Our family recent took a long road trip. A few hours in, our 2 year old wanted to know when we could stop to get something to eat. We were coming up on Columbus, Ohio, so we told her that once we got through the city, we would stop for “num nums.” As we approached the city, Emily described what a city would look like so our daughter could know when we were close.
As we were driving through Columbus, I had the following conversation with Tessa,
Me: “Do you see the city?”
Me: “What does it look like?”
Tessa: “A church”
Wow. What a profound statement. The city looks like a church. And this from a 2 year old! Of course, she didn’t really know or understand the implications of what she was saying, but that’s beside the point. When she made that statement, my mind erupted with comparisons between the church and the city. I’ll share 3.
The city is a marketplace of ideas.
Maybe they are good ideas and maybe they are bad, but the city has always been a marketplace of ideas. It was this context that Paul entered in Acts 17. In such an environment, you must determine whether or not an idea is true. It was the Berean church that was highly praised for their close examination of Paul’s words to be sure of their truth. As new ideas are discussed in your church, is there an eager search to determine whether or not they are true?
The city is diverse.
Cities are not only diverse, they are known for their diversity. There simply are not “cookie cutter” molds for the people you’ll find in the city like there are for people you’ll find in more rural areas. A church’s racial, socioeconomic, and political diversity are, in many ways, correlated to its geographic location. However, regardless of location, every church has great diversity in gifts and serving skills. Does your church celebrate the diversity within your body?
The city is a hotbed for creating culture.
Is the city imitating the church in this respect? 500 years ago or so the answer would have been yes. Today? Not so much (although there does appear to be a resurgence coming about). Armed with the most inspiring truth that will ever exist, should we not be leading the charge in producing first rate culture?
The city is a marketplace of ideas, diverse, and a hotbed for creating culture. Does it look like the church? It should.