Making the Kingdom tangible!

Posted: May 1, 2013 by efenster in Ideas

Tangible KingdomThe book Tangible Kingdom:  Creating Incarnational Communityby Hugh Halter and Matt Smay, one of the authors shares about his encounter with a woman on an airplane.  Being a Christian and a pastor, he was ready to share his faith with the woman but first asked her to share a little about her life.  She explained that she was a biologist who had been working on a cure for AIDS for 14 years. She began her work because many of her friends had died from the disease.

She went on to talk about the community she was a part of.  “Everyone I work with is like family.  Almost all of us share a real passion for our purpose together, join hands and pray to our benevolent God for his help in finding a cure.  They’re both my co-laborers and my spiritual family.  If all I had was them, that’s all I will ever need.”

The author said for the first time in his life he didn’t have any thing to offer the woman.  Then she asked him what he did for a living.  When he told her he was a pastor, he writes:  “She gently reached down, grabbed both my hands, looked me right in the eyes, and said, ‘Oh, I’m sure that must be hard to do.  I’ve never found anything attractive about any church or Christians I’ve ever met.  I will pray for you.’  And then she recited some Celtic blessing over me that sounded like it came straight from the very mouth of Saint Patrick.”

The book points out that one out of every three adults in America, according to recent Barna research, is like this woman–unchurched.  Furthermore, “roughly half of all churches in America did not add one new person through conversion growth last year.”  In fact, in America “it takes the combined effort of eight-five Christians working over an entire year to produce one convert.”

The attractional model of church, that is so familiar to so many of us, is not going to reach these persons, rather it will take a more incarnational approach–one described in the book.

So to all of you whose heart aches for the growing numbers of people who have no interest in the institutional church, I encourage you to read this book and consider how you might apply it in your life.  Happy reading!

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development

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