So many people today seem to have moved beyond the need of church in their lives. Church seems no longer to be relevant to them. This article is a guide to the believer in moving beyond church, not in participation, or support, but in mission, philosophy, and practice to reach the unchurched.
The church is relevant to life, and the gospel message is what people need to hear today. Every person who lives will suffer loss, will experience heartache, brokenness, and frustration in this world. Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation.” The good news of the gospel will give people hope beyond this world and all of its trials and tribulations through Christ.
Do we need to move beyond church? Yes, we do. But, not to exclude it from our lives; we are to move beyond church to realize our mission is outside the church. It is to reach the people who are hurting, broken, needy, lonely, and desperate for change.
Beyond church is a methodology where every believer of Christ must first come to Him through faith in and through the local church, and then move beyond the church to the mission field. Moving beyond doesn’t mean we are to leave the church. Moving beyond church is to see the local church as our launching base, and not a retreat from the world. The local church is not an end, but rather a beginning of a journey of walking, living, and experiencing Christ in our lives.
We are to live in community with other believers and spur one another on in the faith and grow to the full measure of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; 4:13). That is impossible to do if we are not in the church.
Ultimately, we are to get outside of the church to share our faith and live out our faith with others. We as believers are on mission for Christ in this world. We are to move beyond church and go into the world for His glory. But we must never leave the church! We are the church; how can we leave ourselves anyway?
Our growth and discipleship in the Christian faith should lead us ultimately to go beyond the church, and into the world. We are not to abandon or leave the church. The church serves as our base of operation, a launching pad, a safe haven for the believer to return to and be refurbished, replenished, and ready to go back out in service again. The church is the training ground, or like a military base, where we are trained but then are sent out on mission, and our mission is to go into the world for Christ.
Without going how can we ever fulfill the Great Commission? How can we live intentional, and be obedient to Christ, if we never leave the nest of the church, and encounter people in the world where they truly are? Too many Christians have been content to stay within the church and not launch out. Baby eaglets are forced out of their nests by their parents to learn how to fly. If not for that nudge from the parenting eagles, those eaglets may never learn how to fly.
Jesus sent His disciples out, as well as the 72 as His witnesses. They were to go out into the world and experience the world with all of its problems, and seek to minister, care, love, and make a difference in the name of Christ. They didn’t have all of the resources to meet every need they came upon. But they always had the resource of prayer – of calling upon God to provide for those needs that were beyond their abilities.
We must go into the world to rescue people from their false beliefs, fallible teachings, and lies they have been misled to believe by the world. We are called upon to rescue people from false religions, cults, misinterpretations of the Bible, and just ungodly hedonism that is so openly practiced. People need the Word of God introduced and reinforced in their lives.
It is our responsibility as believers to go into the marketplace and confront the unbelief, the confusion, and the misaligned views that people hold. Of course, the most acceptable way of sharing our good news is through love. As we love on people they are more apt to listen to our gospel.
If we fail to get outside of the church with the good news of the gospel, what will become of those who do not believe? Will they not be lost eternally? It is time to go beyond the church, not to abandon it, but to get outside of those walls and into the world with our faith. And ultimately our goal should be to bring converts into the church for discipleship.