Thursday, February 7, 2008

Church with no walls: breaking dividing walls

What? A church without walls! How will the building remain standing?

Whether we are willing to admit it or not, there are invisible walls within the church that must come down if we are truly going to be Christ’s ambassadors and spread His message of love, grace and peace to a lost and dying world. We can ignore these walls if we choose, but if we do, we are also ignoring Jesus commandment to love our neighbor as our selves. The commandment did not come with degrees of separation. It is an all-encompassing commandment, which means it must be for all people.
For too many years religion, denominationalism and (lets be totally open and honest here) racism have built walls of separation, which make certain people feel unwelcome because they are different. Someone once said, “Sunday morning is the most segregated day of the week.” This needs to end!

If we are to truly live out the great commandment and carry out the great commission then we must accept the call in all of its fullness. Jesus did not give any room for picking and choosing who we are to love and who we are to share His love with. He simply said, “Love God…Love your neighbor,” and” Go therefore and make disciples.”

If we are to be successful in planting urban churches then we must embrace the ethnic diversity that exists in our cities and plant churches that include all people, regardless of the color of their skin or their country of origin.

There is a lot of conversation going on about being an emerging, missional, incarnational community of Christ followers. However, this ongoing conversation becomes nothing more than a bunch of lip service if we allow walls of separation to divide us; whether it is a wall of religion or a wall of racism, either one can have tragic results for the kingdom of God, and certainly fatal results for the church planter that fails to embrace this paradigm.