Friday, October 1, 2010

Deep and Wide

I seem to be having a reoccurring conversation lately. I have been talking with staff members, church council and people who call Charter Oak Church home about our focus. Is our focus to equip people to go deeper in their faith or is our focus to reach out to the people in this region who don’t have a church home? People ask me which one I think is most important. Many tell me which one they think is the most important for us to zero in on.

First of all I want to pull out the middle word – “and/or.” For some this is a one or the other question. Either we will focus on going deeper in our faith or we will reach out to the un-churched. For me and many I have talked with, it is not an either/or, but both/and. We will go deeper in our commitment to be obedient to God’s Word and we will reach out to those who don’t have a church home. I believe it has to be both. But it is dangerous when a congregation makes the commitment to go deep and wide.

It’s dangerous because it becomes abundantly clear that there are no perfect people at Charter Oak Church. The people who make the commitment to go deeper, which really has more to do with transformation than information, realize submission to the will of God has to happen in every area of their lives. The deeper a follower of Jesus goes in their faith the more they realize it isn’t about them. Worship isn’t for us, it is for God and God alone – we worship for an audience of One. Bible study isn’t about how much someone knows. It’s about surrendering ourselves to our Master. The deeper our roots go into our relationship with our heavenly Father, the more we will realize our mandate is to reach out to others.

So I am thankful that there are people here who don’t have it all together. I am thankful that there are people here with broken marriages and relationships because this is a place where they can experience the love and grace of God. I am thankful there are people here who have gone off the cliff in an area of their life because they didn’t have guardrails because we have “go to people” that can extend compassion and mercy in a healthy biblical way.

We don’t go deeper for ourselves. We go deeper so we can go wider. As your heart for God grows larger, you can’t keep it from growing larger for others. So let me ask you, is your heart growing larger for people outside of our church? If so, then your heart is growing larger for God. I believe God calls you and me to be both deep and wide. So what’s the next right thing for you to do? Be in worship every week? Study your Bible and pray every day? Invite a friend in your Circle of Influence to worship? Something else? What is God saying to you?