The church is supposed to leak

Published 10:25 am Monday, January 23, 2017

by Nathan Decker

Oh, no” was all I could say. After the snow, after the storm, after the ice, and after the melt — that’s when you find what you don’t want to see. In churches, it’s usually noticed because the nice white ceiling tiles have now turned ugly brown muck color. The proverbial writing was not on the wall, but on the ceiling. We have a leak. 

Every church I have ever attended or been the pastor of has had leaks. It seems God ordained that the roof of a church flaps in the wind, loses shingles or simply won’t seal correctly. While this causes consternation and fits of gnashing of teeth for the buildings and grounds chair, I think these problems with our facilities teach us, the church, a lesson. The church is not the building but the people. And the church is supposed to leak.

We are called to flap in the wind of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost was a movement, not a stagnant breeze. Too many times Christ’s disciples have entrenched themselves into dead traditions and corpse programs that cannot experience resurrection. This lack of movement and worship of power causes us to have more in common with the Pharisees that rejected Jesus’ radical spiritual revolution. God was first worshipped in a tent — on the move. Jesus didn’t stay in one place very long — on the move. We the church are called to be a place of movement from where we are to where we could and should be in the Kingdom.

We are called to let go of things and people that are no longer functioning with the Kingdom mindset. Shingles that fall off do so because the fasteners that held them there are no longer working. If someone wants to leave your church — let them. It may be a blessing. Losing someone because they want to leave is different than losing someone who got hurt, pushed out or moved away. If someone suggests that a ministry you are doing may not be effective anymore — don’t shoot the messenger.  Discern in prayer. It may be God is speaking through this minority report. Caleb and Joshua had to do this long ago to convince the Hebrews the land of milk and honey was indeed the promised land for their taking. 

Finally, followers of Jesus Christ don’t seal well. We don’t build walls. We have difficulty locking doors. The idea of not have an extra place at the table for strangers is appalling to us. We allow the ugly and dirty water of the world’s culture to come inside so that we can offer hospitality and share Gospel. We leak. We leak love, charity, mercy. We leak calls for justice, integration, and grace. We leak Jesus all over the place because we are church. So leak today. Let go, flap in the wind and remove the barriers that are keeping you from sharing grace. After all, it’s what Jesus would do. 

NATHAN DECKER is the pastor of High Street United Methodist Church. Contact him at 562-3367.