(Note: this is a continuation of the start of Ch. 1 of the Irreligious Followers book I am working on. The first part of this chapter is the previous post. Also note that much of this particular section of writing is taken from a previous blog post, so if it has a familiar ring, that's why).
Consider what the church really is meant to be:
- A reflection of Jesus’ power and love in a hurting world
- Change-agents for Jesus’ purposes to bring His Kingdom to earth
- Trend-setters who walk to the beat of the Creator of the universe
- Risk-takers and rule-breakers who are willing to do whatever Jesus is doing in any given situation
- Love-pioneers known for giving up all to love a few
For years we have talked about the need to get the church out of its wall and into the street. The problem is: this is not enough! We do have people leaving churches for the right reasons, seeking more organic expressions of church life, meeting in homes or workplaces, trying to shake things up in their traditional churches, yet the life of Jesus is still not seeping into the world they way we long for it to.
We may be moving in the right direction, but we need more…
We need “the church” to begin living their unique destiny as followers of Jesus audaciously. We need people who are not sleep-walking in religion or incapacitated by the franticness of our Disneyland culture. We need people who know who they are, who love Jesus more than life, who are willing to bring fresh and new ideas and innovations that change society. We need people who influence, not toward religion or church-going, but toward Jesus, and life, and hope, and faith, and transformation, and the power of the Spirit. We need people who have passion and are not afraid to step out and speak up about those things (including Jesus) that are burning on their hearts.
We need Change Agents for Jesus. We don’t need evangelists, just Jesus-people who live and act in a way that brings about change, that lifts the hopeless, that cares for the tired, that releases the oppressed and that simply says—“this is Jesus at work.” “Follow Him!” Those that need to and want to, will follow Him.
We need a church that does not look like “church” in any way, shape, or form. We need an uprising of “heretics” who break all the rules but glorify Jesus’ love and presence in the process. We need followers of Jesus who do what followers actually do: they listen to Him—really listen to Him—on a daily basis and passionately follow.
We need people who are authentic and real and without the need for pretense. We need people that others can relate to and see Jesus through—weaknesses and all.
We need to become the trend setters.
Religious people follow the traditions and rules. Our culture mesmerizes us with faulty ideas of success and security. We don’t need more of either of these. Instead, we need people who lift others through their love for Jesus, their willingness to step out and do risky, compassionate things, and because of their new ideas, fresh ventures, and radical investment in the needy and in the needs of our world.
We need a church that’s out of the walls, out of religion, out of our culture’s drivel, and sacrificing everything to become everything that Jesus is and to do everything that Jesus says.
We need single-focused followers whose very lives are an invitation to others to become followers of Jesus.
We often do need to get outside of the church walls and we will talk more, in chapter two, about how our church practices can create many hindrances to the life-with-Jesus we are called to. But just stepping out of some walls and becoming freed up from our religious, church-attending, church-programming baggage is not the answer.
We need Jesus’ audacious followers to show up and then join the adventure!