bits from bob....

Is the Church "Playing Small?"

by Robert J. Young
Main and Oklahoma Church, McAlester, Oklahoma
June 23, 2002
©, 2002, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

William Raspberry, columnist and commentator on life, wrote that when the church fails to offer spiritual help, it is "playing away from its strength." From his own experience, he compares the misdirected church to the basketball center who keeps trying long three-pointers, or when under the basket attempts to dribble or bring the ball down before taking the shot. Coaches call the tall player who wastes a height advantage "a big man playing small."

I fear the contemporary church is "playing small." A professor spent a weekend on the streets of a large city, pretending to be homeless. He reported that shelters offered food and drink, but that none, even those sponsored by churches, offered spiritual counsel. The church that is focused solely on meeting physical needs is playing small. The church that fails to share the life-transforming message of salvation God has entrusted to it is playing small. The mission effort that seeks only humanitarian service while ignoring the spiritual needs of our world is playing small. Benevolence and generosity are indeed Christ-like traits, but failure to point others to the answer for the deepest needs of life, failure to mention Jesus Christ, is playing small.

The strength of the church is the gospel. To focus elsewhere to the exclusion of the gospel is "playing away from our strength." How many of our efforts are doing what any unbeliever could do? When salt is not salty, and light does not illuminate, the church is playing small.

Good deeds cannot substitute for good news!

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Last updated June 9, 2002.