In East Texas, especially in the City of Longview, the locals jokingly say that there is a church on every street corner. If you think about this, this means that the city’s original churches fractured and then multiplied. Division beget division; street corner after street corner was soon bestowed with a church.
Just as the Internet does not need another Christian video game site, the world does not need another church building. While it is true church buildings serve as a central place for Christians to receive Biblical teaching and fellowship with fellow believers, we were never meant to stay in one place. If you think about it, what do church buildings help foster? Isolation. Sure we can invite our “lost” friends to church, but do we? Most of the time, we fail at reaching out to those that Christ came to save for the sake of comfort. I’m guilty of this. Why invite an outsider to Cheers, right?
Instead of hanging out in fortified churches, how should we be reaching out to those around us in our community? My friend Scotto happened to hear the rapper Lecrae speak on this at The Resurgence Conference the other day. Lecrae talked about how:
…he intentionally lives in Atlanta because all the other major rappers live there. He wants to be in the culture, because he knows that God can use him there. Same goes for him using rap to spread the Gospel.
His points were:
1. Engage the culture. (Learn the culture, speak the language.)
2. Love the culture. (Really develop relationships. Care about people. Don’t just wait for opportunities to give your gospel points.)
3. Rehabilitate the culture. (How can you restructure what you already do to glorify God?)
I do think that it is important that we, as Christians, grow and fellowship with one another. I just think that the emphasis on the building, that some churches put into theirs, is wrong. The Church isn’t about the building but about the people. We need to be engaging, loving, and acting as Christ’s hands and feet in this broken world, with or without a building.
Something God has been showing me, through the Highway 80 ministry, is that He is the great equalizer. I know that this is something that I have shared before but I can’t stress this enough. God bridges:
and even non-important Theological differences
The church that I have attended ever since I moved to East Texas, over the past seven years, is going through a big change. Our pastor recently announced that he will be resigning at the end of the month. He feels that God is calling him to start a new church in Round Rock, Texas.
As God prepares him to leave, the church has begun the process to figure out how to start a pastoral search committee. Whispers of discontent and fear of the future are slowly being heard throughout the church. Power plays, strategies, and personal agendas are coming out of the darkness. In all of this, I am reminded of God’s great equalization. He lays low the egos and those that politically posture. I have nothing to fear!
I know that in the coming days that God is in control. Already I have seen Him change the Sunday School class my wife and I attend. People are rising up, members are stepping out into the community and serving, and leadership is being radically transformed. All of this just happening in the small microcosm of our Sunday School class; all things that can only be attributed to God. If the transformation that I have seen in our Sunday School class is but a glimpse into the future of our church, then truly this is an exciting place to be. I invite you to come and witness God at work. Yes, God is the great equalizer, but He is also the great unify-er. To Him be the glory!
If you live in the East Texas area and want to come visit, shoot me an email!
johnnybgamer [at] gmail [dot] com
Also, please pray for my church during this transition.