I've never met a pastor who didn't agree in some measure with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian during WWII. From his cell in the Flossenburg concentration camp, he wrote, "The church is only the church when it exists for others."

Every pastor I know speaks well, stirringly even, of serving and blessing and winning those outside the church walls. But let's be honest, it's difficult at times to reconcile our speaking with our doing. If action is the fruit of conviction, if "by their fruit you shall know them," then the conclusion is inescapable: many pastors and churches could not care less about their communities.

I call this "Roof-tile Syndrome."

I derive that from Mark 2. Jesus is speaking inside a house, and "some men" bring a paralyzed man to the place, carried by four of them. They're trying to get their friend to Jesus. But a crowd knots the door, creates a barricade of backs. There's no getting past them to reach Jesus. So the men take the building apart. They rip open the roof and lower their friend through the hole. Jesus, seeing their faith (these are some men), forgives the paralyzed man, and then heals him.

And, of course, controversy breaks out among the religious folk.

Roof-tile Syndrome is when we are so caught up in the preaching of Jesus, we turn our backs to the needs of those still outside the building. We become barriers and not gateways. It's when we care more about keeping things intact than about restoring lives that are shattered. It's when we're more upset when stuff gets broken than excited when the broken are mended. It's when church gets reduced to the preaching of Jesus so that we fail to notice that we're seeing very little of the forgiveness and healing of Jesus. It is when we are so fearful ...

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Winter 2007: Going Missions  | Posted
Change  |  Church Health  |  Community Impact  |  Mission  |  Missions  |  Serving
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