At Grace Hills, we will do whatever it takes, short of sin, to find people far from God and lead them to life in Jesus. That’s one of our core values, and it’s the one that probably creates the most tension for Christians. It’s a value that is drawn straight from Scripture:
I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do this all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
– 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (NIV)
Paul was writing about his willingness to adapt his personal communication style to that of his hearer, whether Jew or Gentile. Whenever I hear someone say, “we shouldn’t try to be like the world just to reach the world,” I realize I’m probably up against someone who doesn’t like the pain of change or the awkwardness of adapting to the culture. It’s not that I disagree. We really shouldn’t have a theology or philosophy of life like those who haven’t submitted themselves to the God of the Bible. But usually when Christians talk about being “like the world,” they’re talking about non-biblical issues like the way we dress, our style of music, and whether we have tattoos or not.
So let me clarify what I mean when I say “whatever it takes, short of sin…”
- I mean we will communicate to the culture in its own language, defining our distinctively Christian terms.
- I mean we will share the gospel through the style of music people listen to.
- I mean we will remove the awkwardness of walking into a group of strangers.
- I mean we will address the struggles that people have, the questions they are asking, and the issues they are wrestling with.
- I mean we will spend time with people who have time-consuming problems and brokenness from their past.
- I mean we will host events to build a friendship with the community and ask nothing in return.
- I mean we will love and serve people around us whether or not they ever become a part of our church.
- I mean we will devote resources to missions locally and internationally to find the lost.
- I mean we will care more about being respected and listened to by outsiders than being liked by other church leaders.
- I mean we will speak the truth in love and trust God to heal and change people from the inside out.
- I mean we will always make room for someone else to sit at our table (or in our theater).
- I mean we will go all-out when it comes to kids ministry to serve and help parents.
- I mean we will try things and fail rather than trying nothing to protect our false image of “success.”
That’s what I mean. Or to put it another way…
We will do whatever it takes… (all possible options are on the table)
Anything short of sin… (we do have parameters, but only where the Bible clearly gives them to us)
Anything short of sin to find people… (rather than expecting them to find us)
People who are far from God… (so we don’t expect them to look or act like us)
And lead them to life in Jesus. (the One and Only Savior)
That’s our mission, and it will be fulfilled by people who are willing to leave the comfort zone of their safe, religious bubble to invade the darkness with light.