Take Me to the Trenches
I know it sounds crazy, but there are people I know who would define me as brave, fearless, strong, and confident.
Crazy, right? Sometimes I even laugh out loud when someone calls me one of those things!
Several weeks ago my family was discussing what to have for lunch after church while in the sanctuary. I can’t remember what I said, but another church member responded that I should learn Spanish and go preach to the employees of the Mexican restaurant. One of our youth group members then responded, “If anyone would do that, Carrie would.”
I was surprised by that statement.
“You think I would really go preach in a restaurant parking lot?”
“Yes, I do.”
Me, “Well, if the situation called for it…”
It was a silly conversation. Nothing was meant by it, but it got me to thinking. Would I spontaneously “preach” in a public forum?
Well of course not! That’s just CRAZY! No one would do something like that!!!
Or would they?
If I remember my Bible stories correctly, Jesus preached from a boat, Paul taught wherever he went, John the Baptist was referred to as the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, Paul and Silas in the jail…should I go on?
Hmmmm. Ministry does not always take place in “safe” places.
I’ve been thinking this week about the difference between the protecting church and the preaching church.
The protecting church is safe. We consider it our holy huddle. A place where we gather to worship, praise, learn, and pray. We lift each other up. We study the scripture. We listen to sermons. We continue to seek God’s will and invite others like us to join in. The protecting church is a good place!
But then I consider the preaching church. Wait, preaching happened in the protecting church, so why are you calling this “church” a preaching church?
The preaching church is not safe. The preaching church doesn’t necessarily have a foundational membership. The preaching church draws non-Christians regardless of their language, dress, or hobbies. The preaching church presents the gospel to everyone everywhere. It doesn’t censor it’s speech. The preaching church reaches out to those the rest of us are afraid to confront. The preaching church isn’t about a building, the programs, the membership, or any of the “traditional” churchy things.
Wow. Crazy, huh!
What church do you belong to? Protecting or preaching? (Please note…PREACHING does take place within the protecting church!!!!!)
Which do you WANT to belong to?
I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with a youth leader who is ministering in a preaching church. They have no “core” church kids. They have transient youth. I’m jealous. Yes, jealous!
In our church youth group we have core church kids. AMAZING, wonderful Christian kids that I have the privilege of ministering to weekly…sometimes daily. I love our youth. Truth be told, though, most of them could (and do) teach me. They’re church kids. They know the Bible. They understand spiritual things, and they’re grounded in their faith. I’m “protecting” them…which makes our youth group a protecting church. It’s a great place to raise your kids!
But, I’m jealous of a youth leader who never knows who will show up, who has behavior problems, who has kids who dress inappropriately, who has kids that don’t know that there are books in a Bible let alone how to find them or what information they contain. I’m jealous of their “preaching” youth group.
I do NOT believe God called us to sit in comfort and close ourselves off from sinners. Look at the people Christ Himself hung out with while on earth. If God’s own Son hung out with the worst of the worst, who am I to bypass them? Who am I to decide to protect myself, and others, from them?
Today I’m praying big prayers…Lord, here am I…send me! SEND me! Send me to those who need to hear…send me to those who don’t know how to behave in a “Christian” manner…send me to the ones You’ve already prepared to be ministered to…I’m terrified…I’m scared…I’m not brave or confident at all…but I know that You my God will supply all my needs, You will go before me and with me, You will be my strength…Thy will be done.