Sometimes you feel God’s presence move in the most inconvenient place. He begins to flash visions across your eyes, and you’re left shaken, overwhelmed, and completely moved.
That just happened to me today.
I was sitting at my computer, processing faxes from physicians’ offices when Brooke Fraser’s famous words shot through my ears (have you figured out who my favorite modern hymn writer is yet?). . .
Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your Kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity
Faces started to flash across my mind’s eye. The children freezing without coats, standing on a street corner in New Brunswick. They asked me for something to keep themselves warm. The homeless woman pushing a stroller, barely covering her shoulders with a towel that looks like it was used to wipe oil from a mechanic’s forehead. She asked me for something hot to drink. The lonely man next to me at the bar in Morristown. He asked me if anyone cared that he lost his job and that his wife is leaving him. The drunk girl who tripped on her own heels who bumped shoulders with me. She asked me if she would ever find relief from her abusive boyfriend.
My heart is breaking, Lord. I see the problem. Where is the solution?
* * *
I looked in the mirror. I was the freezing children. I was the homeless woman. I was the lonely man. I was the drunk girl.
I drove down a busy street. On the side of the road was a church with a big steeple. I pulled in, hoping to find answers to my questions. But I found none. Only the judgmental stares as I tripped on my own heels. Only the disappointed head-shaking as I searched for a way to save my family. They looked askance at me as I sought some warmth.
And then they told me to repent. If I repent, all my questions will be answered.
What does that even mean?
* * *
Back in my cubicle, I heard a voice in the back of my mind. I am the solution. You are my hands and feet. I want to go to them, but you’re not taking me. I do not exist among them unless you walk with them. I cannot touch them unless you reach out to them. They cannot find the solution unless you take it to them.
So why are we building bigger buildings? Why are we going on more extravagant retreats? Why are we holding more fattening potlucks?
God’s heart is breaking because His Church refuses to go. There is a broken and dying generation right at our doorstep and we think that by opening our front doors to them, we’re doing our duty.
Newsflash! They don’t give a rat’s ass! To them, it’s a trap. To them, all we care about is adding them to our numbers. They’re intimidated by our massive auditoriums. They’re frightened by our gigantic steeples. And they’re annoyed by our constant instistence that if they just walked through these doors, all their problems will go away. Have you ever wondered why so few people are willing to set foot in a church?
We’ve got it all backwards. Paul wrote in his first letter to the church in the city of Corinth that he would “become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” We’ve been trying for generations to get people into the Church. What if we instead brought the Church to them?
I think God’s heart is broken because His Bride has decided to do things her way. He’s prescribed a method of reaching people with the Gospel, and He knows that it will work. But the Church has decided that it won’t work and that she needs to find another way.
All of the people I’ve described desperately need to meet their Savior. Let’s stop screwing around and introduce them to Him.