Perspective is always key when looking at things. When you look at a church and what its make up should be, what would you envision? People a lot like you, people different than you, or a combination of both? That might be too easy to answer.
How about this? How much different than you could they be? Or, is it even up to you to decide who gets in and who gets left out? If we use the model of the acceptance of Christ and the early church, the perspective would be that their membership was all over the place with people of all types, including notorious sinners and tax collectors. I wonder how many people would guard their pockets during the service?
The natural inclination of most of us is to be with folks who share our perspective, our values, and our lifestyles because that makes us comfortable, and that is not a bad thing. It is just not what Jesus envisioned. The Jews were already that way. They had their own group. What Jesus did was radicalize the perspective of a church to include folks who had not been included for centuries, but would be included for eternity.
Imagine how the Jews took this after so much time having their own group? And then, one of their own, Paul, was converted and the change began to take place. In reality It Only Took A Minute to happen before the entire world was invited to become members.
Let's bring that to today and ATB. This week we are doing eight meetings, two a day Monday through Wednesday, and then the girls do two Saturday. That's eight hours plus let's generously say it takes four hours to prepare and two hours to travel. That would add up to 14 hours of service plus a couple of hours to talk to people, so we do about 16 hours of service work to groups of people battling addiction, those new kind of folks who Paul went after.
In perspective, that is only slightly over ten percent of our time to bring hundreds of people a message of hope. In other words, It Only Took A Minute of our time to serve. We deserve no credit for that time served, but it was a time well served in God's eyes.
If we only took ten percent of our time to reach out to people not like us, what would our own churches look like? In perspective, they would look a lot like a day spent at WalMart. That may be the way Jesus looks at it, but with one major change- he paid the price before we could get to the checkout counter!
Do we have ten percent of our time to pay him back?
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.