Outside the Walls

Last night, we had the privilege of hosting a couple of people who have been visiting our church for a little while now. We shared a meal and talked about questions that they may had about the church and the Christian faith. It was a special time.

I have been thinking about a couple of things since that time last night. The church was never meant to stay behind the walls of a building. Sure, Jesus told His disciples not to leave Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit's arrival (Acts 1:4-5), but were they supposed to stay behind those walls until Jesus returned?

I think not because of what comes in Acts 1:8 when Jesus promises power for the task of taking the Gospel to the "ends of the earth." One cannot take the Gospel as it was intended to the nations if they are hidden behind walls. Jesus intended for His disciples, the ones who bear His name, to do what He did (John 14:12). Jesus went to the people who needed the Gospel and did not wait for them to come running to Him all the time.

I was reminded by a pastor recently that too many of our churches have bought into the "Field of Dreams" model: "if you build it, they will come." How has that been working for us?

It seems interesting to me that the first Christian "church buildings" didn't come around until the 4th century A.D. That was also when a decline in the church began that led to the Dark Ages. What did those poor Christians of the first three centuries of the church do? They met in homes and other community places.

I am not against church buildings in and of themselves. They can be great tools for doing ministry. The problem comes when the building becomes a place where we just sit on our "blessed assurance" and do not "be the body of Christ" to our communities.

May today we represent Jesus in a real way to our communities. May we go as we were commanded (Matthew 28:19-20), and share the love of Christ with a world that is waiting... outside the walls of our buildings.