For the week of January 16, 2006

Take It to the Streets
By: Bruce Cole
Here’s John 1:14, Eugene Peterson-style (The Message): “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” That’s incarnation! Unfortunately, many believers cloister with one another and “neighborhood” becomes “Christian ghetto.” This is a danger in even the most vibrant churches. Seekers become believers, and then they start shopping in “Christian” bookstores instead of Borders or Barnes & Noble. They begin listening to K-Love or the Fish (“Christian” radio formats) and quit listening to good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll, top-forty, and country. In the process, their language gets infiltrated by the code words of the Christian ghetto. Faithful, loving believers become uncomfortable around non-believers – “normal” people. The Word becomes flesh and blood and moves into the neighborhood.

Keep your church outward-focused. Challenge your leaders to include time listening to “regular” radio stations as well as “Christian” ones. Stay in touch with the lives and culture of those who don’t yet believe. Hang out in Barnes & Noble and Borders. People who don’t yet know Jesus aren’t hanging out in the local Christian bookstore. An inward focus creeps into our churches and takes hold before we know it. Be vigilant. Keep the focus outward. Be the flesh and blood incarnation of Jesus and take it to the streets.