For the longest time I would get frustrated because it seemed like we always wanted to bring people to church. It was as if church was someone’s salvation, or we thought that only the people from the pulpit could somehow teach people about the way of Jesus. This was definitely something that was insinuated in my upbringing. The way to evangelize was to bring people into the doors of the church. Because of this I think I reacted strongly in the opposite in that we can have relationships outside of the church with people and its ok not to invite them to your church service.
Oddly, I still find myself highlighting my church in conversations. When people ask me what I do, I tell them I have planted a church and I go on to tell them about it. Still, after all the negative feelings I have had toward inviting people to church, I still feel somewhat prone to brag about it. Before, when I was in youth, I would gloat about the videos and the great teaching and how much fun we would have. Now I find myself gloating about different aspects. Maybe its just how we are different, or our short films or poker night, but either way I still end up highlighting my church.
Part of me now though is starting to swing back in the other direction. I think its ok to be proud of my church. I think its ok to brag about all the fun things we do and all the things we are trying to do for the community and the reasons we are doing them. I’m proud of Jesus, so why shouldn’t I be proud of his body? Especially when his body isn’t being selfish and actually doing its job. I also think that its ok for people to be attracted to what the church is doing. If someone connects with something we are doing, whether it be our short films, acts of justice around the city or even poker night then it only makes sense for them to connect with us. God is using these interests and similiar hearts to unveil his kingdom in each other.
This post was more me speaking to myself and telling myself to relax a bit when people want to hear about the church. A while ago I’d be hesitant to say anything because I didn’t want people to be interested because of church and not because of God and this probably came from my negative experiences with the church and me growing up never wanting to bring friends to church ever. Now that people are actually interested and theStory is actually an attractive place to be and I’m proud to be a member and not ashamed it only makes sense. It only makes sense that people are attracted to a community if they are really being the body of Christ. So my suspicions for the most part are laid to rest. My fear of people being attracted to church before god is unwarranted because if they are attracted to the church, it’s because God is found all throughout it.
4 thoughts on “God’s Church is Attractive”
One of the church fathers, Tertullian I think said: “Extra Ecclesium nuc Sullus.” For those of us who aren’t as pretentious as I am that means “Outside of the church there is no salvation.” For most of us who are used to a highly emotive and individualistic Christianity this statement is shocking and “Catholic” (ugh). But practically all the Protestant confessions, including the Methodist ones, reference this quote directly.
We know that faith just doesn’t appear, but that God gives it and nurtures it through certian means. What are these means? Well, the church catholic has always said that the communion of saints, preaching of the Word, church dicipline and the sacraments, each given my Christ Himself, to give and nurture faith. Where are these things found? At Tyndale? At the YMCA? No. In my living room? No. In the church. FOr this reason I too have no problem exhorting people to get their asses in church.
There’s definitely something to be said (as stated above) for the necessity of the church catholic. I think too there is a necessity for Christians to share their faith in places other than the church, not relying on the pastor to do the evangelizing, as you mentioned in your post. I think ultimately it’s a tension that must be maintained in order to remain healthy as the body of Christ. Just my two cents.
I can’t help but agree with both your original position and your eventual conclusion.
Andrew Peterson wrote a song a few years ago that started out as frustration for the “God Hates Fags” church. As he was writing the song though, he tells about his realization of his own (sometimes) hypocrisy and then ultimately his remembrance the “The Church” is the Bride of Christ.
Your frustration (and mine), stems from the church as an institution that claims to have all the answers and yet constantly screws it up. The reality, however, is that we, as people, are the Bride of Christ, The Church, and what Jesus did on the cross supercedes all the crap.
The times I am most proud of “my church” is when the remember, and act like, they are a part of The Church.
BTW…I tell people all the time about the church I am affiliated with. Generally, I leave getting more information about it up to them. I don’t want to see the seats filled by people who are curious…I want to see the seats filled by people who are hungry and need filling.
A church in Toronto that plays short films is very attractive to me. Toronto is one of my favorite places, I remember getting a veggie dog from a street cart once and it was ooh so yummy!