the real felt needs of the community are and encourage them to take ownership for local social justice.
- Rather than preach the Gospel from the pulpit we would model a lifestyle of Gospel living that anyone can share with their family, friends, and neighbors.
- Rather than send new believers to discipleship classes, schools or programs, we sit with entire families in their homes and train them to listen, trust and follow Jesus.
- Rather than send paid staff and pastors to new areas or dying churches we train up local leaders who can train others to become local shepherds and bivocational leaders.
- Rather than export our worship music, dress and style we encourage, learn and adopt the God-honoring music, dress and style of the local culture.
- Rather than attract people to our large buildings we move into these unchurched neighborhoods and train them to meet in local homes of local people.
- Rather than export our studies, theologies and denominations we train them in how to listen to the Holy Spirit, interpret God’s Word and obey what it says.
- Rather than being concerned about spreading our own influence and growing our churches we train them to make disciples and plant churches who train others to make disciples and plant churches.
I am a reject. You are a reject. There is no hope for us. But Jesus had a plan to reach us. He became our hope. He became our Church. How are you expressing church to the rejects of your world?