“It seems like we need an earthquake to dislodge both feet out of our churches so that we can get one foot in the community.”
All you have to do is take a good look; the ruins are present where you live. We can’t bury our heads in the holy sand of church life and act as if broken people do not surround us. We have to be present. Like Abraham, we have to be in a location where the ruins of our community are in plain view.
Strategic positioning is easier said than done, because our natural tendency is to gravitate to one side or the other—the church or the community. While serving as lead pastor since 1988, I’ve seen church leaders and laypeople alike become so absorbed in the community that they lose their focus and footing when it comes to life in the local church. Their loss of traction isn’t intentional, nor are they church haters. Rather, they unknowingly fall into the vortex of community need and become consumed.
Sadly, I’ve seen many, though not all, suffer greatly in their spiritual lives due to being out of alignment. Their spiritual lives wane, and they become jaded and cynical toward the church. The church’s lack of community concern and involvement doesn’t sit well in their stomachs. The truth of the matter is that exposure to the ruins in one’s community can be overwhelming, and the desire to make a difference can be all consuming, making it easy to get lost and drift away from the faith community.
I’ve seen others—myself included—become so entrenched in church life that our view of the community is eclipsed. The driving passion to fix and beautify Bethel makes it difficult to give attention to the community. We tell ourselves we’ll get around to helping repair a few of the ruins in the community pretty soon. However, if we are out of position, there’s a good chance that a divine merger will only be a passing thought and not a reality. The proverbial “I’m gonna…” never gets followed through on. Sometimes it seems like we need an earthquake to dislodge both feet out of our churches so that we can get one foot into the community.
However, to move into the right position, you don’t need an earthquake to jar you. All you need is an altar.