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Gated Communities

08 Oct
Gated Community

Gated Community (Photo credit: Mr. Greenjeans)

Gated communities are nothing new.  Ancient villages built walls, settlers depended on forts, and modern gated communities are designed to create a safe and peaceful place to live.  There’s nothing wrong with that.

But imagine driving to a gated church.  You arrive at the front entrance only to be met by a gate… and a guard.  While you wait for the guard, you notice several cars passing through the gate as they display the appropriate pass.

They probably know somebody.

The guard asks if you know someone who could grant you access.  For the life of you, you cannot come up with a single name.  Sadly, there will be no Church access for you today.

Ridiculous… right?  Surely no church would build in a gated community that denies access to people!

But here’s where we make our mistake.  The Church isn’t a building.  The Church is a people.  And people, even Christian people, are in the gate-building business all the time.  It may not be malicious, and it may not even be conscious, but it happens.

Gates are about access.  When we close or reduce access with certain people, we build a relational gate.  Whether intentional or not, we become gated “communities.”

As Christians, we have access to a vibrant, life-changing community.  We have access to God the Father, through the Son.  We have access to the Holy Spirit to guide, teach, and counsel.  And we have access to fellow Christians who can shoulder our burdens and share our joys.

But I wonder how many people who aren’t in “the club” feel like that person outside the gate? For the life of them, they can’t name a single person that would help them gain access.  Why? Because no Christian has given them that kind of access.  And they may not know THE name that would grant anyone access… the name of Jesus.  Yet all the while, they see others getting “in” to a place they feel they don’t belong, because they figure…

They probably know somebody.

The truth is, Christians do know somebody.  We know Jesus.  We love Jesus.  We have seen the difference that Jesus can make in our lives.

The question is, do we know our neighbors?  Do we love our neighbors enough to be that initial access into our “gated community?”

The tragedy is, we know lots of people who don’t access Jesus.  We work with them… we live next to them… we go to school with them… we sit next to them at our kids’ sporting events.  And if we’re honest, we could probably identify the gates we’ve built, simply by not engaging.  It may not be malicious, and it may not even be conscious… until now.

The challenge is, what do we intend to do about this?  It can be as simple as being accessible, both to neighbor and to Christ.  You don’t have to go far, just look around you today…

You probably know somebody.

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Posted by on October 8, 2012 in Group Discussion

 

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