I rediscovered a quote the other day that made me think - and hopefully it will make you think too.
"Church has become the place we go to get away from the people Jesus sends us to." - Dr. John Avant.
I'm going to let that linger for a minute...
Christians have fallen victim to the same phenomenon that the rest of our culture has...cocooning. What is cocooning? Think of it this way....
Most people drive home from work into a gated community. They open their garage door and drive their car inside shutting the door behind them. They go inside and isolate themselves from the rest of the family - Sally is in her bedroom listening to her iPod, Mikey is in his room playing Xbox, and mom is in the office surfing on the Internet.
We rarely interact with people in our neighborhood. We don't even know the people in their neighborhood.
Furthermore, my "Friends" on the Internet - i.e. Facebook and Twitter - are people that I barely know who are constantly trying to grab my attention by telling me every little thing that they are doing. The quantity of my relationships has increased while the quality has decreased. Social interaction in the information age is faceless.
The average church member has few if any close relationships with anyone outside of their church. This poses a serious problem- especially when you have a church full of cocooned Christians. If we don't know people to evangelize, then how are we going to obey the great commission?
We need to emerge from our cocoon to engage our community.
It is time for Christians to intentionally build relationships with the lost in order to win them to Christ, build them in faith and send them back into the world to influence others. That is what FriendFluence is all about. Building friendships in order to influence others for Christ.
How do we do that?
A native once said to a missionary, "You built a bridge of love between my heart and your heart and Jesus walked over." How cool is that?
Begin by walking across the street to say hello. Host events in your home that are designed to get to know your neighbors. Have a backyard barbecue where you supply the burgers and ask your neighbors to bring all the trimmings. Host a Backyard Box Office night where you invite our ministry to show a Christian film like Fireproof or Facing the Giants in your backyard as you provide popcorn and drinks for your neighborhood guests. Prayerwalk your neighborhood and as you walk, stop to ask how you can pray for the neighbors.
There are lots of ways you can intentionally build a bridge to the neighborhood. Just get outside of your cocoon and build more bridges for Jesus.
For more info about the Backyard Box Office, contact us at darrel at onlyfoundation dot org.