This last installment in my series Changing the Way We Do Church 7 has been a long time coming. That's not because I didn't know what to write. It's just that I have been up to a lot of other things and one of them is more involvement with my local church, Allegheny Center Alliance Church, on the North Side of Pittsburgh. As I wrote this series, I realized that I needed to be more closely aligned with a local body so that I was not just theorizing, griping or fantasizing, but actually contributing to the solution in an active way.
The seventh and last step in the Changing process would be to address and meet the needs of women, ethnic minorities, and children around the world.
A number of years ago, I watched a Sixty Minutes segment on the Taliban and they had done to women in Afghanistan and I cried. I said to the Lord that I would go there if He wanted me to. Lo and behold, I was invited there after the Taliban were ousted and I saw for myself the suffering that war imposes on women and children. Over the years, I have seen the same dynamic in Africa and in some parts of Asia. What's more, I still behold the problem in my own nation.
Jesus was the friend of women, which was a revolutionary concept in Judaism. He and the disciples had a team of women traveling with them (see Luke 8:1-3). Jesus allowed women to appropriately touch Him and they were healed; He did not rebuke them for doing so. Children also had easy access to Jesus, even though the disciples, His ushers, tried to keep the children away.
If Jesus was a magnet for women and children, and Jesus is present in His body, the church, then doesn't it stand to reason that women and children, the neediest groups due to male mismanagement and irresponsibility, should also flock to the Church? What's more, should not the Church proactively address the needs of these two important groups.
I also mention ethnic groups because the church should always be a place where people who don't look like one another gather. That's why I don't care for churches that have all or only one group, whether they be all Chinese, Korean, Messianic believers, Africans or African-Americans. Church should look like heaven is going to look and that is best described in Revelation 7:9:
The Sophia Fund is my simple attempt to personally do something to address this seventh step. I am raising money and awareness of hungry orphans and widows in Africa. Too often I have not done anything because I could not do it in a big way. I have not given $10 because it wasn't $100. I would not help five orphans because it seemed so small and insignificant. I am addressing that wrong thinking and I believe churches have that problem, too. We will pay the electric company whatever they say we owe them, but won't sometimes spend $100 on the poor or widows. That has to change.
There you have my seven steps to changing the way we do church. Feel free to write me your comments, even if you disagree. Let me hear from you as to what changes you think need to take place for the Body to be a place of mission and purpose and not just a place of assembly once or twice a week.