I got this lovely birdfeeder for Christmas from my aunt. (It was cute, the card said “For: The Birds, From: Aunt Louanne”.) I came home and immediately put the birdfeeder up on a plant hook on my front porch. Then it got me thinking…
The birdfeeder is right in my line of view when I’m sitting in my “green chair”. (My green chair is my cozy spot where I spend time with my Father each morning, where I veg during that afternoon energy dip, where I ponder purpose, meaning of life etc and where I’m often still enough to hear from God.) I see that birdfeeder and it is a stark reminder of the problem that we, most Christians and most churches, don’t even realize we have. See, I hung that birdfeeder up on my front porch in hopes that the birds will come flocking to it and enjoy what I have set out for them. The problem is, in our neighborhood, we have very few trees… no trees = no/few birds! This has been hanging here for close to two weeks, and it doesn’t appear that it has even been touched. The problem isn’t the birdfeeder, it’s where the birdfeeder is located. It’s hung up waiting for the birds to come to it, when maybe the better thing to do is to take the birdfeeder to where the birds ARE! But, the truth is, I want the birds to come here. I would love to watch Robins and Cardinals, Sparrows and Wrens come visit my birdfeeder and watch them from the comfort of my Green Chair as I sip Kenyan coffee with Fat Free Hazelnut creamer. I don’t want to get bundled up, go out in the cold and place the birdfeeder in a tree. It will be cold, misty and probably even muddy in the semi-winter sludge of Ohio. But it’s not about me, is it? It’s about the birds.
We do that with church. We set up church, and hope the birds (people) will come flocking to it, eat and enjoy what we have prepared for them and fly away full and satisfied. We make flyers and do mailings letting people know where the birdfeeder is. We even do, “bring a bird the feeder” Sunday. It’s time to take the birdfeeder (church) TO where the people are. It’s time to get out in the elements, out of our comfort zones, maybe even get muddy and dirty to take the food (Bread of Life) to the birds in their environment, where they are.
Ever since God began burdening us with church-planting, it has been our strong desire to be a church that is OUT more than it is in. I’ll admit, we’ve only scratched the surface this past year and we have a long way to go. God has blessed us with an amazing birdfeeder, and it’s loaded with peanut butter on a pine cone coated with a variety of seeds. Some have even come to this birdfeeder and left full and satisfied. But, that burden to take this birdfeeder out TO the birds hasn’t left me, in fact the flame is being fanned. I find myself thinking how can I/we do more? Where do You want me/us to go? Where are You working that I/we can join You? Show me/us how to be where the people are. Show me/us how to reach out. See, we have so much to offer, to share; the Bread of Life, the Redeemer, the Satisfier, the Healer. Let’s put on our boots and take this Birdfeeder to the birds. Wanna come?