There are churches all over the world. In neighborhoods. In cities. In rural areas. There are churches. And we have preconceived ideas of what church is all about. Yet what should churches be responsible for? A few years ago a man talked to me about how he did not think churches should be tax exempt as they gave very little back to their communities. I was offended and shocked. Offended in that I have a higher value of what churches do. I was shocked in that this man did not have any higher view of the church himself. After a while I started thinking. I tried to identify what churches actually did that helped their communities. I want to be honest. I had a hard time making the list. One reason the list is hard is the church operates in the spiritual realm. Changed lives are our game. Community transformation in lives changed is one thing we give back. Churches also contribute people to city councils, jobs and businesses in the community. Then churches also do projects in their communities. Often for free, but how often does that happen?
The church’s job in the world is to witness (Acts 1:8) to the gospel (1 Cor 15:3-4) of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and make disciples (Matt 28:19) of those who receive Jesus as savior.
In order for this to happen, here is a list of commitments every church should make to its community. These are not commitments to the church. We have enough of them. These are commitments to unchurched people.
- When you come to church, and we say “come as you are,” we mean it.
- We acknowledge people are messy and life change takes time.
- We will keep in perspective our own sins and will not be hypocrites.
- We will preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to you.
- We will handle you right.
- We will expect you will receive Christ as savior, follow Him in baptism and then walk as a disciple of Jesus.
- We will care more about your soul than we do our own traditions.
Notice very little of this has to do with up front doctrine. Each can be traced to doctrine yet is application of doctrine. I find most churches are stuck in what they stand against. Churches expect more holiness from the lost or new believer than they do from those who are much further along.
One thing I have noticed in churches is when new believers come in the church they are expected to meet with a sanctification timeline of the existing members.
Churches need to make commitments to their communities. We have had plenty of making commitments to ourselves.