Forward Today: Church Should Come with a Warning

In this week’s edition of our weekly newsletter, Scott Gunn writes that “bold risks and brave actions are the stuff of the Gospel,” and asks: “What are you afraid of?”

Dear friends in Christ,

I’m in New York, NY for a series of meetings. The good folks at St. Bart’s Church were kind enough to let us use some space for one of our meetings, and we wandered through their beautiful church a bit before the meeting. It so happens that some work is happening on their massive pipe organ, and so some caution tape was up.

I snapped a photo, and I posted it on social media with this caption: “Spotted at an NYC church today. Every church should require a danger sign, for the Gospel is not meant to be comfortable!” It got a pretty big response. I think people picked up on the fact that it’s not what we expect to see in churches, but it’s something we should see more of.
You see, the Gospel is dangerous. There’s nothing whatsoever that’s safe about being a disciple of Jesus in this earthly life. There’s a reason Jesus and others in the scriptures are always saying, “Be not afraid!” We are meant to be secure in God’s love for us, but we are also meant to be out in the world sharing God’s love in extravagant, even dangerous, ways.
My friend who serves as a priest in Europe said this the day after a Catholic priest was murdered during mass in his own church, “Today we open wide the doors of our church, because that is what we do.” She has it right. Christians who serve as missionaries in dangerous places have it right. Congregations who care more about mission than maintenance have it right. Leaders who welcome change instead of clinging to the status quo have it right. Bold risks and brave actions are the stuff of the Gospel. Safety and comfort are not.
What are you afraid of? What is keeping you from proclaiming God’s kingdom and boldly sharing Christ’s love?
Be not afraid! It’s easier said than done. But by God’s grace, we can be people in whom perfect love has cast out fear.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

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