I recently saw a comment from an old friend who is a pastor in another denomination that got me thinking about church doors. Back where I grew up in the South, the doors of a church were large, sometimes ornate objects located on the front of the building. They drew your eye and your attention. Many of the Baptist and Methodist church buildings were brick, with large white columns on the front and a gleaming white steeple towering over the entrance. Older, mainline denominations’ church buildings may have lacked some of these features, but what they shared in common were those large doors. You can see this on many of the older churches here around Battle Creek.
As I was thinking about what those large doors communicated, three things came to mind. First, there is a welcoming aspect to large doors, and this should be the message that the Church ought to be communicating to this world. When we present the Gospel to the world, we should do so in a manner that is winsome and inviting. Jesus taught His disciples this in the Parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14:16-24). In that story, a king was hosting a great banquet, but those whom had received the initial invitation all made excuses for why they could not come. The king then told his servant to go out into the streets of the city, as well as the highways and hedges of the country, in order to compel the poor and disabled to come. Just as the doors of the banquet hall would have been large and open for those people to come in, so too should the doors of the Church be open to those who are in desperate need of what only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can provide.
Second, and closely related to the first, the large doors remind us that there is ministry for those in need inside the church. Who is in need of this ministry? Everyone! Whether you are a seasoned, mature believer who has been growing in faith and sanctification for decades or you are a brand new believer who is still learning the basics of the faith, there is ministry for you in Christ’s Church. In the Church are believers with diverse spiritual gifts, using them to serve their Lord by serving one another. A sweet fellowship exists within the Church for those who belong to the body of Christ, something that is completely unlike anything the world has to offer (and the world certainly tries to offer many counterfeits of this fellowship in order to draw God’s people away from the Church!). And there is the teaching and proclamation of the Word in the Church, taking place in different contexts (small groups, preaching, etc.) and on different levels (for young and old alike). No matter where you are in your walk with Christ, you need the ministry of the Church – both serving and receiving!
The last thing I want to share with you about church doors is that they are also exits. While the ministry that takes place in churches is vitally important in the life of the people of God, the intention was never for us to remain within those four walls exclusively. We who have been transformed by the Gospel have been called to be on mission, and that requires us to be in the world. Every Sunday morning, as I give the benediction for our worship service, I remind you that the things we have learned by studying God’s Word is for the purpose of better equipping the people of God to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in the mission fields to which we have been called. Every believer is to be on mission, proclaiming the Gospel in their context. As we walk in through those big, welcoming, ministering doors, we should be coming in to be refreshed, encouraged, and equipped to go back out into the mission field! This week, I hope you see those church doors from a new perspective. Just something to think about…