So I have had this topic on my mind a lot lately: the need for the Church to get off the pew and put their faith into action on a regular basis, being the hands and feet of Christ.
This need has been amplified by the fact that I am currently interning with a pastor at a church that has NO ministry outside of the Sunday school classes. The church is thriving financially and resides on an island where there is much ministry to be done and none of the five churches in this small 2500 person population are doing anything about it.
It blows me away how people can be so complacent. I just don’t understand how the Church has become so selfish. I look at the scriptures and see the complete opposite of what is exemplified today in the church. So where did we get this idea that all ministry is to be done within the church?
The two articles above give narratives and examples of the need for the Body of Christ to get in motion and start ministering to the lost. It is something I see as essential within the body of Christ. I am sure I am biased in the fact that my passion lies in cross-cultural ministry (i.e. missions work), but yet I see no reason why the Church in North America cannot reach out, not only to those on the other side of the world, but also around the corner and down the street. (The sad thing is, the church I am ministering at does not even support any missionaries. I have never seen a more selfish ministry.)
I believe in the importance of discipleship. In fact, I believe that evangelism and discipleship should be held up and weighed equally within the church. Both are essential to the health of the Body. But yet we seem to go too far one way most of the time. We would rather stay within our comfort zone and be satisfied with just talking about God to the others we see every Sunday morning, rather than going out regularly and talking about God to someone who needs to hear it.
I also believe evangelism is a ripe opportunity for ministers to disciple their followers. What better way to encourage and develop a believer than leading them out of the church and into “hands and feet” ministry.
I don’t know about others, but the greatest and most memorable experiences I have in my Christian walk have involved getting out and seeing how God could use a simple conversation or act of love to bless both myself and the person I am speaking with. Seeing God move in people’s lives outside of the church is much more powerful than what can become monotonous and mundane 95% within the church. (Not that this is how it is always.) Perhaps I can go so far as to argue that acts of “hands and feet” ministry outside of the church will lead to even greater moves of God and experiences of His power inside the church!
All I know is there are a lot of selfish believers in this world. And all I can say is… how dare you!? How dare you be so selfish by keeping the Gospel all to yourself?!
(UPDATE: Here is an article a commentor suggested I read. I liked it. I encourage you to read it. It takes the above thoughts in a little different direction, but one that it needs to go. Thanks for the tip, Nate!)