Maybe you’ve noticed: the church doesn’t have a very good reputation.
One of the reasons that the church doesn’t have a very good reputation is because in many cases it hasn’t earned a good one. Christians do stupid, heartless, self-centered, Christ-ignoring things. A lot.
But there’s another reason the church has a lousy reputation. That reason is this catch-22.
When you’re being all Christ-focused you’re not doing it for the attention. A church that is doing the right things, for the right reasons, won’t advertise that it’s doing the right thing. On the other hand, when bad stuff is going down, if we are being principled in our reactions, we are public with our admissions of guilt.
The result is that the church ends up looking worse than it is.
I want to err on the side of bragging. I like to think a bragging in Christ, for Christ, which is what we’re told to do. (Can somebody help me with that verse? It’s an epistle, I think a Paulian one, where he says “don’t brag about yourself… brag about Christ.)
The church which I attend and serve in rocks. I’d like to proclaim that again. The church I attend rocks.
I’m going to spend a few posts trying to convey the depths and extremes to which my church rocks. We certainly have our struggles. To whatever extent we humans are in the drivers seat of the church we’re certainly screwing it up… but I want to focus on the fact that there are some things being done right in the church, that sometimes Jesus is in the driver’s seat.
Story #1: At Sunday’s outside service, Pastor Marty preached about trying to see problems and issues from a God’s eye view. And he gave us an experiment to do.
He passed out envelopes. Inside the envelopes were bills. One and five and ten dollar bills, and somewhere, a fifty.
(If you’re reading this you might be thinking “O.K., so he put a fifty, a ten dollar bill, and a whole lot of ones.”
All I can say to this is I know only what three people got. None of them were one dollar bills. Not exactly scientific evidence… but it’s highly unlikely that three random people got the only amounts which weren’t one dollar bills.)
He challenged us. To use the money, however much it was, for somebody other than ourselves. We weren’t allowed to put it back in the collection plate. We had to ponder the position from a God’s eye view and use it in the way we feel He would. Then we have to log what we did at this website.
This would be an awesome exercise even if that’s all it was. But it’s more than an exercise for us. It was a profound show of faith and leadership from Marty. Investing a ton of money in a project such as this is such a beautiful modeling of what Christ was all about: subverting the norm, investing in people, challenging people, taking risks, reversing the status quo.
I haven’t figured out what to do yet with my little envelope. But it’s really awesome to pray over this decision and be mindful of the question of what to do with it… If it’s appropriate, I’ll share what I do with the money from the envelope in this blog. And be sure I’ll be revisiting this topic in the next couple days: Fellowship Church rocks.