We shared an interesting conversation in Bible Study this morning. Jim Henderson suggests a potential shift in metaphor helps reshape our understanding of disciple-making (a.k.a. “Evangelism”). Often we do not make adjustments based solely as a result of argument. We need an accompanying picture – a new metaphor.
In the course of our discussions Mike told of a conversation where he was describing what we do in our “Wednesdays Are for Others.” One response he got, quite profound, noted, “We just go to church.”
If the Church is a sign and foretaste of the Kingdom of God then there must be more going on than “just going to church.” Yet, too many suffer from the need for a new metaphor. In fact, when Church is a place you go rather than who you are, we miss the people Jesus loves the most, to borrow from Jim Henderson.
It is very easy to talk about “others” as “lost.” Conversations most helpful turn on what Henderson describes as “missing.” Questions abound for us to engage others regarding what may be missing in their lives. It will not happen without relational connection. It is far easier to stand aloof, at a safe distance, and declare what another is. We risk missing those who are missing when we fail to work from a position as fellow human being than from a posture of insider, something smacking of elitism. Nothing reeks worseÂ than spiritual arrogance.
Despite the tendency toward polarities – either/or – we really need the combination of declaration/announcement and relational engagement. We need the metaphors of both Luke 4 and Luke 19. We mustn’t need to choose between the two.Â It really must be more than, “We just go to church.”