In his book The Externally Focused Quest, Pastor Rick Rusaw of Loveland Colorado gives us a new way to think about church.
The Best Church For Hastings
He says rather than wanting to be “the best church in Hastings” we should bend our efforts toward becoming “the best church FOR Hastings.”
What’s the difference? What would you guess the difference to be?
Basically he means the Gospel of Christ is for the lost and confused, dangerous and self-destructive world we live in. The Gospel isn’t really given as a tool by which we can, as a church, look good and feel good about ourselves.
Of course, if we see that we really are doing the work He wants us doing, we will feel better about ourselves! Also, of course, he’s not asking us to get into the business of trying to measure ourselves against other churches. Paul says those who measure themselves by each other are being kinda stupid.
What’s God Doing For Hastings?
Our FBC people who are involved in the Missional Immersion project sponsored by the State ABC office will be considering four steps to discern part of what God wants us doing in Hastings.
- Form a ‘team.’ Agree to pursue this in light of Scripture, supportive of each other, and staying in touch with the whole church.
- Look at Hastings. Ask non-church people what needs they see in Hastings, what concerns they have for the people of Hastings.
- See who is already working. Many agencies and groups are working to help in certain areas of need in our town, from food to abusive living situations, from helping in schools to support for people in recovery to reaching younger people with the Gospel. There’s a lot. No sense us re-inventing the wheel.
- Ask God. In the context of what we see and hear, seek the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit as to where our efforts should go.
These things are not so obvious as we sometimes think. Rusaw says it’s nice that we have a pleasant circle of friends here at church. We can probably still keep our chairs in a circle. But what if sometimes we just turn the chairs around? We will see a whole different picture than when the chairs are faced inward. I think we need to do both, but we do need to face them outward fairly often.
A Messy “God Thing”
A local pastor told me today “that can be messy” – that is, getting connected with people in the community who really need us to to be one of the best churches FOR Hastings. It can be confusing and stressful. It can make high demands on our own spiritual growth and maturity. This could be an adventure! But it seems we do have to do it.
That’s why it’s so good that Jesus ended His “Great Commission” to us (“go ye”) with these words: “Now listen! I am ALWAYS with you.”