Approval Ratings

I just read the following article, written by Neil Cole (author of "Organic Church," "Cultivating a Life for God," and the new "Search & Rescue: Becoming a Disciple Who Makes a Difference") in this month's "Tools & Trainings for Organic Church Movements" e-newsletter from CMA Resources. I thought I'd pass it on to you. Good thoughts, Neil.

As the world looks at our churches, particularly in the West, it sees only what people have done or what programs they are doing. The world is not impressed. In response, we scheme and plot and plan, "What can we do to make our church more appealing to the people in our community?" This is, once again, the wrong question. It's as if we we're trying to boost God's approval ratings. It is God's name that is at risk, not ours, and we are not responsible for protecting His reputation. He can handle that, by Himself, just fine.

A better question is, "Where is Jesus seen at work in our midst?" Where do we see lives changing, and communities transforming simply by the power of the Gospel? Where do we see fathers restored to a life of holiness and responsibility? Where do we see daughters reconciling with fathers? Where do we see addicts who no longer live under the bondage of chemical dependency? Where are wealthy businessmen making restitution for past crimes that went unnoticed? These are the questions that lead people to recognize the living presence of Jesus, loving and governing people's lives as their King. When people encounter Jesus, alive and present as King, they get a taste of God's Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

If Jesus is missing in our understanding of church, He will likely be missing in our expression of church as well.

I have come to understand church as this: the presence of Jesus among His people called out as a spiritual family to pursue His mission on this planet. That's what a church is....simply Jesus Followed.

Pressing on,

Neil Cole

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