Coming in, Going out

by Peter Swann

If a church is getting its job done, that church should be a launching pad, not a landing place.

This truth is uncomfortable for some of us, grating us a consumer-oriented approach to church. That’s the “come on in, customize your experience, and stay here forever” type of church. It is, however, quite different from the “come on in, get discipled and built up, and head on out” type of church. One is significantly influenced by our Western culture… the other driven by the book of Acts.

A consumer orientation toward church leads us to seek to customize our church experience. We prefer options and like to feel comfortable. A book of Acts church is much more dangerous. It doesn’t allow for as customizable an experience, and presses on raw places. What’s more, it doesn’t let us get settled.

The bottom line fact is that most of the world does not know Jesus. And that won’t change if we all stay in our churches. Transformation will only come when church becomes a launching pad, not a landing place.

This happens locally, even as we reflect on how strategic or intentional we are in having nonbelievers into our home. Why is it that many of us fill our free time hanging with believers and never with nonbelievers? That’s a landing place approach to church, not a launching pad approach.

Or when did we last reflect intentionally on if God was calling us to be an overseas missionary? It’s a scary prayer to pray, but certainly a launching pad prayer to pray.

The thing about the book of Acts is that that type of church probably wouldn’t be very popular today. It’s far too offensively-minded, far too obsessed with those who do not yet know Christ. It’s a church constantly looking at sending people out to their city and out to their world.

I’m so fired up about what God has done at Hope, however, the battle continues for our culture is deeply ingrained in us. We must constantly war against a landing place mentality, begging God for the same passion and same yearning that dominated the book of Acts. It may not be popular, and it will at times be uncomfortable, but it’s more than worth it for our King.

In this end, church is a dangerous place to be. You come in knowing you may not be around long. You’ll certainly be called to live out your faith in your city, but you may easily be called to head out overseas. If we’re like the books of Acts, that’s how it ought to be.

Why?

Because the church is the ultimate launching pad for the Kingdom.