The following is adapted from a September 2012 post.
This Sunday (Sept. 16) is National Back to Church Sunday, and by the looks of it, some great efforts have gone into helping articulate a national invitation to church. I can safely say I knew nothing about this initiative before this morning (thank you Google Reader). I’m not sure who is totally behind this initiative and the primary website (www.backtochurch.com) seems to be down, but it looks like a cooperative initiative across a myriad of denominations – and some of the persons involved (the Skit Guys) are pretty well known to minister among the evangelical community.
I look at this initiative through the view of two lenses:
First: Christians need community
This initiative comes at a time when the Lord is consistently speaking a word of “community” to my heart. It has surfaced in my quiet times with Jesus and in much of the Bible study and small group discussions that I’m having. Just last night in the 735 Study we were talking about the importance of “community” as one of three elements necessary in order for the fire of faith to burn in our lives. Pastor Mike Hurt (TX) teaches that we cannot be obedient if we are not in community. To paraphrase him, “If there are 50 ‘one another’ commands in scripture, how can we be obeying all that Jesus taught in isolation?”
Second: The world needs the Church
The world doesn’t want the Church. The world is opposed to the Church. The world is consistently rejecting the Church. Yet, the world is being redeemed, one day at a time, one soul at a time, through the Church. The Church is God’s chosen method for redeeming the world. That happens through lives being transformed. Paraphrasing Dallas Willard in regards to community organizations, “If spiritual transformation is ‘what’s going on at church’ – then what’s going on in church is the most important thing happening in every community where the Church is present.”
What now: Intention Relational Community
In the Single and Young Adult Ministries, we are putting a particular emphasis on what we’re calling “intentional relational community” this fall. They are three legs to a form of relational discipleship through which God changes lives. There will be an entire section on this blog dedicated to relational discipleship in the weeks to come, but the bottom line is, now is the time to connect! Whether you are taking some time away this summer, or for the last many summers and all the time in between, today is a good day to connect with the church.