Photo Credit: astrid westvang (Creative Commons)
Jesus doesn’t belong in church, and if you understand the church as the ekklesia
, a gathering of believers, here’s why. I observe individuals who only partake of Jesus on Sundays, and outside of the Sabbath, there isn’t much attention to living a lifestyle that vibrantly represents Jesus. Furthermore, if people are being intentional about Jesus outside of Sundays, they usually still gather with the church, in a body of common believers, discussing or studying him over coffee time or in a group setting at home.
And that’s great, but if we only keep Jesus in the ekklesia, how will we carry out his heart for the poor, the spreading of the gospel to the nations, the loving of the lost and the sinners? I mightily believe in the church gathering as a place to be built up and filled, but I more so believe in it as a weaponized cannon—building you, filling you, and then launching you out to do something with your faith.
If we allow Jesus to only exist in the church, then I’m afraid we have created a faith that is expendable, like a lifeless, forgotten toy on a shelf that will never be used to its full capacity.
I’m also afraid Jesus wouldn’t show up to church on Sundays today. I’ve spoken at over 30 churches in the past two years and it’s strange to me how often people like to listen but struggle to implement, religiously attend but are easily offended.
When I speak about Jesus in church, the radical drop your nets and follow me and flip some tables Jesus—not the kind and merciful Jesus, I get lots of wide eyes, huffing and puffing, and pats on the hand afterwards for it “being a good message, but hard to apply today”.
Are you serious?!
(Begin Rant) What do you see when you read the Bible then? Do you skip over every command and call to action Jesus gives? What’s the purpose of your faith? What are you even doing with it? How do you reason with yourself to keep your faith within walls? No where in the Bible does it desire for you to have an easy life, a comfortable journey, or a glorious position, but instead desires you to have an effective faith. In fact, if you want to be comfortable and make life about you, don’t go to church stirring up apathy and downgrading the duties of that church from action to inaction because “Jesus had to be radical then, but there’s no need for that anymore” (End Rant).
Jesus didn’t visit the temple often when he was on earth because of this very reason. The Pharisees, the religious, comfortable gurus, would hate on Jesus because he was “too radical”, and ashamedly, many in the church would say the same to Jesus today if he visited.
And that’s why Jesus brought his ministry to the hills, to the in-betweens, to the crowd that was longing for action and willing to take risks to see Jesus’ words become tangible truth.
Jesus cannot belong solely in the church, he cannot exist only in your being, this we already have, but what shall we do with it? I pray you answer, “Take it outside the church, bring it to the ends of the earth.”