Friday, 8 May 2009

doors or windows?

This is the cross which has been erected in the Colosseum and because of its context, therefore, is a powerful image. When isn’t the cross a powerful image though – in whatever context? One of the things I want to play with a little more with is an idea Johannes Reimer threw out when talking about how, as congregations, we plan to act on some of our ideas to reach people in Jesus’ name.

He said: ‘use the door to enter, never the window.’

Spelling this out a bit more, he explained how we so easily invite people to look in our window, which he stated was often our way of saying ‘we have the best living room’ – come and see how good it is, how much you’d like to live within it, ours is better than yours, etc.

On the other hand, we can use the door – Johannes said every culture has legitimate doors through which you can enter. It’s important we don’t try to cheat people into Christianity, we must use the good, ask them the questions, open doors open discussions and then open hearts.

Of course, this can easily sound like a nice little play on words, but when you’re listening to someone who was imprisoned for ten years in a concentrate camp under the Soviet Communists, and has been engaged with planting 18 church plants alongside teaching missiology (‘I don’t think you can teach mission theoretically, cos then you teach baloney’) you actually do get the idea he knows practically what he’s talking about. This guy also speaks eight languages so using a word like baloney is not bad either. He shared a fair bit about the church he planted 9 years ago in rural Germany where he’s now based. It’s in  a village and has gone from 5 to 200 members with another 200 attenders on and off in 9 years. Now, I know a little about the German scene having been with the German Baptist mission Network last year so I know that hasn’t happened very often to say the least.

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