Summary: We can point fingers as much as we want but the state of the city falls squarely on the shoulders of the church. Our retreat from the city has allowed the enemy too much victory. We are not called to success but to faithfulness. The sky isn’t falling!
Do you Remember the story of Chicken Little? The little chicken who became terrified that the sky was falling when an acorn fell from a tree and hit her on the head? Chicken Little convinced Henny Penny, Cocky Locky,and Goosey Poosey that the sky was indeed falling and they should go and report it to the king. While on their way to castle they were confronted by Foxy Woxy who tricked them into taking a short cut. But when Foxy Woxy tried to kill the fine feathered friends they were rescued by the king’s hunting dogs! We’re told that he ran far away and never came back. The closing paragraph reads this way,
"After that day, Chicken Little always carried an umbrella with her when she walked in the woods. The umbrella was a present from the king. And if -- KERPLUNK -- an acorn fell, Chicken Little didn’t mind a bit. In fact, she didn’t notice it at all."
Chicken Little has lead the Great Church of Christ in a mass exodus from our cities, Foxy Woxy (aka - Satan) has helped terrorize the church. Have we forgotten that we are called to be the Salt and Light OF the WORLD? That means we have to be IN the WORLD! But we have abandoned the world, and the city in particular. We have forgotten that Christ has provided for us an umbrella of protection in order for us to be faithful and not necessarily successful.
As I mentioned before, we are starting a new series. We are looking at our church’s logo and looking at the foundational elements of why we exist as a church.
Last week I mentioned that our primary reason for existing is to worship and serve God, Jesus who is The light of the World, the bright morning Star. So the Star is the main focus of our reason for being. All our reasons for existing our founded on this primary one. So the star on our logo represents what?
Jesus – our primary focus.
Today we look at another element of our logo. The city. Why is the city an important part of our logo? I hope that will be clear by the time we finish today.
I want you think for a moment about the following question and then I’d like to hear your answers. Is the Bible mainly a rural book or an urban book? Does it relate more to life outside the city or with life in the city?
If we look at the flow of historical Biblical events we will see God’s redemptive plan drawing people from the rural to the urban. The Bible is filled with people and stories who’s context IS the city.
Name some of your favorite Bible heros and let’s see their geographical context:
Abraham: lived in a great city Ur, called by God to leave, to establish a new nation – what is a nation made up of? CITIES
Joseph: Egypt – life in a city.
Moses – began in a city and then lead the people through the wilderness, but along the way they interacted with cities.
Joshua – the conquest of the promised land was about conquering and re-establishing or building new cities.
Jonah – leaving one city to go and share God’s grace and mercy in another city.
Jesus – life revolved around towns and cities.
Paul – strategically moved from one city to another.
God’s Word tells us that all of history is moving towards a day when his followers will dwell in a new city, one built by God himself.
Since the mid to late 1960’s there has been a disappearance of the church from the city. We’ve seen church after church closing its doors permanently or to be relocated in the suburbs. Why?
Two important questions for us to consider: Why have some churches abandoned the city? And secondly why are other churches still here and more specifically why are we still here?
Let’s look at possible answers as to why some churches have chosen to leave the city:
What are some reasons you think this has happened? (Looking for both positive and negative reasons)
· Membership has moved
· Building too old
· Land too expensive in the city
· Fear of the city
· Difficult to minister in the city
· Felt called by God – opportunity to serve in another place.
Now the second question: Why are some churches still here? (Looking for both positive and negative reasons)
· Stubborn – don’t want move, still living in the past
· Can’t afford to move
· Too afraid to move
· No vision
· Faithful to God’s calling to serve Him and others in the city – clear vision and calling.
· Can’t move – constitution won’t allow them.