This Sunday I will be speaking at a church in the Charlotte area for their missions conference. I met their pastor a couple of years ago when I spoke in chapel at Piedmont International University in Winston-Salem. My theme will be very simple:
The gathering exists for the going.
The church does not exist for us. It exists for the world. Of course, it's true that the gathering includes teaching. Apostolic doctrine is essential to the health of a church. But this is not knowledge for the sake of knowledge. I believe we need to allow ourselves to draw near to the throbbing needs of the world all around us.
Many years ago, while Becky and I were living in Basel, we took a trip to Greece. I will never forget standing atop the Acropolis for the first time. If you've been there you know it is in the center of the hustling and bustling city of Athens.
As I watched the crowds scurrying on their way to work and the cars coming and going, I thought to myself, "How is it that you're spending all of your time here in Athens admiring its ancient architecture when your heart for most of your life has been reaching people in the middle of their suffering with the good news of Jesus Christ?" How did I let that happen? How can I let that happen? We must not let that happen.
Many of us who call ourselves Christians are not really Christians. (See The Unsaved Christian by Dean Inserra.) We need to make the noun an adjective until our motives, attitudes, and actions are as missional as Christ's were.
Are you a Christian? I mean, are you a noun-Christian or an adjective-Christian?