Before becoming a Christian, God called me into ministry. I think He did that because he needed to give me a purpose in order to keep me interested. Shortly after accepting the call, I walked out the doors of my local church, looked around, and realized there wasn't a healthy church in that entire area. My church was okay, but they didn't really reach out to people. They were inward focused and boring. They seemed to be waiting for people to walk into the church building before they helped them.
I didn't think we should be sitting back waiting. I still don't think we are to wait for people to walk into our doors. As a sidenote, I think most church use the "come and see" approach to church. They are living in a field of dreams believing that if they build it "they" will come. I think church is best done as a "go and do." We best represent the church when we go and do the Kingdom of God. (This is more than just "living it out" in front of other people.)
A year ago I moved back to my home area after 12+ years of absence. I moved with the intention of starting a Vineyard in the Northland area of Dayton, but over time my excitement began to wane. I needed time to adjust...to settle in. The past few weeks I have been praying, "Lord, if you want me to plant a church here give me a vision for this place. Give me compassion for its people."
He has done that in a quite unusual way. Over the past few weeks, I have heard about two churches in particular and have observed a few more from the area. The two churches can't get along. In all real and practical ways, they are telling the community that they don't care about them.
As I listened to the description of the two churches and the struggles they are going through, I got angry. I was also filled with compassion. I was angry that "Christian" people could be so selfish and un-Christlike. I was filled with compassion not for the churches, but for a community that has no genuine, quality example of what it means to be a Christian; of what it means to be the church. The people who are supposed to be fulfilling the mission of God to share His Good News are more concerned with what music gets played and whether they will feel uncomfortable about talking to someone.
I want to start that church. I want to reach out to the lost, hurting, broken, abandoned, and unloved. I want to help people come into a relationship with Jesus Christ that absolutely transforms their lives.
When I planted the first church, I was almost afraid of making too big a wave or asking for too much commitment. But not this time. There is too much at stake. Without the church I am planting, I believe that many people will go unreached and will never enter one of the current churches. Do I think that all the churches in the area are bad? No, there are some good people and good churches, but there could be so much more done.
Okay, end of my rant.