Wednesday, April 8, 2009

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD...taking church outside the walls

I read a poll recently that said about 44% of the American people claim to be in church on any given Sunday. So I dare ask...who is sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with the other 56%?

Certainly, in this staggering amount of "unchurched", there is a small percentage that come into the church occasionally, (possibly a small portion of these will visit church services this Easter Sunday). But my feeling is that many of that 56% have never darkened the doors of a church building.

From mass mailings to media advertising to new programs, churches all over are trying to reach those that do not have a "church home". But yet so many of the unchurched still resist.

We could follow the example of Jesus ... if they won't come to Church, we can take the Church to them!

Jesus did not spend much of His ministry preaching in the buildings that were devoted to religious worship, rather, He met people where they lived. He spoke to the people while they were in the midst of their day-to-day routines. His companions were more likely to be the "unchurched" of His day: such as the tax collector, the prostitutes and the poor working people.

One of the greatest examples of how Christ reached the "unchurched" is found in the story of the Samaritan woman. The woman in this story was the lowest of the low.

JOHN 4:7-10 "When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, 'Will You give me a drink?' (8) His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. (9) The Samaritan woman said to Him, 'You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan women. How can you ask me for a drink?' (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) (10) Jesus answered her, 'If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.' "

As I study the story of the Samaritan woman (read all the way thru verse 29), I see 3 things that we can learn from Jesus about building relationships with our unchurched friends:

Do not assume that you know how they think or believe. Take time to listen to their hearts. That is what Jesus did!

Jesus let the Samaritan woman question the Jewish tradition of temple worship in Jerusalem. Listening to questions without being resistant will help the person know that you value their perspective. There is never a question too dumb to ask. That is what Jesus thought!

The very beginning of Jesus' interaction with the Samaritan woman was by asking her for a drink of water. Even though Jesus was thirsty, He recognized that in a true relationship, people need to give as well as receive. This is what Jesus demonstrated to us!

In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers and asked the following question, " What was it that you most thirsted for during your adolescence?". The top 3 answers were:

1. 29% voted and said that they wanted attention from the opposite sex.
2. 23% of those voting said that they desired attention from their parents.
3. 11% of those polled, said that they wanted recognition and respect for their achievements.

This poll reveals to me that we all are looking for something. You may think that you don't have anything to offer to your "unchurched" friends. But I disagree with that thinking. We must all take on the approach of Jesus and care for the "unchurched", even if we have to take the church to them!

56% of the American people are unchurched ...
what percentage of that are you willing to reach?

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD is a a post each week devoted to my thoughts on a personal study that I am doing. Right now I am studying from a book that is leading me to ways I can make a lasting legacy with my life. I hope you will join me on this journey of leaving a legacy for Christ.

YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL: Please vote in this weeks new poll. Find it on the side bar of this blog, and remember your opinion really DOES matter!


Kristina said...

Great post! I admit I am guilty of not getting outside of my church walls very often. You inspire me to do better.

Laurie Ann said...

Very interesting! Praying I reach as many as possible for Him...