If you're like the majority of people that live in America, when you think of "church," you probably think of a meeting place... a building... a group of people that come together on Sundays and/or Wednesdays to worship God in a specific location. But "church" is so much more than a building or a specific time or place that people come together on Sundays and Wednesdays. More than anything, we believe the church must be a passionate group of people that believe in the power and grace of Jesus Christ in our day-to-day lives. "Church" is not a one-hour a week event. It's 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. It's not a building. It's people - people that believe in the transforming power of Jesus Christ and are willing to surrender their personal desires to the leading of our Lord and Savior in their lives. We can blog all day about the problems with the "church" today, because, quite frankly, there are problems with the church because we are human and humans sin and make mistakes and sometimes say and do not so smart things. We're not going to fix all of those issues overnight and we wouldn't personally even know where to begin! Let's start with what we can do by stating what we do believe. We believe in the love of Jesus Christ. We believe in the power of Jesus Christ. We believe in the grace of Jesus Christ. We believe that God can transform lives and situations in ways that are unimaginable to us. We believe the most effective evangelistic strategy God has given us is our lives. That's right, our day-to-day lives. Because, you see, the way we live our lives... at home... at work... in our daily interactions at the store... the way we talk to and with our neighbors, our children, our co-workers, our spouses, the AT&T technician on the phone, etc. speaks a WHOLE lot more about our belief in Jesus Christ, than anything - anything - else we could ever do. Bull horn evangelism - not effective. Church attendance alone - not effective. Proclaiming you are a "Christian" but then living like a non-Christian - not effective at all! If we put our faith in Jesus Christ, and allow the Holy Spirit to infiltrate every aspect of our day-to-day lives, people will want what is inside of us - Jesus Christ. It's really that simple. It's powerful and it's relational and that's where God most effectively works.
Our goal as a passionate follower of Jesus Christ is to develop and grow relationships with people. We don't develop and grow relationships to "convert" people to our way of thinking as a Christian. We think that is "old school." No, we develop and grow relationships - whether it is our 611 Bakehouse customers all the way down to our own children - so we can better understand, love, serve and bless one another in our world. Strong, growing, and healthy relationships allow for open and honest discussions AND disagreements. We don't think it's our "job" to influence people to the "right way" (i.e., what a good Christian believes); instead, we believe in talking and loving one another and keeping all lines of communication open. The Holy Spirit will do the rest. But, we can not talk with and love others through a bull horn or if we invite them to a church building once a week because there is no foundation of a personal relationship in these situations. We want our lives to speak boldly and plainly about the power of God in our lives to those people that come in contact with us on a day-to-day basis. You see, it's all about relationships!