If you’ve ever been in the position to teach, then you know that preparing to teach is the best way to learn yourself. Even material that I have taught many times before speaks to me afresh as a student when I engage with it honestly and diligently. This is true right now as I lead a group through our “Just Walk Across the Room” class on Tuesday nights. It’s speaking to me again about being a “church without walls” – and it brought to mind this quote, where I first heard that idea:
“Don’t build walls for the non-Christian to climb over.
This conversion business becomes a higher and higher wall that they must climb over – Christians, in reinforcing their argument, have unconsciously built it so high that their non-Christian friends question if they have the strength or desire to get over it to the other side. Yet it is the Christian who can reach through the wall and be with their friends, if they dare.
A lot of good sharing of experience just doesn’t happen simply because Christians develop an attitude of “oh, but you wouldn’t understand that.”
Non Christians are not creatures of some lesser or different species, but are people with one sense not yet developed, their Spirit’s dormant like a balloon waiting to be filled with the Breath of God. Their other senses may well be utilized more fully and properly than the Christian’s; they may be more diligent and earnest in their pursuit of truth or more compassionate and self-sacrificing.
Don’t have ulterior motives.
We must be prepared to love someone as they are, not in the hopes that eventually they will become a Christian. The choice is ours to come out from behind the walls and make friends with those around us. If the life in us is genuine, it will affect those about us, not in any self-conscious way, but as salt flavors everything. We must care, not with any ulterior evangelistic motive, but as an expression of our identity in God if indeed it is genuine. If the church walls come down we will be known for who we are, and if that is not the presence of Christ to all around, then it is time we got sorted out so it can be.”
-Andy Raine, The Northumbria Commuity