Wrong focus

I have a secret I want to share with my Christian brothers and sisters — the world has changed.

I guess you are saying you knew that. But the secret is really this: we have been for a long time and still are doing “church” wrong.

We talk about the love of God, we talk about the “peace of God which passes all understanding” and it leaves me to wonder sometimes how ignorant and unkind are we.

The truth is we want a particular type of individual in church, we put out a call to all but we are only willing to extend a welcome to a few.

We hold to the principle that God came to the world. He interacted with our Abraham, Moses and other forefathers in the Old Testament and then through the incarnation of Jesus Christ he again came to the world; calling the 12 disciples and mingling with the “normal” or in some cases the not so normal of his time.

We the representatives of the church, of Christ in our time for the most part, have got it all wrong.

Church is Sunday mornings at 7:30 and 9:15, Bible Study is Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Youth Group is Friday at 7 p.m. and the righteous come out and if you are interested in God you would come out too. That is our approach.

And the ones who have a deeper understanding of outreach and make an effort to go out, go out to safe neighbourhoods where the majority of persons already know about God and go to church and then the effort fails because the emphasis is on stealing rather than winning souls.

Jesus did not only come to the world, while He was here physically he went to those society frowned on, He mingled with the average Joe. But we, Christians, Christ’s representatives, somehow see it as beneath us to go anywhere. Instead we confine ourselves to the four walls we call church, not realising that wherever we take the Love of Christ is church.

Too many of us take comfort in dilapidated buildings, dwindling numbers and rising debt with that cry of “the world has changed”. Gone are the days when everyone revere and depend on the priest, when what is said in church is seen as the only way rather than someone’s opinion.

Part of that reality is that the church has assisted in the change of the world. We have preached a gospel we were not and do not seem willing to live. Many of us preach a Gospel of love for a particular type of person.

The homosexual, the prostitute, the drunkard, the drug user, the criminal and unless we are friendly with person who do what some consider to be “demeaning” jobs, they are all outside the paling of God’s grace.

If we can boast of having the Love of God, then clearly we should see it as our job to take and share that love with the world and not hope for them to come and get it. Chances are, if you don’t know about something you don’t want it; that is why businesses advertise.

In too many places the church can be compared to a country club where you are recognised on the basis of your school, your children’s school, your workplace or business, vehicle or neighbourhood.

Church has to be more than sharing with persons of similar likes and similar interests, it is about experiencing the love of God and sharing it with everyone we encounter, despite their sexuality, education or lack thereof, place of employment or anything physical that does not matter to the God we represent.

Church is about meeting people where they are spiritually and physically and sharing the love of God which will enact a change in their attitude.

Our current approach is having people change their attitude, come join us and believe in God. That has not work and chances are it will not work — so let’s try the other way.

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