Jesus’ expectation, Paul’s expectation was that disciples, followers of Christ would all, without exception, be workers for the kingdom which means healers and heralds of the kingdom. Today however, much of what we do in our churches is wait for people to come to us, or we invite them to come to our facility where a few highly gifted and engaged people try to put on worship services and programs that will present the story of the gospel and win people to Christ.
But Christ didn’t commission his disciples to be inviters to programs and facilities but to be fishers of men (Matt. 4:19). We are not fish processors but fishers of men. Fisherman on the Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch™ don’t call the fish processors back at Dutch Harbor, fisherman. A fisherman has to go to the fish. He has to leave the dock. He doesn’t wait for fish to come to, or be brought to him. We need churches filled with missional/incarnational people who understand this distinction. We need believers to get out of their buildings and into the communities in which God has placed them. We need people to live among and with our communities and stop expecting them to come into our world and our churches to hear the gospel.
Further, we need to take the gospel to the streets not just in words, but into the hearts and lives of our neighbors in tangible, practical ways that demonstrate the love of Christ. Words must be coupled with action. Action must be coupled with words.
As Hugh Halter and Matt Smay write in their book The Tangible Kingdom, the primary function of any church “is to actively move into the culture to embody and enflesh the good news into every nook and cranny of this world. The function of the church is to be God’s missionary hands to a world that is looking for something tangible to grab onto.
Can a church be considered healthy, if the majority of its regular attenders never share their faith, never talk to non-Christians about the supremacy of Christ, never leave the dock to fish for men?