Tag Archives: Outreach

Change Our Behavior Or Change Our Name!

There is a story about a young man that was brought before Alexander the Great. The young man had stolen a horse and was brought in by the guards so he could be judged. Knowing that this was an offense that was severely punished, everyone waited to see what Alexander would do.

Alexander looked at the boy and was moved by the look of fear on his face. Thinking of leniency, Alexander asked the boy his name. The boy looked up and sheepishly said, “Alexander”. The Emperor taken back, moved toward the boy in anger and said, “Boy, what is your name?” The boy afraid for his life said, “Alexander sir.” No more did the word come out of his mouth that the emperor jumped on the boy and threw him to the ground. Enraged he pointed at the boy and said, “Boy, change your behavior or change your name!”

I am not sure of the authenticity of the story, but I think the point is well taken. We need to walk our talk!

The Bible in the book of James says, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. (James 2:14-17)

There are needs all around us. We need to be busy helping to meet those needs. The church has ignored the cries of those around them for too long. We have lost of credibility as people helpers. When is the last time a church has been invited to meetings about social needs? Helping reduce crime, eradicate poverty, provide affordable housing, help the homeless. These and hundreds of other social needs are crying out for help. Where are we? If we were brought before Jesus today and had to give an account of what we and our churches are doing to make a difference outside our four walls, what would He say? Would we hear, “Well done good and faithful servant!” or “Change your behavior or change your name!”

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The Church Can Make a Difference

According to recent 2010 surveys, there are over 190,000 evangelical and conservative Protestant congregations with over 43,000,000 congregants. Add to that, 77,000 mainline Protestant congregations with 22,000,000 congregants. That is 65,000,000 people! That is more than enough people to make a significant difference, but we can’t sit around and think the others will do it. We must act. The question is, will you and your church go outside your comfort zone and work in those communities around you to help those in need with compassion, justice, and the gospel?

We need a mind shift. For too long churches have been trying to be the best church in the community. We have compared ourselves with other churches. But is that the right measuring stick? Is that what God wants? Perhaps there are better metrics. Maybe we should quit striving to be the best church “in” and become, as the author Eric Swanson suggests, the best church “for” the community. You can read about it in his book, The Externally Focused Quest: Becoming the Best Church for the Community. Since he wrote that book, he has even gone further and has said that we should be the best church “with” the community. In his writings, Eric asks a sobering question that we need to consider. He asks, “If your church were to close its doors, would anyone in the community be upset?” It is a serious question and one that we may not like the answer to. But here is the good news. It is not too late! We can still make a difference. We can embrace our mission, to be a true community church and start considering different ways we can be the hands and feet of Jesus right where we worship. We can take on a new mantra, one that says, “Yes, we want to be the best church for and with the community.”

Taken from Ron Ovitt’s book, Five Signs Of A Healthy Christian

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