Launch Pad 12: Join a Club or Group Outside The Church

Christian fellowship is great. It is meant to be enjoyed, the church was intended to be our family, where we feel safe and where people ‘get us’ because they share our beliefs, ethics and assumptions. But if we never go outside the safety of fellowship, we can become like a ship that never leaves the security of the harbour! Harbour walls are important and provide calm waters for ships to be both loaded and repaired. But the purpose of ships is to cross oceans, they are meant to head out from safety into open water. If they don’t they become pointless! Likewise, while we need the refuelling of fellowship, worship and teaching, our calling is to go out into the world with the message of Christ.

“I’d love to invite my friends to Alpha or Christianity Explored, but all my friends are Christians!” is an all too often heard phrase that makes leaders of these courses dismayed! It completely restricts the mission of the church. But the church has caused some of the problem itself, by overloading keen Christians with internal meetings, rotas and church duties so that they rarely get into the world, and certainly don’t spend enough time there to make life-deep friendships.

What’s compounded this problem has been the development of what might be called ‘christianised-leisure’! I know places where I can join Christian book-groups, hillwalking clubs and badminton clubs. The problem with this is that our whole lives can become absorbed in church, and our social contacts exclusively formed within the echo-chamber of fellowship.

So, here’s the challenge. Take a look at the amount of time that you invest in activities other than work – and make sure that at least one of them is in a context where you can meet, and make meaningful friendships, with people outside the church. If you are a bookworm, don’t set up a Christian book circle, find a neighbourhood one, etc. It’s not a quick fix for evangelism – but it can be an essential first step. We are called to be ‘salt’; and salt only works as a preservative in foods it touches. Likewise we cannot be an influence from within our silos. Christians need to get out more!

Pray: Lord please help me make deep friendships outside the church, and use these as a conduit for your love.

Previously: Launch Pad #11 Change Perceptions One Drop At A Time

Next: Launch Pad #13 The Ministry of Chocolate