Locking the Doors of the Church Opens the Doors To Ministry

Imagine if we trashed our traditionalism and shut the doors on Sunday night and Wednesday night. Imagine the ministry that could happen if we released our congregation to live their lives rather than congregating for another sermon. Imagine a church who gathers once a week to scatter every day. Imagine a church who is not bothered so much with meeting with Christians but bothered so much with not meeting with those who are far from God. Imagine a family who gets to spend time together on Sunday nights before their week begins rather than going to the church building for another bible study they probably won’t remember.

Can you imagine or are you so lost in your traditionalism that shutting the doors of your church to allow your people to do ministry in their community and with their own family is too much to bear? Are you afraid of losing another offering? Are you concerned with them not getting enough biblical understanding and encouragement from the morning sermon? Does it squash your pride and your need for more stage time?

Read this story from The Call by Os Guinness.

“The story is told, for example, of two young Dutch priests who eagerly followed news of Martin Luther’s early reforms—brought to them by Guttenberg’s new printing presses. In 1520, they read the revolutionary paragraphs in The Babylonian Captivity. They were stunned. Their whole view of following Christ, and in particular their whole way of leading the church, was wrong. Their response was swift and decisive—the very next Sunday evening they locked the doors of their church.

“Locked their church doors? What on earth for? For security reasons? Or were they hijacking their premises and transferring them forcibly to another denomination? There were in fact no “Protestant” churches at this stage, let alone “denominations.” The priests’ point was theological. At a time when “church” was typically equated with “clerical” and associated with buildings, institutions, and ecclesiastical hierarchies, Luther’s rediscovery of calling blew apart the distortions of the medieval world.

“Yes, the church as a building is essential to worship and certain other aspects of the church’s corporate life. But to make it more is to fall for the perennial “edifice complex.” So the two priests locked the church doors on Sunday night as a statement that followers of Christ were to live their whole lives to God.”

Guinness, Os (2003-10-09). The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life (p. 163). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.


About Kevin Riner
child of grace, worshiper of Jesus, husband, father, Pastor of Village Church, author of Faith Debugged

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