Now let’s get at it.
So friends… invite your neighbors into your lives! … invite your neighbors into this church … and next week I‘m going to show you how to invite your neighbors to follow Jesus!
Grace church is poised, along with all the other great churches in this community, to launch a beautiful revolution.
But despite those drawbacks…In my humble opinion, yes, Grace is a great church. And with an ongoing shared commitment between us to work hard in creating an invitational culture, this church has the potential to change your neighbors’ lives and all of central Indiana.
· we’re certainly not everybody’s cup of tea
· we’ve got some notorious sinners running around here.
· we’re monstrously large and seemingly hard to connect in.
Now, let’s ask ourselves the million dollar question? Is Grace a great church?
I’m telling you, your neighbors need a great church.
Where else in this world can you be held to such high moral standards and at the same time offered the grace of forgiveness?
· at the same time a great church offers a way to reconciliation and forgiveness with God when your neighbors have walked away from Him
· a great church makes clear what is right and what is wrong as it clearly teaches God’s say on the matter
A great church can help your neighbors experience both moral accountability and forgiveness.
A great church can meet those needs.
· need somebody to be there in your life transitions
· need food?
· need comfort in a deep loss?
· need direction in dealing with a hurt or hang up?
· need a helping hand with material needs?
A great church can meet your neighbors real and present needs
cure their American myopia
· This is just what your neighbors need to lift their eyes off their navels and
· A great church rallies its people around the mission of God – the Kingdom revolution that addresses poverty, racism, slavery, immorality, and a myriad of other injustices
A great church can help your neighbors live for something bigger than themselves.
· Can people be healed? Delivered from oppression? Get help in hopeless situations? Does God still do things that blow out minds? Does God answer prayer? …yes…and a great church is a stage on which God acts
A great church can provide your neighbors with a taste of the miraculous to give them hope.
· We all need some liturgy to slow the world down and save our memories!
· Where else can your neighbors learn and practice prayer, solitude, worship, communion and baptism – all defenses against the onslaught of data and speed.
A great church can provide your neighbors with grounding in ancient spiritual practices while technology overwhelms us.
· America is the land of shallow faith and shallow community…a great church is the antidote.
o we share our …hurts…pains…losses…wins…failures…shame…we share our souls.
· there are all kinds of community – shared goals of a team, shared interests of a club, shared learning of a class but nothing is as peculiarly deep and intimate as the shared fellowship of the church
A great church can draw your neighbors into a peculiar and intimate fellowship
· A great church introduces your neighbors to an active and present Spirit
· A great church introduces your neighbors to powerful King and savior – Jesus Christ.
· A great church introduces your neighbors to a loving and sovereign God.
· The predominant American religion is a shallow, vaguely Christian, belief system whose God is distant and not involved in daily life.
A great church can clear up your neighbors’ confusing and unhelpful theology.
How a great church can change your neighbors’ lives:
century will do the same 2000 years later. st These early followers of Jesus established the prototype of every church to follow. What revolutionized Middle Eastern culture in the 1
· Vs. 47 – they publicly worshipped (and in so doing got a lot of attention in the community)
· Vs. 46 – they hung out in large gathering at the Temple and in small groups in homes
· Vs. 44 – they shared…they were authentic in sharing their needs and passionate about sharing their material resources
· Vs. 42 – they engaged in ancient spiritual practices – the Lord’s supper, prayer, worship
· Vs 42 – they learned together (from apostles)
What did they actually do?
This was a Great third Space! - the great good place!
· Vs. 46 – hungered to be together
· Vs 44-45 – deep sense of sharing
· Vs 43 – awe and mystery (miraculous things happened)
· Vs. 42 – devotion and fellowship
was infectious, communal, happy, and even mystical The vibe
· The church just happened and instantly became The Great Good Place – powerful third space in that culture.
· Fascinating that this church formed with virtually no direction
42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47
Setting: the days following the departure of Jesus and the strange, powerful coming of the Holy Spirit. Within hours of the tornadic blowing in of the Spirit a church of thousands spontaneously formed – the first church was a mega church.
Acts 2:42 To explore why:
This week – We must invite our neighbors into this church.
Final week – We must invite our neighbors to follow Jesus.
(practice hospitality and practice love)
Last week – We must invite our neighbors into our lives.
First week – Why is an invitational culture so crucial today?
Grace Church: Hide or Seek?
It is time for us to transform from people who hide into people who seek.
- An invitational culture is one in which those far from Jesus are invited to follow the one who has revolutionized our lives.
- An invitational culture is one in which the non-churched and under churched find community in our lives and within these walls
- An invitational culture is one in which those on the periphery of our lives come inside
- An invitational culture is one in which strangers are welcomed
“Invitational Culture” = A welcoming, alluring, provocative, enticing, hospitable community
Today I want to tell you why…but before that let’s review the series so far…
If Grace Community Church is to develop a highly invitational culture we must be committed to inviting our neighbors to join us in this wonderful community of God.
It’s because of this fantastic potential that you and I must share the conviction that your neighbors need to belong to the Great Good Place of the church.
Ø The local church can be a third space that gathers human beings to join in the fight to save the world
Ø The local church can be a third space that offers help and healing as people struggle with pain and need
Ø The local church can be a third space that is theologically correct in a theologically confused world
Ø The local church can be a third space that is ancient and unchanging in a rapidly changing world
Ø The local church can be a third space that is corrective in the midst of massive immorality
Ø The local church can be a third space that is family in the middle of loneliness
Ø The local church can be a third space that is centering in the midst of chronic anxiety
Ø The local church is a God ordained “third space”
space ever in the history of humanity…the Local Church rd Those are great examples but I’m not sure that Movies or TV have ever captured the best 3
Ø Bar in Cheers – where everybody knows your name
Ø Coffee Shop on Friends
Ø Cafe in Seinfeld
TV has picked up this concept:
Feelings of warmth, possession, and belonging as they would in their own homes. They feel a piece of themselves is rooted in the space, and gain spiritual regeneration by spending time there.
Ø Similar to a good home in the comfort and support it offers
Third Places put no importance on an individual’s status in a society. Someone's economic or social status does not matter in a Third Place, There are no prerequisites or requirements that would prevent acceptance or participation in the Third Place.
Ø Levels the status of individuals
Have regulars who give the space its character and tone but also new folks to meet and establish friendships with.
Ø New and old friends can be found there
Ø Welcoming and comfortable
Third places must be open, readily available and accommodating to those who occupy them.
Ø Highly accessible
Hallmarks of a great 3rd Place:
- “Third space” is an anchor of community life that facilitates and fosters broader, more creative interaction. They establish a sense of place and belonging.
Ray Oldenburg, The Great Good Place
“What suburbia cries for are the means for people to gather easily, inexpensively, regularly, and pleasurably — a ‘place on the corner,’ real life alternatives to television, easy escapes from the cabin fever of marriage and family life
He suggested that what we need is a “third space”
- “second place" is your workplace — where people may actually spend most of their time.
- "first space" your home
He said that what suburban folks need is what he called a Third Space – a great good place.
Picture of book cover
You can read his conclusions and recommendations in a book published in 1989 called The Great Good Place
Spiritual aimlessness ·
Distracted minds ·
Relational isolation ·
Chronic anxiety ·
The state of our neighbors:
Now, he didn’t say this but I wonder if Dr. Oldenburg saw some of the same trends we’ve seen among our neighbors:
- This recurring pattern was diminishing interconnected community
- Get up, get in the car, go to work or school or event…get back in the car…and go home.
. Ray Oldenburg PhD. “Life without community has produced, for many, a life style consisting mainly of a home-to-work-and-back-again shuttle
About 25 years ago a guy named Ray Oldenburg came to a realization about the suburbs – this place where we live. Ray, professor and sociologist, became concerned about the loss of community in suburban America.
Saturday, July 14, 2012 Updated 04:00 AM ET