Is Your Church A Country Club?

 

I have been brainstorming ideas for an upcoming ladies event in New Hampshire where I was asked to speak.

A few weeks ago, I was discussing this with a friend, and asking her advice. I asked what she felt was the most pressing need for Conservative Christian women today.

Her answer: Reach out to the unsaved community.

She said that if she had to do it over again, she would have gone to library reading groups, MOPS groups and the playground strategically, instead of spending her days mainly with church women.

Turns out, this is exactly the topic that I was ASKED to speak on by the ladies ministry coordinator. Amazing how God works, huh? Seems like this is the topic  on everyones minds lately, because it’s come up a lot lately and I’ve been asked to cover the topic several times now.

Somehow, Conservative women are NOT known for their involvement in the community. How do we expect to be salt and light when we are hidden away in our own little worlds?

And as much as “church” is a great place to be, our friendships must reach past the church walls. This seems like a no-brainer, but somehow it is not.

Christians should never let the church become their Country Club. You know the mindset. The old WE don’t associate with THEM kind of exclusivity. We only associate with others who believe as we do…and for heaven’s sake, MY kids will certainly not be playing with YOUR kids if you disagree with ME. (pride, pride, pride.)

Churches should be a refueling center. Command central, if you will, where we hear the teaching of Christ, so that we can go out and do something with it. It should be the place where we worship, fellowship and reconnect with those who are in the same battle we are in.

AND THEN WE MUST GO OUT.

Here is where many of us fail. We adopt the “non-contamination” mindset which is anti-biblical. We are told to be in the world, but not of the world. And you cannot be involved if you don’t —–> go in. But, we don’t really want to deal with the messy lives of others, thank you very much.

When you realize what you have been saved FROM…

And that but for the grace of God, there I also go…

You quickly get off your high horse,

And mount one that is swift to share the good news with those who could also benefit as we did.

Imagine telling Christ how your week was spent.

  • Well, Lord, I had lots of fellowship with other like-minded believers. At church, in my home, on Facebook…
  • And…I read my bible and prayed…a lot.
  • And, I even prayed for some unsaved family. (bonus!)

And perhaps He might ask,

But what about those around you who are dying and going to hell? Did you tell them that that was not necessary? Did you tell them that I died for them so they could come to me? Why did you play in your back yard and ignore your neighbors? You are my ambassador, but you really don’t have too much to say for me.

IF we really believed that the gospel is what it is… and 

IF we really believed that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be, and

If we really loved others the way that we were loved…

How might our lives look different?

 

Conservative Christian women are known for many things.

Unfortunately, in many cases, LOVE is not one of those things.

And although I am thankful for the many loving Christian women that have been great examples to me over the years (like my own mother and mother in law) I am saddened by the lack of love displayed to “strangers” in the name of separation.

  • When you meet someone on the street and do not greet them, how dwelleth the love of God in you?
  • When you are rude to the cashier, how dwelleth the love of God in you?
  • When you make distainful comments about someone’s problems, how dwelleth the love of God in you?
  • When you look down your self-righteous nose at someone else’s “stage” in Christian growth, how dwelleth the love of God in you?

Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”——->It is hard when you have young children. I get that. But we need to be creative. We cannot be silent with good news like this.

And we cannot expect the “fish” to jump into the boat. Even in 2012 we must be fishers of men.

What creative ways have you found to reach out in love to your neighbors?

 

16 comments

  1. Lisa W says:

    Thank you for being obedient in sharing the Word! God is pruning away the Christianese I have walked in for 30 years as I’ve been in lay ministry. Thank you, Lord! It is a bit daunting, but the Lord is always with me. I enjoy reading you daily walk!
    Lisa in WA

  2. sara karr says:

    Thank you for this great post. So true . Reminds me of a few weeks back in Chruch our Pastor had mentioned how our chruch wants to do more outreach and so forth this year. then not even 5 mins after one of the teens got up and talked about there time at a youth retreat and how we are to take up our cross and how they where deleting friends like on facebook that weren’t christian and how after they where appluased by that well aren’t we kind of going against what was just said that our chruch wants to do more of. Plus yes how do we outreach then. Plus the sad thing is i my non christian friends are the ones that have been here for us more and done more for us than any one in our own families or even or own chruch pretty sad. I’m praying for them and being there for them and not shunning them out they have been the biggest blessings to us and our kids.

  3. Maria says:

    Thank you for this AWESOME post!!! This is a message that I wish all Christian gatherings could read. I’m noticing more cliques forming and less evangelizing which saddens me. Thanks again for sharing from your heart.

  4. Zina Paul says:

    Thank you so much for your post! When we moved to Germany 6 yrs ago we were kind of forced to rely on non-Christians for some things and that really helped me. It helped me to see that they need the Lord and I am being selfish as you mentioned, when I keep him to myself.
    We have been able to reach out to families thru our children and their friends. To keep our kids “out of the world” although the are “in the world” We made a rule of no sleeping overnight at someone’s house. It seems to be working well at keeping a balance. And not letting the relationships become too close.

    • Sarah Beals says:

      That seems like a great rule, Zina, especially in this day and age. You can still be loving and welcoming and have family boundaries. Yes, balance, and each child has to be taken into account,. The attitude of the mother and father about the unsaved community is ultimately the attitude that the kids adopt as well. I know several pastor’s wives who speak of the unsaved in degrading terms and wonder what on earth they are doing in the ministry!

  5. Joy says:

    Um, that was AWESOME! WOW! I love this post, you are tellin’ it like it is!

  6. Kim says:

    I actually would love some creative ideas on how to do this with young kids…I struggle because when we do visit with friends whose children are not being trained according to God’s standards, I see my son pick up on some of the words they use (nothing vulgar, just words and phrases used to make fun of other kids…) and then I have to teach my son in that moment not to use those words. So I find it a bit challenging at times. I have several friends who are not saved and even many family members so I’m always trying to think of ways to bring up a discussion about Christ…thanks for your convicting blog post!

    • Sarah Beals says:

      Kim, I think that stuff is inevitable. With my kids, if we are going into a situation where they are going to see things that we would not necessarily agree with, we warn them in the car. “Hey, we are headed to the mall, and Matt, there is a store in here with posters that are inappropriate for boys to look at.” Or “Girls, so and so’s mom uses words that are not okay, so if she swears today, make sure to put it from your mind and pray that God will help you to do right.” Does this help? Proactive training at home is everything. You will not undo in a few hours a week what is done all week at home. :) Just be aware of what is going on…and talk to them. Sounds like you are doing that already! :)

      • Kim says:

        Great idea – thanks! I do prep my kids on other things when we go places (i.e. obeying, being kind, talking kindly, etc.) and so this is just another one of those things :) never really thought about it! The good thing is once I talked with my son about the words he began copying from his friend and explained they weren’t “building up” words and were not kind, he hasn’t used them since that time since he doesn’t hear them at home so I’m thankful he had a teachable heart on that issue. It’s definitely a struggle though! Thanks again for your help :)

      • Sarah Beals says:

        Sounds like you are doing a great job already, Kim!

  7. Debbie Smith says:

    Good post, Sarah. Our churches should be places that we “come to worship and learn – go out to witness and serve.”

  8. Crystal says:

    Excellent thoughts, Sarah. Cannot wait to hear the “real deal” in May. Remind me to wear my steel-toed shoes. 😉