Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gangs or Churches?

Lately, I have been a bit intrigued with a series on the History Channel called Gangland. It is a documentary about some of the most powerful gangs in recent American history. The thing that jumps out at me about these gangs is how they are able to recruit young people in droves and how people remain involved even into middle age. I began to question how and why people were involved in gangs and soon found the answer.

Young people join gangs and stay with gangs because they find a place to belong. In a gang they believe they have people who care for them and protect them. That may seem odd, but the recruitment process works much like a college fraternity. An established member of a gang will usually build a relationship with a potential member and invest time with that person. The gang member will then invite the young person to join up and be a part of a family. The desire to belong is so strong in the human heart that the answer is basically a no-brainer for the potential member.

Gangs have it figured out, and yet we continue to struggle in the church. People are longing for a place to belong, and because we as the church are not investing in their lives and inviting them to be a part of a loving community with Christ at the center, they are finding belonging in other places. We must do more than open the doors of the church if we expect people to show up. Those far from God are not going to run into the church, but if a Christian will invest in their lives and show them the love of Christ and then invite them to visit the church and experience the love and sense of belonging in Christ’s church, those far from God may very well experience a life-change through Christ.

This is the question, are you willing to invest and invite? This is not an easy task, it takes work, but it is a necessary task if we are to see the kingdom of God advance. We can take Camden by storm if we are willing to work a little bit. I’m excited to see what God will do through us as we invest in the lives of others and invite them to be a part of what He is doing at Malvern Hill; after all, we are not just a place to belong, we are also a place to become!

Add to Technorati Favorites

No comments: