Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Dreaming Church

Main idea: Do our churches dream? And if so, are they dreaming the right dreams?

Too many churches seem to be more about building great and happy lives for their congregants. Instead of dreaming about the day when Christ returns, or when ALL people have been touched by the love of Christ, we are happy to dream about the day our softball field is completed. Or we may dream about the day when hundreds of "new" people come through the door of our fabulous new sanctuary over which we spent so many prayer hours and so many dollars. Of course many churches today are absolutely and honestly focused on reaching lost souls for Christ. And, many of those honest churches are blowing out the buildings they worship in. But, I would suggest that those churches likely are not dreaming about a new building, but rather are dreaming of how best to reach the next lost soul. If the new building aids in that purpose, then raise the roof! Hopefully churches across the globe can refocus their dreams on being a people acting like Christ. After all, if, as Jesus says, when we seek we find, shouldn't we be seeking out and dreaming of the right things?

I think that is part of what Jesus is talking about in Matthew 7:7-11. God is thrilled to give us everything we want or need, all that we dream of if we seek Him out and ask Him. So, does this text mean that literally ANYTHING we want we get? Well, fortunately for our sake, no. In context of the "sermon on the mount" where this text rests, Jesus is talking about the Kingdom of God. Thus, God's commitment to grant us whatever we ask and seek is focused on furthering His kingdom. If we are a church dreaming of reaching lost souls and serving them, God will gladly show us where to go, how to go, and provide us the means to get there – if we ask Him. This type of dreaming church has people, not buildings that attract lost and hurting souls. Lost and hurting people are not drawn to buildings, or venues; they are drawn to loving, compassionate people willing to help them.

If we dream, however, of a grand new building that will attract hundreds of new people through our doors, I doubt that God is really all that excited to help us out. With that "dream" our focus (if we are honest about it) is not on expanding the Kingdom, but likely is more about grabbing "market share" from the existing pool of believers with a possible side benefit of a few unsure people being attracted to the building. Is the saving of that few a good thing? Absolutely! I think that is God making the best of our own initiatives though, rather than us seeking out and implementing God's will.
I am not sure if the church I am part of is actually dreaming right now or not. Certainly a good number of our people are, but I am just not sure we are all dreaming the same dreams. I wonder what God would do through this local part of the body of Christ if we all began dreaming the same dream, a dream focused on reaching the lost in our community, our world. What would happen if we all forgot about building our personal lives into "secure" lifestyles and instead pursued a dream for the Kingdom of God? That is a church I want to see in action!