Beyond the Hallowed Walls

By Apostle Michael E. Goings, Senior Pastor
Outreach Family Fellowship

Dillon/Florence, South Carolina
“Where Christianity is practiced, it automatically changes the culture.” (Chuck Colson)
Perhaps everyone needs some time of relaxing or lounging when they have nothing to do, but what they want to do (as long as it is not illegal, immoral, or intrudes upon the privacy and right of others).  On this particular morning (the day of this writing), I fully intended to do just that.  My first aim was to read the newspaper, which is a part of my daily routine.  An article caught my attention that compelled me to seriously thinking.  The writer, being a Christian, made an emphasis in his piece about the need for Christians to become more practical and  “out of the box” in their commitment and faith.  In essence, his argument was about us failing as believers when we are away from the church.  It was about our failing to put into practice what we hear during Sunday morning worship services on Mondays through Saturdays.  Frankly speaking, it hit the bull’s eye of my conviction and caused me to take immediate inventory of myself.  A few minutes after I had read the persuasive points that were contained in the newspaper article, I received a phone call from one of my elders, who is a man of conviction and repute.  He wanted to tell me that he and a few of the other members of our congregation were going out to share their testimonies with people in a community that was an hour away.  They felt impressed to take what I had been sharing “out of the religious box” to people where it was needed.  This immediate witness to what I had just read in the newspaper article was beyond astounding; it was miraculous and mandatory!  A sense of urgency came upon me and I knew I had to find a way to put this experience in writing so that others who believe as I believe might also feel convicted and compelled to make a difference and to make an impact on their families, on their jobs, and in their neighborhoods.  Something had been awakened and stirred in me.  Undoubtedly, it was there all the time.  I had briefly, inconclusively, and obviously ineffectively touched on the matters for some time with my congregation.  I had told them repeatedly that we have the anecdote to what ails the world and that we can make a difference if we would truly follow the teaching of Jesus.  I had been sincere in my teaching, but something always seems to have been missing.  That something that would not only compel, but also encourage others and me to become more practical and “out of the box” in our conviction and faith.  However, on this particular morning, it hit me.  Eureka! I had found it, or perhaps to be more precise, it had found me.  The answer to why the answers that we claim to have and hear in our sacred gatherings for the ills of the world every Sunday morning is simply not being disseminated and shared beyond the hallowed walls of our cathedrals, edifices, and sanctuaries.  Are we a part of the problem?  Are we a silent majority, salt that has lost its flavor and strength?  Have we allowed the light of our moral influence to be blanketed by apathy, fears, sectarianism, racism, hypocrisy, or worse?  Perhaps our greatest obstacle as followers of Christ is unbelief.  Is it possible that we (far too many of us) who attend church on Sunday mornings with regularity and those of us who serve as preachers, Sunday school teachers, deacons, and trustees in God’s house are really not believers ourselves?  Could it be that we are religious and “churchy” without any conviction and application to what we are hearing and even teaching and perhaps preaching ourselves?  Perhaps this explains why the world feels that the church in America, in South Carolina, as well as in Dillon County, no longer has relevance.  Although we know that Jesus is indeed the answer for all the evils that plagues the world, we have failed to convince others that Christianity works.  This fact has been settled by history, prophecy, and the profound impact that Christianity has had on the world since it was introduced over two thousand years ago.  However, that means nothing to those who are in the darkness, those who God the Father sent His Son into the world to save if we who are called to represent Him are not true to that calling.  Regrettably, we are the primary hindrances to the greatest message the world has ever heard.  When we fail to practice on Monday through Saturday what we heard during worship time on Sunday, it gives the devil more delight and satisfaction than all of the evil ways of all of the unbelievers in the entire world.  The wickedness of ungodly men, regardless how insidious it might be, can not begin to match the debilitating effect that those who claim to be Christians do through their hypocrisy.  To paraphrase the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Oh, that Christians were more like Christ.”  I believe that we have the answer, the antidote for the ills and evils of the entire world.  Our problem does not lie in the absence of not having a solution or a cure for what plagues our communities, schools, families, or counties.  Our problem resides in our failure, refusal, and lack of conviction to take it “out of the box”.  For too long have we kept the healing vaccine of our testimonies confined behind the hallowed walls.  It is time that we become syringes in the hands of the Great Physician, instruments that He can use to heal our land. It is time that we who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ to let our profession become our commitment and practice.  It does not matter what our occupation, socio-economic status, education, or race might be.  Our call to be Christians, to reflect and represent our Master, must be the dominant and driving influence in every aspect of our lives.  Literally, if we are doctors, lawyers, teachers, or business employers and employees, our Christian convictions must be incorporated in all of these secular jobs.  We must accept the charge and challenge to take what we have been hearing during Sunday morning worship time “out of the box” into our homes, communities, schools, jobs, and beyond.  If what we are getting during our time of assembly is truly inspired of God, we are commanded to go beyond the hallowed walls and to share it with others who are lost and living in bondage and darkness.  As these words of our Master attest to:  “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)