How can we go and be witnesses for Jesus when we sequester ourselves on Sunday mornings?
Just before Jesus leaves this world to return to heaven, he instructs his followers to go into the world and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). In an expanded version of this incident, Jesus tells his followers to wait for Holy Spirit power and then be his witnesses, both near and far (Acts 1:4-9).
The church of Jesus doesn’t do a good job of being witnesses and making disciples. To do so requires an outward perspective, yet most all churches have an inward focus: they care for their own to the peril of outsiders, with many churches excelling in doing so.
Yes, God values community and wants us to meet together (Hebrews 10:25). And the Bible is packed with commands and examples of worshipping God, with Jesus noting that “true worshipers” will worship God in the Spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).
Most churches do the meeting together part reasonably well, albeit with varying degrees of success. Many of those churches have a time of worship as they meet together, though perhaps not always “in the Spirit” or even “in truth.”
Yet few churches look outside their walls in order to go into their community to witness and make disciples. Though Jesus said to wait for the Holy Spirit, he didn’t say to wait for people to come to us, to come to our churches so we could witness and disciple them. No, we are supposed to leave our church buildings to take this work to them. We can’t do that at church on Sunday morning, safely snug behind closed doors.
Yes there is a time to come together and a time to worship, but there is also a time to go. And we need to give more attention to the going part.
I know of two churches that have sent their congregations out into their community on Sunday mornings, foregoing the church service in order to be a church that serves. One church did it a few times and stopped after they saw little results and received much grumbling. The other church regularly plans this a few times each year and garners a positive influence on their community.
Shouldn’t every church make a positive impact on their community? Yet so few do. They are too busy meeting together and worshiping.
In terms of witnessing and making disciples, what would Jesus think of your church’s activities? What should you do to go into your community?