If you’ve seen the State Farm Insurance commercial, you’ll probably recognize that I’m leveraging their little jingle about a topic I’ve been reflecting on over a conversation I had recently with a lady at my church. She heads an outreach ministry that we do with a local elementary school. Basically, she coordinates donations and other needs that teachers and/or students have. The thrust of the ministry is to be a good neighbor.
At our monthly fellowship meal, she showed me a card that the church received from a 3rd grade class at the school. It was your typical grade school homemade card with cute little pictures and kids signatures. But one thing stood out about this card that she wanted to highlight: the drawing of the church had a smile on the door. That is how these kids saw the church.
It strikes me that this is how people should see the church. Now that doesn’t mean that we get sloppy or neglectful of the message that we proclaim. It doesn’t mean going soft on the gospel. But, that this group of people who seem to hold to a different life paradigm than society are actually loving people.
Now, for those who don’t know, I go a Reformed (PCA) church. It is one of those churches that at one time I would have labeled as cold and stodgy and irrelevant (glad for the correction now!). The theology is conservative, the Word is clearly preached and the gospel is always proclaimed. It could never be confused with liberalism.
Why do I make that qualification? When it comes to the relationship of the church to the world, there is a tension between what has been labeled as word ministry vs. deed ministry. And I think that is an unhelpful dichotomy. Of course the push back is reaction against liberal churches who have exchanged the good news of Jesus Christ with deeds. Continue reading