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Church - Home Turf Or Base of Operations?

February 24, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 148

My son is a captain in the army. His job is what the military calls "vertical construction." That means he and his company erect the buildings at the forward base of operations. His wife is a captain in the same brigade. Her specialty is "horizontal construction." She and her company build the roads, barricades, catch basins and anything else that doesn't have four walls and a foundation. Vertical construction paired with horizontal construction-a match made in heaven!

The base of operations is the place where men, women and materiel are deployed in preparation for battle. Troops don't dig in and wait for the enemy to come to the base. Why would the enemy want to attack the stronghold where there is no tactical advantage? No, troops bring the battle to the enemy. The base is for provisioning, regrouping and redeploying. This is the proper mission of the church building. It should be a place where we prepare for the battle. The enemy isn't going to come to us. We have to go to him.

Rethinking Church

If we are going to use the church building as a base of operations, we need to rethink the way we do church. The church building with its auditorium and classrooms functions as a modern community center more than it does a first century style church, except that community centers are buzzing with activity six days a week. It is designed for didactic activities like preaching, teaching and worship, activities that deluge newcomers with new information. Combine that with the fact that visitors are surrounded on all sides by a whole lot of strangers and a subculture they don't understand, and church can be a very forbidding place! It is easy for newcomers to get lost in the crowd since there is no easy way to distinguish them from regular churchgoers. For this reason, the church doesn't readily assimilate outsiders. So many never return for a second time.

Since most people come to Christ outside the church, perhaps we should think about using venues other than the church for outreach. Community centers, civic centers, club houses, restaurants, retirement homes, public auditoriums, believers' homes, public parks, hotel conference rooms, movie theaters, camps and recreation centers are some possibilities. Pick the type of venue with which your target audience is most familiar.

Church Mission Statement

Draft a mission statement for your church that describes how you will build the Kingdom of God in your corner of the world. Include specific people groups, objectives, and methods. Start with 'the least of these' in your community. Where is the need for the Good News the greatest? Develop ministries that match the objectives and meet folks at their point of need. Get to know their world. Minister incarnationaly-mingle with them in their familiar surroundings before expecting them to come to church. Remember, Jesus equated the church with His body, not the Temple building, so as part of His Body, you are the church wherever you go.

Consider targeting ministry to some of the following groups:

1. The unemployed

2. Broken families

3. Troubled teens

4. Victims of abuse

5. Convicts and ex-convicts

6. The elderly

7. The disabled

8. The destitute

9. The lonely

10. The discouraged

11. Alienated Christians

12. The homeless

13. Fill in the blank

Making Connections

Read the local paper with a highlighter, marking articles that point out needs in your community. Then determine where you might find these people. Try social welfare agencies, the county jail, juvenile detention centers, employment groups, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, civic centers, etc. Form relationships with the police department, courts, department of child and family services, and other social service groups that are at the forefront of the fight for family values, peace and justice. Be prepared to offer your services in a way that supports their mission and provides opportunities for sharing the love of Christ. Then you can say in all sincerity that you have put feet to Christ's command to 'go ye into all the world.'

Take a look inside the book The Casual Christian at:

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Source: EzineArticles
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