The Church in the Real World.


I get a little bummed out by churches that are only designed for insiders without considering the actualities of the real world, when every sermon and service uses an exclusive buzzword language to measure Christians by getting “wrecked” and “on fire” all the time. Really though, a lot of that talk is an agenda to recruit free volunteers for perpetuating church programs, or it’s passive-aggressive flexing by the pastor to look better than those “other Christians” down the street. That might be church business, but it ain’t God’s business.

People who attend church also have hospital bills and rush hour and work stress and family troubles, and they’re mostly just trying to get through the day without falling apart at the seams. They need a refuge, a safe haven, a sanctuary, a holy ground to encounter glory. They need to know how faith can operate in a fractured, fallen world — and no, not all of them want to be pastors or missionaries or deacons. I don’t think our biggest concerns are false theology and church methodology and “you better have an authentic faith with everything you got.” That’s all important stuff, but Jesus doesn’t make us jump through those hoops to meet him. Only people do that.

Jesus is doing a work that’s bigger than our doctrinal squabbles and our ministry bubbles. He’s come to inaugurate a Kingdom. And he meets us where we are to bring that sort of healing, right in the dirt and grit of our very worst. We need him most between the back door of the church to the front seat of the car, in the real world again, in that uncertain space from Monday to Saturday, when the pressure is on. This is where Jesus does his best work. This is where we get to work, too.

— J.S.


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