One of the many conferences I wanted to attend this year was Catalyst. Rick McKinley, pastor of Imago Dei in Portland, is one of the speakers I wanted to see. Out of Ur has some thoughts on the "lab" McKinley led at Catalyst...
"As pastors, we are tempted to build the church," [McKinley] said. "So wesend out postcards to targeted Zip codes and we promote church programs." But that misses the point, he argued. "Our job isn’t to build the church. We’re supposed to BE the church, and build the kingdom." He emphasized that the kingdom is to be experienced NOW, on earth, as Christians exemplify godly living, but he also pointed out, as the recent school shootings demonstrate, that the kingdom is also "not yet." God’s kingdom won’t be realized in its fullness as long as such sin characterizes our world.
"The best expression of the church is NOT what happens on Sunday morning. It’s what happens in the world during the week. And that’s not something you can market."
His most provocative statements focused on the Christian’s calling to love their neighbors, even if those neighbors don’t respond to Christ or clean up their act. He told of his church’s messy efforts to love those with addictions, mental illnesses, and other conditions that aren’t easily cleaned up.
"We’re not called to change people’s behavior; we’re called to love them whether they change or not. It’s up to God to change them."