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Monday, July 15, 2013

A Church for Non Church-people

In the last chapter of “The Grace of God” by Andy Stanley, he talks about having a church for non “church- people”. 

I began asking God what a church would look like/act like that non “church- people” would be comfortable attending.

God lead me to Phil 1-2

While Paul was writing to fellow Believers in Christ, I think his words can serve as an example for how we can reach those who do not share our faith in Jesus as Savior.

Here are some things I’m learning:

In the opening lines, Paul identifies himself lower than the Philippians (Bondservant verses Saints). In all actuality Paul could very well have talked down to them, instead, he lifts them up and makes them feel important. 

1.        We shouldn’t “talk down” to the lost. We can’t have a superior attitude and think they’re going to want to listen to anything we have to say. They are loved and valued by Christ; we must treat them as such. We are Christ’s servants and He wants us to invite them to be part of our family. We must make the invitation inviting!!!

Next, Paul uses language familiar to the cultures he’s addressing (Grace and peace). The church at Philippi was a blended church, so this greeting acknowledges both cultures as equal and valued.

2.        We use “church language” that’s completely foreign to non-church goers. We need to use language they can relate to and are comfortable with. We should respect their culture/background/habits as long as it doesn’t contradict the Bible. So what if they don’t dress as we do? God’s concerned with the soul, not the outward appearance. God wants to restore relationships.

In verses 9-11 we, the Church, are told to abound in: LOVE, KNOWLEDGE, DISCERNMENT, BEING SINCERE, WITHOUT OFFENSE, THE FRUIT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS….which will bring glory and praise to God. !  In Phil 2:  14 We’re told to stop complaining!

3.        If we are abounding in those things, the world will see God and His grace. They will praise Him for He is worthy to be praised. But if we are not abounding in those things, then God is not glorified in us and it will manifest itself by having churches filled with immature Christians who don’t invite any new souls to the kingdom of God and instead complain about every little thing. 

Verses 12-14 show us that we must be where God wants us to be and not necessarily where we want to be. Paul was in chains. I’m sure he could think of a million places he’d rather have been, but God was using those chains to change lives. 

4.        We must be willing to move out of our comfort zones and meet people where they are (in whatever prison sin has them bound). The truth (God’s Word) can set people free but only if they hear His Word. We must go where the Word is needed. Jesus came to call the sinners, not the righteous, to Him. We must be His voice calling out to those who need to hear.

Next God showed me that the Body of Christ can’t sweat the small stuff. In Phil 1:15-18 Paul says that it doesn’t really matter how or why the Gospel is preached so long as it’s preached!

5.        We can’t get caught up in petty details. Does it really matter if someone witnesses in line at the grocery store or in a sports bar watching the playoffs… or does it have to be at a church function? Does it really matter if one person uses Romans Road to witness and another uses their personal testimony? Is one place more holy than another? Is there only one way to present the Gospel?  

Phil 1:27 and Phil 2:2 we see that the Body of Believers needs to be unified, being of one Spirit and One mind. We need to work together to spread the message of Christ based on faith, not works. 

6.        Satan is the author of confusion. If the world sees us in disarray and bickering it will turn away. We can’t be confused as to who we are and what we believe and think non church-people will want to join us. If we are confused, we will simply confuse them even more.

Phil 2:3-4 we are told how to act. 

7.        We need to show the world they are worthy and loved JUST AS THEY ARE. They don’t have to get cleaned up for God to love them. He loves them right where they are, just like He loved you before you became a “church person”. 

Phil 2:5-11 we see that Jesus came in the “likeness of man”. 

8.       Dressing and acting like “church people” doesn’t make us Holy, it makes us actors. Only a personal relationship with Christ makes us Holy.  If Jesus was willing to “dress down” then why aren’t we? Do we feel the need to dress a certain way in order to be close to God? Do you feel closer to God on Sunday because of how you dress or because you’re entering into His presence with fellow believers? To make the world feel more at home in church, maybe we should relax a little on dress codes. I’m not saying females should wear miniskirts or men should come without shirts, but that we need to remember Gods concerned with the heart, not our outward appearance. Stop worrying about your “church” reputation and start mingling with those who look and act different than you.

Lastly God showed me that we must focus on Grace, not programs, worship style or gimmicks. 

Those are my thoughts on how to have a church welcoming to NON Church-people.
What are your thoughts?


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