We are witnessing a movement within the churches today that should concern us. Churches are targeting only people that look like them. They are using demographic studies, not to find and understand who the people are in their area to direct their ministry to them. Unfortunately, churches are doing demographic studies to find where are the “best people”, by their definition so they can plant a church there or move their church to that location. A Bible commentator properly called it the “zip code ministry”.
The word “unliked” has many synonyms. Here are some of them: avoided, disliked, friendless, ignored, rejected, shunned, snubbed, unaccepted, undesirable, unloved, unpopular, unwanted, and unwelcome. We as a church should be willing and prepared to minister to this kind of people, the ones that are forgotten and rejected by society. But, it seems to me, that churches have something else in mind. Their goals and missions are to reach people that think and look like them, dress like them, and have the same goals in life. They are looking for uniformity.
Most of those churches are running a very good business, but the mission is not even close to that of Jesus. Jesus came to bring the message and love of God to those who could not help themselves. He did that through the incarnation, which means the closest way that He could get to us. This is what Paul wrote in that beautiful poem and creed about the incarnation of Jesus in his letter to the Philippians: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2: 5-11.” The words that Paul used to define Jesus’ actions are, “made himself nothing”, “nature of servant”, “human likeness”, “humbled himself”, “obedient to death”, “death on a cross”.
This was His mission, He was sent to do that. This is what He said in His priestly prayer: “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. John 17:18.” And this is what he said to the disciples after His resurrection: “Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21.” Mounce Greek Dictionary translates “as” in this way: “just as, in the manner that” It means, that the mission of the church is the same mission that Jesus had. He sent us to do the same thing. To look for the lost, to proclaim the Gospel, to help others, and to love the unliked, not just to serve those that are just like us.
Have a blessed week,