[This first appeared at LifeChurchNC.com]
April 29, 2016
Almost 11 years ago, a pastor-friend of mine loaned me a book from his shelf that revolutionized my view of the local church’s role in the community and the world. I started the book shortly after and couldn’t put it down, and even went on to make my own underlines and notes in the book. It now sits on my bookshelf as a critical reference for me. Of course, I mentioned this book was initially loaned to me, so for all I know, my friend, Allen Holmes (Pastor of Daystar Church in Greensboro) is probably still waiting for me to return that book! But at this point, I’ll just have to buy him a new one! (You’re welcome to hold me accountable to make sure I actually do this!)
Robert Lewis’s The Church of Irresistible Influence focuses on the power of a bridge-building church in the community. “If the church functions with any other design than that of a bridge, it dooms itself,” argues Lewis. Throughout the book, he paints a beautiful picture of…
- …a church that exists NOT for itself but for the world around it;
- a church that spends less time pouring INTO itself and more time pouring itself OUT for others,
- a church that spends less time pointing out the worlds wrongs and more time pointing the world to God’s love found in Jesus.
The idea of being a church FOR our community that exists for the GOOD of our community is woven into the fabric of who we are and are still becoming.
However, it is critically important to keep in mind that this is NOT for the purpose of drawing attention to Life Church, but instead for the purpose of drawing attention to Jesus. That’s why we exist – to make great His Name and not our own.
I’ve been so overwhelmed and encouraged to see glimpses of our influence as a church, especially over the past week. Just last night I had the privilege of receiving a plaque recognizing Life Church for our generous support to the Pregnancy Support Center. Earlier this week, Life Church served as a sponsor for Young Life of Rowan County’s annual fund-raising golf tournament. And this Sunday morning, we will send nearly 100 volunteers to support the Buck Hurley Triathlon at the YMCA.
Although there is more we can do (and more we will continue to strive to do), in so many ways, this is what a Gospel-Centered Church and a Gospel-Centered People look like.
May we continue to strive to be such a Church as Jesus continues the building of His Church and the advancement of His Gospel through us.