No Outsiders Allowed

keep out

Casually read the life of Jesus and you’ll see Him persistently extending grace to outsiders. He’s an outsider-focused individual, living an outsider-focused life. Even the training of the 12 occurs within an outsider focused context.

On the other hand, a casual review of church programs reveals a decidedly insider slant. Churches typically expend their time, energy, and resources on themselves. Frequently these activities don’t enhance believer integration into the community. Rather, they are segregated or limited to a small, comfortable number of outsiders. In brief, these activities are barriers not channels to extending grace to others.

Note on Integration.

I was taught that good Christians lived separated lives. Separation meant isolation. However, Jesus never lived in isolation, nor should we. Graceful living drives us toward integration. In this case, separation is demonstrated by distinctions like love and compassion not isolation.

What if?

What would happen if churches did fewer insider facing programs and decided to integrate into community programs that already exist? Could Christian fellowship occur in an outsider context? Could spiritual growth take place while participating in a YMCA program?

On the other hand.

Jesus spent time alone with His disciples. Churches should have alone time, where shared values dominate conversations and the freedom of sameness is fully embraced and enjoyed.

Now what?

Since it’s comfortable and natural to build programs for ourselves, I suggest grace-oriented Churches resist the drift inward by intentionally limiting exclusive insider-only activities.

*****

What’s hindering believers from living outsider focused lives?

How can graceful believers live outsider focused lives?

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