As Christians we have two core jobs, if you want to call it that.
Job #1 – Proclamation. Proclamation comes in a variety of forms. Just as we all have different gifts, we are gifted in different ways to proclaim. Some are gifted speakers, some gifted writers, some gifted with their hands, some gifted with creativity, some with hospitality. And that’s not an exhaustive list by any stretch. The key question is what are we proclaiming. Christians are to proclaim the Good News. And what is the Good News – that Jesus sets us free – free from bondage, death, sin, and more. This is a message of transformation. It’s a message about the expanding reign of God. It’s a message about shalom wholeness. It’s a message of actual peace. It’s a message for right now, not some time in the distant future. Proclamation of how lives and communities and churches and societies are transformed.
Just as important is what Proclamation is not – it is not badgering someone or harassing them. It’s not guilting them. It’s not threatening them with hell if they don’t buy in. It’s not Bible thumping. It’s not “I’m right and you are wrong so you better change.” None of those things free people. They only belittle people. That’s not shalom. That’s not peace. That’s not transformative.
Job #2 is invitation. The entirety of invitation is not summed up in invitation to worship. It is invitation to so much more. Often inviting people to worship is awkward for people. Invitation isn’t about inviting people to a building or an institution. It’s about inviting people into a new way of being based on the proclamation. It’s invitation to community and relationship, to discipleship and service. It’s invitation to a vision.
Institutions like churches come and go. None of the churches Paul started are around today. Does that make Paul a failure? Nope. Churches aren’t the building. They are the people, the community of faith. When we let go of trying to save the institution, we can embrace the invitation and the proclamation much easier.
Proclamation and Invitation. Hear/see/feel/taste/smell the Good News. Experience it. Encounter it. Be transformed by it. And invite others into the same proclamation. Why wouldn’t you want to?