July 22, 2008

The Steps of the Church

I was listening to a recent podcast from The Fermi Project and the speaker, Jim Wallis was talking about a crime that happened on the steps a church he knew the pastor of. It talked about whether the church is responsible for what happens on their steps. In this case, they said yes and began some street ministry that reduced violent crime amongst adolescents. They took what was happening right outside their doors and turned it into community outreach. It got me to thinking about the phrase "the steps of the church". Where are they, really?

You can think of the physical location, the actual steps leading out of the building the church is located in. But the building isn't the church; the body of Christ worshipping within the building is the church. So what or where are the steps of the church?

I think of the world outside of the body of Christ as residing on the steps of the church. If we are not walking out of the church, out of meeting just within the body, are we going out and being responsible for what is happening on our steps? We need to get into our neighborhood, our community, our nation, our world. Those are the steps of the church. Thinking of it that way makes it very personal for me: it is not just the steps of the church I attend; it becomes the steps of my church, the church that is within me.

I am going to be thinking a lot of what that means and what I need to do to get off my own personal church steps. I hope it makes you think as well.


ryan said...

You're so on top of things. I think that as we are beginning to re-imagine the church beyond the building, we have to start re-defining what it means to be on the church steps.
In my mind, this would be the people who are just footsteps away from experiencing the love of God that the church has to offer.
Maybe this could be our new concentric cirlces... "church steps", "across the street", "across town", "a world away."

Andy C said...

Ryan: Thanks. I really like the thought of adding it to the concentric circles. It is true that some are closer to the steps of the church than others. Some can see the building, some can hear the music inside, all are invited to enter.