Many churches today unintentionally turn their backs on those who need Jesus the most. There is an inward focus-we go to our Bible studies, we take care of one another, we listen to our favorite Christian music-basically, our activities are directed towards those already claiming Christ as their Savior.
One day Jesus addressed this with both word and deed. The story is so familiar to most believers we forget the message within. Jesus was teaching in a home. Pretty soon the home was filled to overflowing, with people standing in the doors and windows just to hear Jesus speak.
For the crowd, the meeting was about them. What could they get? What could they learn? What could Jesus offer them? Churches today are filled with well-meaning Christians with similar attitudes. You can hear it in their self-centered words:
- We love this church because it is so convenient for us
- We go to this church because our kids love the day care
- This church makes me feel better about myself
If your ministry has become focused on the already-convinced, then it’s time for an open-roof policy. Out of the entire crowd in and around the house that day, at least four people got it. These four had a crippled friend who desperately needed Jesus, and they were determined to go to any lengths to get him there.
In his book It, Pastor Craig Groeschel outlines some very practical lessons from these four friends. First, they recognized their friend needed Jesus. Too many believers forget that the lost really need Jesus.
We also see that it took four different people to get this one to Jesus. Reaching people is not just the pastor’s job; it’s everyone’s job. We do our part, others do their part, and God does his. We’re never the answer; Jesus always is.
The story also tells us that love overcomes obstacles. Their love for their friend compelled them to climb on the roof and tear a hole in it so they could lower their friend right in front of Jesus. They didn’t worry about what everyone would say-they were focused on getting their friend to Jesus.
The open roof policy depicted in this story is another way of saying your church has to be outwardly focused.
- Do whatever it takes to make your ministry a place that welcomes those who don’t know Christ
- Your ministry must have a clear, consistent presentation of Jesus’ story
- Leaders need real faith; if you believe with every fiber in your body that Christ can and will instantly transform a life, people will sense it, feel it, and believe it as well
Identify the barriers that are keeping your church from reaching others – and then tear the roof off of them!