Summary: The followers of Jesus are called to go to the world with the hope of Jesus Christ.
Going Out To Bring Them In
Along time ago in a land far away there was a church. The church had been
founded by a handful of men and women who wanted nothing more out of life
than to make a difference in their community for the Kingdom of God. They
had read the Word of God and been gripped by the simple, yet profound
message of grace that raced throughout its pages. They had been captured by
the heart of God and by God's call to establish a house of worship where all
people could come to find healing, hope, salvation, biblical counsel, and
the encouragement they needed to begin to catch a vision of God's plan for
their life. These committed men and women made a covenant together that the
church God had birthed through their prayers would forever remain in their
neighborhood as a sign of God's love for all of the people in that
Over the next several years these men and women saw hundreds of people,
young and old alike, come to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They
didn't stop there they set up small Bible studies where these new believers
could meet on a weekly basis with those who had matured in their walk with
the Lord. They set up opportunities for regular prayer where those who were
sick with physical ailments, those who were emotionally distraught, and
spiritually struggling could bring their brokenness to God with His people
supporting them. Their little church became a Holy Hospital where people
could come for healing, restoration, and renewal.
As those original founders of the church began to age, a new generation of
leaders came on to the scene. They had watched for years as their parents
and grandparents had sacrificed weeknights away from home to disciple new
believers. They had seen how their elders had gone out of their way to
reach out to people that other churches really didn't care too much about.
They had watched their families do without the extras so that they could
give their money to the work of Christ in reaching those who didn't know the
Those, who were younger, didn't possess the passion to reach people for the
Lord like their elders had and as a result the church began to make
decisions that were very different than the decisions made years earlier.
Those who had founded the church found great excitement in partnering with
another person and leading a Bible study or visiting the widows in the
church. The younger folks wanted fellowship opportunities that were simply
fun. Their plans for the church began to reflect what they wanted instead of
what God desired for their community. Their money, they felt, was their
With each new generation a little bit of the fire and passion faded. The
fire that once drove the people to commit themselves wholeheartedly to
reaching out with the gospel to those who were lost and hurting evolved into
nothing more than a struggle to make it to church on Sunday.
The church that I am speaking about this morning is not a church unknown to
us. We, in the United States, have witnessed an evolution of the church
that is more than sad, it is tragic. We have more churches in America today
than we have ever had in our nation's history. Don't let that fact lead you
to conclusions that are untrue. The impact that our churches are having
pales in comparison to the little group of believers who came out of the
upper room in Jerusalem and took the world by storm shortly after Jesus'
Today, the church has redirected its attention and energy from winning
people to Christ and discipleship to packaging the best entertainment for
our people that we can muster. I would challenge you to take a look at the
churches around you, take a look at Britton Christian Church while you are
at it. Ask the questions, "Where is the money going? Is it being used to
reach out to those who are not seated in the pews each Sunday or is it being
used to make the pews more comfortable for those who are already present?
Are the programs of the church designed to help people grow in their
relationship with the Lord or are they designed to allow the members to
simply have fun?
Some people would say, "But why would I want to join a church that spends
so much time and energy on reaching people who don't even belong to our
church?" Why wouldn't I want to join a church that makes it fun to go to
church? Why wouldn't I want to be a part of a church that makes social and
recreational opportunities for me and my family a priority?"