Don’t ‘go’ to church, evangelist tells ‘ECG 2012’
Focus less on maintaining the church and more on taking Jesus into the world, Hammond says
That kind of repeated storytelling is what leads to “apostolic movements that focus on what God and Jesus are doing, not on money or numbers,” Hammond insisted. “The best apostolic leaders are the good storytellers, those who are working at the edges and making the biggest difference. They’re not about labeling people but giving them permission to be themselves.”
Many churches just don’t see that “plain truth,” Hammond said. “Too many churches are hard on the outside ― difficult to break into ― and soft in the inside, not knowing who they are and what they should be doing,” he said. “We don’t make it easy to join, but everyone who makes a move toward Jesus should be applauded. Jesus sees people differently [than many churches].”
Churches should be striving to be the “third place” in their communities, Hammond said, referring to the cultural phenomenon of people finding that spot ― in addition to home and work or school ― where they feel a sense of belonging. Workshop participants identified several “third places”: the mall, Starbucks, the gym, sports organizations, pubs, hunting and fishing clubs, casinos.
“Why are churches so seldom on that list?” Hammond asked. “We should be sending our people out into the culture with the love of Jesus Christ, no trying to draw them out of it. We make it so hard for people to be disciples that they say, Sorry, that’s not for me.’”