Case Study: From the Inside looking Out

Welcome back!  After taking a couple of days off from our case study, it’s time to get back into gear, and take a look at a seminal issue of church transformation, and that is the view from the inside out.  We’ve already talked about seeing the church from the point of view of the outside looking in, we’ve talked about the inward focus needed for spiritual growth and the development of disciples through community and relationship.  Today is the culmination: from the inside out.2-2014 040-LR

From the point of view of a Christian in church, how do you view the world outside those walls?  Do you see opponents? Do you see wickedness and depravity?  So you see the “lost”?  Maybe you see opportunity to add to your numbers, potential “converts” or a competition of some sort… Do you see God’s children whom He loved so much that He sent His Son to die for them?  Do you look upon those outside your church walls with a loving heart… or an air of superiority?

If you aren’t seeing God’s children, the ones He loved so much in spite of their problems, that He would shed blood to save them, you have some growing up to do!

Several years ago, I remember in our church a note of unhappiness on the part of some, who complained that we had too many “new people.”  All anybody cared about was “new people.” When were we going to do something for our “old people?” (By which they meant long time members) All too often, this is the attitude of our churches.

When enough Christians look beyond the church walls and see the world outside through God’s loving eyes, you will never again hear complaints of this type. You will never again hear someone say that we are not about to coddle the culture by making a change to the way we do something, for the congregation will have a loving attitude towards other people, and will be willing to do whatever it takes to create the environment that helps the process of salvation along… short of tampering with the truth of scripture.

Love is the key ingredient in transforming a church, because love is the key ingredient of transforming a person.  Once again, I’m not talking about sentimentalism or emotionalism here, I’m talking about that divine element that makes us respond to God with a great desire to serve His purpose by serving others selflessly.  Love God; Love your neighbor as yourself: Make disciples. This is the formula Jesus gave us.  It requires a vision, then it requires that everything a church does fits into that vision with a clear, purposeful and unambiguous message. It requires community and relationship that is purposeful and intentional and that provides healing, closeness and selfless service… and all of this requires leadership. This leadership comes not just from the pastor or the leadership team, but an environment where each member is empowered to grow and develop. In short, it requires an environment that trains ministers, not ministry.

Up to this point in our case study, I’ve shared a number of “what’s” and this today is the “why.” Every class, study and sermon needs to point the people to the “why.” That is our strategy, that is our policy, and that is what Jesus did with the Twelve.

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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4 Responses to Case Study: From the Inside looking Out

  1. vwoods1212 says:

    I’m curious, is it that they do not welcome new comers or that they are being used effectively or incorporated into the task of gaining and inducting believers? I heard such a conversation recently from a senior member of a congregation whose comment pointed to the fact that new comers were being utilized for things that some older members were doing. Could be a case of feeling like an old broom and unappreciated. Some times those who have service need to be served; the church is all some folks have. Just saying. VW

    • Don Merritt says:

      Great question, thanks for bringing that up!As it turned out in the specific example I cited, it was a case of the person demonstrating by their comment that they didn’t fully understand the process, or to put it more directly, they were telling us that they were not very mature spiritually. From the point of view of someone in leadership, this is a good thing to know so that we can ensure the person gets some mentoring… which is what we did, and the outcome was happy in the end. I don’t know about the example you cited, since I don’t know the person, but I suspect they are saying they don’t quite understand the process… although I could easily be mistaken. I want to thank you for bringing this up, because this morning I’m looking for ideas for posts… and this is a really good one… so I’ll be posting about it in the next couple of days, and hopefully giving a more complete reply. Thanks again!

  2. Pingback: Opportunity Knocks! | Life Reference

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