I walk through life. I walk through pain. I walk through darkness. I walk through disappointment. I walk through a world filled with all that is wrong. And as I take my steps through this world I feel no reason to go on. I sense every fault of mankind. I know that the road I am walking is not one of ease or comfort. I know others have gone before and have not endured. But as I walk, I look up. I am looking for a reason to take my next step. For some beacon of light in the midst of the darkness. And then at the moment I feel I have nothing left to give, I see a faint figure off in the distance. As I continue to struggle on, it becomes clear that what I see is not of this world. There is no pain, no darkness, no disappointment. There standing before me is the reason I live. The reason I walk. There standing before me, beckoning me on, is my Savior. My reason to walk on. My light in the midst of darkness and pain. My crowning jewel of achievement. The symbol of all that can be right in this world. Why do I walk? Because I see Jesus.
Tim Stevens posted part of an interview with Mark Beason today on his blog about how Jesus has become boring. Mark Beason, Senior Pastor of Granger Community Church, made a number of interesting points, but one thing really jumped out to me: People walk through our doors to see Jesus, not to go to church.
Wow! What a statement!! When I was in college I went with a group of friends on a trip to Chicago to visit Willow Creek and Moody Bible Institute. Although we didn’t see the latter (and I’m still bitter about that!), we did experience all that is Willow Creek. One thing that really impressed me was how friendly the church was. For a church of 18,000 people to be known as friendly is pretty incredible. It really comes back to the point of what do people see when they walk through our doors?
We know the components that make up our 21st Century, American idea of “Church”. We have worship, announcements, offering, maybe a special, and then we preach the word. But in all of that, what are people seeing? Are they seeing our impressive music program? Our creative ways to get people to put money in the plate? Our incredible communication skills? Or do they see Jesus? I have walked into too many churches hoping to see Jesus and rather I see “religion” or I sit back and enjoy a good “show”. The movement in the last few years to be purpose-driven as a church is such a healthy thing. But being simply ‘purpose-driven’ isn’t going to get us there. We need to be unwavering in keeping Jesus up front. Allowing everything we do to be seen through the screen of Christ. Whether we are setting up our greeting ministry or recruiting custodians, Christ needs to be forefront. As people walk into your building this Sunday morning, what will they see?