“‘Doing church’ the way it’s usually done will have no effect on my friend, the one who will never come to a church building for any reason. Unfortunately, we have found that while cooler and hipper worship services might please the fishbowl of people who attend—and, we hope, they are pleasing to God as well? But our worship services do little to reach the ocean of people who have never been inside a church, who don’t trust the church, and who will never – no matter how well-planned, well-executed the Sunday worship might be – will never step foot inside a church building.
What will we do about the vast numbers of people who will never be reached in any meaningful way by the usual ministries of the church. “Rasmoni” will not come, no matter how long we might way. How is the church going to reach him…a faithful man sincerely seeking after God…but yet still very far away?”
Living a missional life – living on mission – is really quite simple. When strip away all the all of our nice Sunday clothes and Sunday smiles, when we remove the well-rehearsed worship band and well-prepared sermons of our well-trained preachers and leave behind the lights, the cushioned seats, Sunday School, children’s programs, men’s breakfast, slick media and Powerpoint (or whatever the current software fad is), youth groups, and everything else that we sometimes define as ministry….what we are left with is me and my neighbor—me and the person in front of me. You and the person in front of you.
I’m not saying that any of these things are bad. But from a missional perspective, the most important things you can do to impact the lives of the people in your neighborhood won’t happen inside your church building…and not on Sunday morning. And, the only way you’ll ever reach those who will never come to your church building is to enter into their world, on their terms, using their language, and starting the conversation where they live, with the questions they are asking.
For a church that is not engaged in their community the Sunday morning worship becomes the front door of interaction, engagement, and outreach. Piles of money and resources are invested in this two-hour time period of Sunday morning. But I’ve learned in ten years overseas that Sunday worship is not the front door – you are. You are the connection point. You are the light carrier and the hope bearer for the people in your community and, especially, the people in your world who will never come to your church. We like to think that anyone will come if we have the right pastor, the right music, the right programs….but there are increasing numbers of people who will never come. You are the one to sit with them, pray with them, share with them, encourage them, and walk with them, even if ever-so-slowly.