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How to reach out to the de-churched (no real solutions, just pondering)

Some pastor friends of mine have related issues where their new congregations have experienced tremendous growth... but at a cost. They lost some of the long time members. Part of it due to preaching the Bible as a whole, not just the parts that are convenient and ear tickling. Part of it due to being radical in welcoming the unchurched Christian, and the non Christian, part of it due to engaging the congregations in 24/7/365 Christianity, not just 52 Sunday mornings a year. Obviously, all of the above are good and scriptural things... but its huge culture shock.

It takes the church from a place of peace and familiarity, and where comfort is found via longstanding practices, to one where danger exists at every turn. Sermons convict, thats not comforting, yet through grace, we have comfort in Jesus. Radical welcoming upsets the cliques and the status quo, making disciples is dangerous. Being in the hot seat for Jesus while in the world is dangerous, as contrasted with an escape from the world for 1-4 hours once a week, where comfort, and only like minded people may be found.

In some ways, it seems as if the prior congregations my friends were called to, were places that fostered escapism. Welcoming and discipleship building seemed like good words, but were never acted upon in folks hearts. Rather than the community edification of believers, including painful edification, church became a place where the focus was directed inward to the individual, almost to exclusivity of the others attending. Such practices are not all wrong, provided they are not just human escapism... Jesus and the disciples did pull away from the crowds for short periods of time. Many times, individuals went off on their own to pray. Such are good things, but like many good things, too much can go wrong if they become the only thing, and human escapism replaces what should be a rebuilding time to go out into the world to further God's work.

I think back some years to when I attended the canonical hours services of a church I visited in London. In many ways, esp the minor hours led could lead to escapism, but it was really up to the attendee. Ie was it a place of safety, and escape from the world, or was it prayer, hymns, scripture, for recharge and preparation to go back out into the world. Could this play a role in ministry to the de-churched? It would be a culture shock of yet huge magnitudes... yet, could it make for a transition from escapism to service and prayer, all the while still providing for a connection to the larger body of believers.

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