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By James D. Sanderson
Special to The PREVIEW
What if we told the story of the Kingdom instead of the story of the church?
I mean, there are those who have come to believe that the church is only a Sunday morning worship center — make a joyful noise and all that.
But, what about making a joyful noise in our community? The Kingdom is all about community, while the church has become something else again. Let me put it even more bluntly: Most of the people I have been talking with are not willing to hear another word about the church. Most, if we listen with open ears (let those who have ears, listen), have given up on the church. Their reasons are as various and diverse as they are themselves as individuals.
The trouble is, I believe, that the church we see around us is not, for the most part, the church we see in the Bible. When we read the sacred scripture we gather that the church is, or is supposed to be, every individual believer living the way of Christ in the real world. If we read the Bible in the way it is actually written, we do not get the sense that church is a building where the followers of Christ gather together in large groups to worship God. In fact, the church we see in the Bible gives us the sense that every individual believer “is” the church. We are called to live incarnational lives (to live the Christ in us), missionally (in the real world). We are to follow the example of Christ himself. Jesus Christ left his secure place in heaven to live his (earthly) life incarnationally as a human being among human beings. Fully God, but also fully human. And he lived his life in the real world among real people doing real human things.
A man once told me that he had been to church before, but he could never understand what they were saying.
“You all,” (the little congregation we were part of then among the homeless community in Durango), “are just real people saying real things to real people.” That’s what Jesus did. He told people about the very real Kingdom of Heaven in real words used by real people. What is the Kingdom like? “It is like a mustard seed …”
The One Church of Pagosa Springs means to reach every person in Archuleta County with the Good News of Christ and the Kingdom of God that is available to all of us.
We will do this by means of hand-to-hand campaigning (as I have heard it called in the political arena), living our lives in inclusive community with our neighbors, in a Christ-like way, radically reorienting our lives around the Gospel — the Good News — of Jesus Christ. That is the way that changes everything.
You see, I am a simple person. In fact, the saying, “Keep It Simple Stupid” should read, “Keep It Simple Sanderson” (the “stupid” is inferred). I just believe what the Bible says. We will be directly engaging the culture around us in an all-out attempt to bring the blessings of the Kingdom to our little town. I don’t know what else to do with my life.
I invite you to join us. For more information, please see our website at www.jamesdsanderson.com.
Send your faith articles to firstname.lastname@example.org (500 to 800 words).