When something remains still, people will stop noticing it. In a world where things move so darn fast, you’d think that things that don’t move would be easier to spot. But, that’s not true.
Staying still is a protective measure. When creatures don’t want to be eaten, they have two options: run like hell or play dead. I’ve seen enough national geographic to know that things that play dead wind up actually dead more often than not.
Churches have been playing dead for far too long. We have stayed put safely inside our walls for WAY too long.
If we want to truly follow the Jesus who has come that we may have life and have it to the full, then we have got to stop playing dead. We’ve got to start moving.
Jesus didn’t draw crowds to himself by staying still. He literally went out to where the people were and the people gathered around him. We see it in this passage and everywhere else in the gospel stories as well.
At some point, the church started planting itself in buildings and expecting people to gather there. This was the main way of preaching, teaching, and ministering during the age known as Christendom. Build it and they will come…and that worked in a world where Christianity was the default mindset. I’m not blaming you personally for having this mindset. It is what worked over 1500 years.
It didn’t actually matter that cultural Christianity and authentic Christianity have had very little to do with each other. Cultural Christianity is when a person could miss church on Sunday and hear about it from their boss on Monday. “Everybody” went to church….or so the myth goes.
Christianity during that time, especially in our country, was cosmetic. We wanted the look of Christianity. We wanted the prestige and sense of “normalcy” that going to church brought. But, it was nothing more than a paint job.
Authentic Christianity is, and has been from the beginning, about rebuilding the engine instead of just throwing a nice coat of paint on the exterior.
Jesus was a heart mechanic, not a detailer. But he didn’t have a workshop. He made house calls and went where the broken cars were.
I’m going to break away from the car metaphor and just get right to it: Jesus traveled to hurting, sick, and broken people to heal them and change their hearts. Jesus instituted the Church…he did NOT institute a building plan.
Jesus said GO and make disciples. He did not say build a nice sanctuary and form a social club. He said GO. He didn’t say stay.
What worked for 1500 years of Christendom WILL NOT WORK TODAY! But what worked in Jesus’ day absolutely will. Why? Because just like today, in Jesus’ day, believers had to go out to those outside of their walls because Christianity wasn’t the default mindset. The Temple had a mindset, but Jesus had a lot to say about the Temple. Maybe I’ll get into it sometime.
They had to go out and do amazing things in order for people to notice them. But they DID get noticed. They DID draw crowds. They just didn’t do it by thinking the people were going to come to them.
The people, not the building, are the church.
CAUTION: It sounds like I’m saying we need to go gather people around us, to draw people to us. Let me be clear from the start:
We are not drawing people to us, Jesus is drawing people to himself THROUGH US!