The church must leave the building

Published 8:44 am Friday, June 7, 2019

I have always agreed with the old saying, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!” But I have realized recently that sometimes we don’t want to admit or see that something is broken because that means we must do something completely different to fix it. We often would rather keep doing what we always have done because it is easier even though we know it is not working. Sometimes I think we do not want to break tradition, and we continue doing something because it is the way we have been taught and we feel that changing something would feel like rebellion. For whatever reason, the church has continued doing the same things and we have expected a different outcome for years, but the same things continue to happen. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing expecting different results. I am afraid that what we see happening around us today is the result of the church. In fact, in 2 Chronicles 7:14, God calls out His people who are called by His name. He says that they must humble themselves, repent, turn from their wicked ways and pray, and He would heal our land It sure seems that God has an issue with his children, and for the world to be healed it is essential that we do something different.
I was raised in church as a child and we went every time the door was open. I began a relationship with Jesus at age nine. Believe me friend, I know exactly how the church operates, and what “churchy” folks want to look like. We had a spring and fall revival each year, and we heard a series of messages along with some singing, and a couple of weeks after the revival, the church was right back where it was spiritually before the revival began. It was only a temporary change until the “revival experience” wore off again. We waited for individuals with no relationship with Jesus to show up at church so we could share with them the gospel, and hopefully they would become like us. I have thought back on my church experience, and I do not remember the church ever leaving the building to go out into the community to build relationships with the unchurched. At Christmas, we would carol to some shut-ins that couldn’t make it out to church and deliver fruit baskets, and oftentimes these were individuals that used to be in church but due to their health could not make it to church. We even went to a nursing home to sing from time to time, but I never remember going to assist someone that was not in church or maybe wasn’t even a believer. If we did help someone out, it was someone who was a part of the church. God began to convict my heart, and he directed our church to reach out into our community. You can’t fish from inside a house. You must go to where the fish are located! We can sit around in the boat of church and wait for the fish to jump in, but that most likely isn’t going to happen. Christ made us fishers of men and commanded us to “GO!” Have you ever asked yourself, “Where has the church went over the years?” We have stayed put in the church, and that isn’t fulfilling the scripture in Matthew 25:31-46.
At Harmony, our first real encounter with the community came 11 years ago when we did the first Back to School Bash, and every year since we have seen a major need within our community. We have so many in poverty, addiction, family brokenness, and so much more in this region, and honestly one event a year is not enough to assist these individuals. We realized last year that we had to do more, and we needed to think outside the box. We knew that we had to leave our building and take the church to the people. Last year, we began a Solution Tour. On Sunday evenings, from Memorial Day to Labor Day we are out in the community having church with the people. We set up a worship service outdoors in trailer parks, apartment complexes, and even in parks around the area. We take food and drinks and we begin building relationships with the people in attendance. We are not there to judge nor condemn these individuals but rather we are there to reach out a helping hand and show them the love of Jesus Christ. We want to be moved with compassion and make a difference. Last Sunday evening, we were at the Arney Hill Apartments and God blessed tremendously. We had many come forward needing prayer for major things going on in their lives, four individuals wanted to renew their commitment to Jesus, and one young man began his relationship with Jesus. We baptized him that very evening! I can tell you that these services have also changed our church and gave us a new outlook on the purpose of the church. This upcoming Sunday night at 6 p.m. we will be in the South Hills apartment complex and we welcome each of you to join us!
If your church hasn’t left the building yet, be the voice that sparks a change. Ask church leadership to think about going into the community to love on these hurting individuals I can only imagine how intimidating it must be for folks to try to attend a church cold turkey without knowing anyone, and the fear would be paralyzing. Once your church has broken the ice, and built a meaningful relationship with your neighborhood, it may surprise you what will happen next. We need the body of Jesus to be at work. Now is the time! Let’s leave the building and be the church of Jesus Christ!
(The Solution Column is provided by Brandon Young, Pastor of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton, and his associate, Hunter Greene.)

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