During our SALT (Serving And Leading Together) services, we have begun a discussion about our neighborhood, the Fruitvale Community, the City of Oakland, and the East Bay. It is time for the Patten Community of Faith to begin laying out the principles that are necessary to both continue and extend our influence beyond our campus.
Two imperatives have already been discussed: committing to the LOVE of Christ as our CORE COMPETENCY, and making the GLORIFICATION of Christ our HIGHEST PRIORITY!
The Word of God tells us that when the Apostle Paul went to Athens, “He reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there (Acts 17:17 NIV84).”
As was often his practice, Paul went into the synagogue to reason with those who would have a value for, and understanding of, the Scriptures. First addressing those with a similar culture, familiar values, and a common language to foster communication.
Similarly, the modern Church Gathering, whether in a Cathedral, a tent, or a House, is like the ancient synagogues: an Outpost of Light within the Darkness, a Place of Worship, Learning, and Fellowship. The ministry in the “synagogue” is valuable, and it is likely the most productive place to start reaching a city or region.
However, the Church was never intended to be an isolated castle hidden behind moats and barriers. The Life of the Church and its Ministry is not simply somewhere we go, but it is something we are to BRING into the marketplace of our lives and community. We must embrace the Ministry within our “synagogue,” or “campus,” our “Faith Community;” but we must also take the NEXT step and as the Apostle Paul demonstrated, we must make it a point to step out of the comfortable surroundings of our “synagogue” and daily enter the marketplace to reach those who would not have had a value in, or reference to, the Messiah of Israel.
The Secular Community has deemed Christianity to be irrelevant, and even further it is no longer neutral regarding our Faith, it is openly opposing it. We must intentionally get “back into the marketplace day by day (Acts 17:17 NIV84).”
Dr. Tobey Montgomery