It has been a year since my family and I came up to Kansas City to check out the community and work that Midtown Community Church was involved in. We had come to the place at our church in Tulsa where we felt like it might be time to move on.
Funny thing is – we never even wanted to move back to KC. I actually had told a church member weeks before we came up to KC that nothing in me wanted to move back to KC. And now here we are back in KC doing ministry and loving it. It is kind of like the young person who tells God that He can send her anywhere except for Africa, and sure enough, she ends up in Africa.
But I digress. I grew up reading the Bible. After I had grown up I continued to read the Bible. And still to this day I read the Bible. And in the course of me reading the Bible I read all the stories about Jesus interacting and hanging out with people who needed Him and weren’t what you would call your typical “church goer.”
I read about how He interacted with these people who were not His followers; how He had meals with them; healed them; spoke to them; gave them dignity. He actually spent quite a bit of time with those who we might call “lost” today. He actually sought them out – e.g. the woman at the well, Peter the disciple’s restoration, the little children, and Zacchaeus.
But for some reason when I was growing up – what seemed to be modeled for me by the traditional church was that we only need to make friends with those who like us – i.e. other christians; or maybe even go as far as to make friends with those who aren’t necessarily like us, but are more than willing to start living like us.
Over time I began to know in my mind that wasn’t right. It wasn’t logical. It didn’t seem legit when I looked at what people did in scripture. Dan Kimball says that when someone becomes a christian they have lots of non-christian friends, but as time goes on the number of their non-christian friends seems to drop off until they are barely any. That type of life really makes living out the Great Commission (“to make disciples”) pretty difficult if you ask me.
I am thankful for the gospel and the grace of Jesus because a year after we have been here I have way more un-saved/non-christian/not-yet-believing friends than I ever have before in my life. In fact I simply know more people outside of the church now than I ever have before. And I think that is a really good thing! And I’m doing my best having Jesus help me out to make them some of His disciples. I hope they make the jump someday.
The gospel has worked on me a lot to change my mindset to being one that wants to be friends and spend time with not yet believing people. The past year has been good.