Summary: Implement the four steps for God’s Church to minister beyond the church walls
(Message title and Scripture passage taken from John Maxwell’s series, MAKE YOUR MOVE)
I was visiting someone in the hospital this week, and a curtain separated the room into two. At one point, there were loud beeping sounds from a machine on the other side of the curtain, so I looked over. An elderly lady was gasping for air, so I went over and asked a profound question, “Are you okay?” “Do you want me to call someone to help?”
She replied, “No, it just hurts really bad.”
I asked her what she was doing in the emergency room, and she said, “My stomach hurts, but the doctor hasn’t found out why.”
I told her I was a pastor, and asked if she would like me to pray for her. She said she wasn’t religious, but welcomed prayer. After I prayed for her, tears came rolling from the corners of her eyes. Then I began to talk with her about Jesus Christ and life after death. I encouraged her to trust Jesus Christ to have peace with God.
She replied, “I’ll try.”
I said, “Don’t try. Just let Him love you.”
When I went back over to the other side of the curtain, I felt like a little child who had his first taste of ice cream. I thought, “That is what I was made for!”
Unchurched people need a pastor more than church people. In our church website, there is a page about me, the pastor. This is what it reads: Pastor Dana Chau is the Perfect Pastor
"The Perfect Pastor would remind people of Jesus. He would tell people about God in a way they could understand. He would care about people so much that he’s not afraid to cry with them.
He would do whatever God the Father told him to do. Of course, he would not be without sin, like Jesus, but he would confess his sins and ask for forgiveness. The Perfect Pastor doesn’t have to be perfect. He just needs to be a good friend of God, so that when people can’t see God, they can see God in their Pastor.
When people have the Perfect Pastor, they will let him outside the church, too. They remember that Jesus didn’t stay with church people all the time. People who don’t know God need the Perfect Pastor more than people who know God."
The pastor is not called to perform the work to keep a religious organization alive. The pastor is called to prepare believers for maturity and ministry. And together, the pastor and believers are called to go out and bless the world; we are not called to just stay inside the church walls and bless each other.
And if the Church is to bless the world, we need to move out. Our text is Colossians 4:7-15.
The Apostle Paul wrote this letter from a prison cell to the Colossians. Paul was not in prison for a criminal violation but for his faith. And the people he listed in these 12 verses were Christians whom the Colossians knew. These Christians were God’s Church serving outside the Church walls. They serve as a model for us to follow.
If we are to be God’s Church moving outside our walls to serve God by serving people, we would do well to follow in their steps. Let’s look at the four steps of God’s Church moving out.
Step one: God’s Church needs to step out. We see this in the characters Paul mentioned were with him.
A Chinese proverb says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” If God’s Church is to move out, we need to do that physically, not just with words, flyers, invitations or our website. We need to take our ministry to the unchurched, rather than expect the unchurched to come into the church.
Richard Halverson, prior chaplain of the U.S. Senate, wrote, “The work of the church is outside the establishment. Outside the church. In the world. And it takes every member to do it! Nowhere in the Bible is the world exhorted to ‘come to the church.’ But the church’s mandate is clear: She must go to the world.”
Whether we look at Abraham in the Old Testament or the disciples in the New Testament, God’s command is clear: God’s blessings must go out from the believers to the unbelievers, not that the unbelievers would come to the believers for the blessings.
Practically speaking, we must begin to see ourselves as the pastors to our neighbor, to our co-workers and classmates. The unchurched need a pastor, but only you can be their pastor. I cannot. I do not have contact with your neighbors, with your co-workers or with your classmates. You do, and God wants you, His Church, to move out.