Where does the change start?

Back in October, the pastors went to Atlanta for Catalyst.  It was a great conference.  It has also been four months since.  That is four months that I have had to chew on something that Andy Stanley said.  Now, many people believe that I do not like Andy Stanley (ok, I may have said that), but I do hold that he knows what he is doing.  His church is successful, and it is growing.  While I do not agree with some of the things he says, four months after the conference, it is his words that are still eating at me.

We all came back with these questions:  Who are you and what breaks your heart?  Great questions that really made us think, but it is not these words that have been keeping my mind racing.  On the last day of the conference, Mr. Stanley said that there were three things that needed to change with the local church.  The first was that the church should be the safest place on the planet to talk about anything.  The third was that the church must capture and keep the minds of students.

Yes, the second is missing.  The second is missing because it has kept me up at night.  It has made my stomach churn.  It is the reason I am writing this.  The second point he made was that the church must stop expecting outsiders to act like insiders while the insiders act like outsiders.

Hitting below the belt?  Maybe.  Striking a nerve?  Hopefully.  Telling the truth?  Absolutely!  We teach people to live like Christ, and yet we don’t, and when we don’t, its usually publically.  We tell people that everyone needs to come to church, and when people do come, they tend to feel judged.  Are we actually acting like Christ when we tell someone they can’t wear a hat in a building?  Maybe that person was not raised the same as you or I.  Are we acting like Christ when we tell someone about their lifestyle before we ever get to know about their life?  How can a person who is unchurched understand what God expects from them?  Especially when we make them feel unwelcomed at the one place that will teach them how to live a God-filled life!

Now, here at NorthRidge, we welcome people, and I believe that we do a better job of that than most churches I have ever been a part of.  I guess the bigger question is “are we being the type of insiders that the outsiders would want to be like?”  For me, there is always room for improvement.  Am I alone in this?

I pray you all have a great week!  Keep working to grow the Kingdom.


Stepping out in Faith,

Pastor Derrick