Hey Church… get out of your walls! (Dave Carrol, @DaveCarrol)

A few months ago, something pretty unheard-of happened.   My church, Freedom House, was named the Downtown Champion of the Year by the BIA.  If you don’t know, a BIA is a “Business Improvement Association.”  Imagine… a CHURCH being the entity that most positively affected a thriving business environment.  And positively effecting the business community is something that means a whole lot to our Church.  The kind of revival we’ve been praying for and working towards, is a holistic one.  One that affects ALL areas of our city.

A few weeks ago during our Sunday morning worship service, we sang a poppy little refrain that said, “You are Lord of All.”  It struck me about just how very little credence our churches sometimes give this concept sometimes.  The Church can sometimes struggle with vanity.  I’m am the biggest proponent of regular gathering for worship that there is. As the “Passion” worship movement’s Louie Giglio tweeted a few weeks ago,
“I’m glad the people who went before me didn’t decide they didn’t need the Church.”
But sometimes we get caught gazing at ourselves in the mirror, making sure we’re a “glorious church, without spot or wrinkle.”  This is not a  horrible thing theoretically… but then, like Elizabeth Taylor in her later years, we become paralyzed to go outside and show our real faces without a false idyllic front of mythical perfection.  When we have the courage to remember that, as David wrote in Psalm 24,
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it”
When The Church begins to have more confidence in taking this GOOD NEWS outside of our church’s four walls, we’ll begin to regain our place at the table of community influencers.
I dig walls.  They’ve got their place.  You’re gonna get hit with a roof if you don’t have walls. But those inside The Church, too easily forget that most of our lives ARE (and need to be) lived outside of those walls. Think about how buggy we ALL get if we don’t go outside even for a few days during the long winters.  We QUICKLY lose perspective and we get… weird.

We’re very excited to welcome Ed Silvoso, one of my ministry heroes, and his Transformation team to Brantford this summer June 26-28 for their North American Conference.  They are coming to our city because the world is taking notice of our recent renaissance  in Brantford and the role our increasingly unified church is playing in it.  A couple of Ed’s “Pivotal Paradigms” are very important shifts of thinking. They are the kind of statements that make the difference between seeing The Church be impactful in its surrounding community… or not.

One of them is:

“The marketplace (the heart of the nation) has already been redeemed by Jesus and now needs to be reclaimed by His followers”

Luke 19:10 says “ For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Jesus came to save that which was lost. In this sentence, the word “that” points to something beyond people or souls. Jesus did not come only save souls, but also to seek, find and recover EVERYTHING that was lost.

When we get condescending criticism that we should be like a “good little church” and stay inside our walls (and we do get that, both from inside and outside the Church) we smile politely, exercise grace, and continue on acting like we’re stewarding God’s REDEEMED “everything.” We’re simply acting out our calling to see “His Kingdom Come and will be done on earth as it is heaven.”  This statement and teaching by Jesus MUST be more than just a wish and a prayer.  We get to practically take steps to transform our cities.

The other paradigm of Silvoso’s that I wanted to highlight is that,

Labor is the premier expression of worship on earth; and every believer is a minister.

Many don’t want this to be true. In the only perfect God/Man interactive scenario we’ve ever had… whatever labor Adam did every day, he related it to worship because that is exactly what it was. Worship in the marketplace has to do with us both being IN His presence and realizing that He is in OUR presence right in the midst of our daily on-goings. If we leave labor out of the equation, worship on Earth is reduced to a limited activity with very little impact on the horizontal day-to-day’s that we ALL live in!

Some take issue with the word, “Premier” but when you consider the challenge we’re given in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “Pray without ceasing”  we MUST conclude that what we often throw away as banal and mundane are in fact DIVINE and HOLY…. and constitute a great deal of our time.  What a tragic waste to not appropriate this principle and simply wait for our “in walls” time.

If you ever stop to ask yourself the question, “Is this whole thing about me or is it about others?” The answer is:

It’s always about others… but it’s always THROUGH ME!

I’m thankful for Sunday morning worship and teaching.  I would recommend you find a house to hang with. Freedom House is a great place if you’re looking for one.  It’s vital and Biblical.   But BEING the church in the community and seeing a business culture (or arts culture, or education culture, or governmental culture) transformed simply by acting kindly is a vital mindset flip that we, as the church, need to make to fully show the love of God that so many of us greatly desire to display.

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