If you are new to this blog....

Welcome! The primary purpose of this blog is to explore and encourage around what it means to be winsome and sent into the world for God's glory. If you are new here, the definition of "lighthouse-searchlight" or our missional journey is a good place to start. Come peruse the blog and add me to your RSS feed!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

lighthouse - searchlight: short definition

In the Old Testament, God's people (Israel) were blessed to be a blessing. God was to be their God, but also promised to reveal Himself to the world through them. But, they were also charged with being a holy (and thus, separate) people. In order for the world to come to God and come to know God, they had to "Come and See" through Israel.

This is how most of us (in America) have "done church" for a long time now. We've built great ministries and programs and talked about inviting people to come and see and hopefully meet Jesus Christ in our churches. Increasingly, church has been geared toward this model, even with the extra sensitivies given to the "seeker model" and understanding exactly who we would hope to attract.

In it's best form, this is what I mean by being a LIGHTHOUSE CHURCH (but here's a longer definition).

But, in the New Testament, the model changed radically! Jesus said, "Come and see," to gather disciples and followers to himself, but his model for ministry and the charge he and the Holy Spirit gave the New Testament Church was to "Go and Tell!" No longer was the world supposed to come to and through God's people. Now, God's people were supposed to get up and get out to the world. Holiness still meant "distinct and set apart" but now the saints were to be in the world and not of the world.

We are still learning how to do this, but this is what it means to be a SEARCHLIGHT CHURCH (but here's a longer definition). Jesus' mission and God's heart is to seek and save the lost, and that means carrying the light of Christ into the darkness. Jesus not only said, "I am the light of the world"; he also said, "You are the light of the world." Let's continue inviting folks to church and Christ, but let's sink our hearts and hands into getting up and getting out... let's go and tell.


Viola said...

What you have written is so important. I think sometimes we get so busy at Church that we fail to go into the world. (Our neighbors for instance)

Jeff said...

I agree with your article. Way, way too few Christians actually go to homes or public places and witness face-to-face to the lost or hand out gospel tracts or do open-air street preaching. If most or all Christians did that, maybe then we would see true revival.

For about 2 years (until about a year ago), I would go with a friend to the movie theater, the mall, door-to-door, festivals, college football games (outside the stadium, just before the game began, where there were thousands), and even outside a Jehovah's Witness city conference (where thousands of JWs attended). The things that occurred during those times are some of the highpoints of my life, and is the type of thing that makes life worth living.

Many years ago, an Independent Baptist church I belonged to would canvas the neighborhood, using a map to keep track of where they had been, and go door-to-door each week to tell people about Jesus and to invite them to the church (something very few churches do today). Those were also adventurous times. During those same years, I also went out with an older gentleman who was on fire for the Lord, and who had an incredible burden for the lost (he had previously been a missionary to Turkey), and we would go door-to-door or just find people on the street and witness to them, and give gospel tracts to them. Again, those times were some of the highpoints of my life. I also went with that gentlemen and one or two others to the local jail, and we would give out Bibles to the prisoners, etc. That was a new experience for me, and I was really nervous being around murderers and such, so I did a lot of praying during those times.

I'm not naturally a people-person, neither am I naturally outgoing. I'm more of a lone wolf. I also hate crowds. And I consider myself to be socially inept, because I can never think of what to say at the time. I tend to be more of a wall flower at gatherings. So witnessing to people goes against my very nature. Therefore, when Christians use the excuse that "it's not my gift" or "I just wouldn't know what to say," that's nothing more than an excuse. None of us can bring a person to Christ, anyway, because only the Holy Spirit can do that. And, if we try to witness in our own strength, we will fail anyway. Only with the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit can we be successful, anyway.

Like Us!