Christians are a peculiar people. God describes us that way in His Word. We are not of this world as He is not of this world (John 17:16). We are “strangers and temporary residents” here (1 Peter 2:11) because “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). We are not supposed to fit in. We are to love and serve the world, but we were not intended to mirror it.
A church is a community of peculiar people, a gathering of the “called out ones.” A church is a holy gathering of people who have been called out of darkness and into his wonderful light, people who no longer really fit in this world.
So church should be a bit strange. What a community of peculiar people believes and holds to will be a bit freakish to the world. Therefore, your church should be seen as a bit odd, freakish, and otherworldly. Here are five peculiar things a church must do:
1. Preach Jesus continually.
Jesus started the Church. We are His and He will preserve us to the end. He is the only way to be reconciled to God, and only He can change the human heart. But preaching Jesus will look increasingly freakish to a world that finds the cross offensive and insists that our insistence that Jesus alone saves is narrow-minded and foolish.
2. Study the same Book over and over again.
This surely sounds strange to the world: “You keep reading, studying, and hearing messages from the same exact book?” Yes, we do. We believe God has self-disclosed Himself to us in His Word. He sustains us and sanctifies us through His Word, so we come back to it over and over again.
3. Ask pastors to train us.
God gives His Church pastors to train the people to serve each other. Someone could say, “Wait, that sounds off. Are you saying we pay pastors to train us to do their jobs?” Yes and no. Yes in that pastors are to train people to do ministry. No in that it is not the pastor’s job to “do ministry.” That responsibility belongs to all believers.
4. Serve the world with no expectations.
When a church serves a community with no strings attached, strange stares and questions will inevitably follow: “Who are you people? Why are you doing this?” We serve because our King first served us. In our kingdom, to be great is to be a servant.
5. Embrace community.
Community that is Christian looks very peculiar to the world. “Why do you people get together with each other, sit in a group, and study an ancient book?” This is odd to a world that values independence and strength because we are admitting our weakness, rejecting attempts to stand on our own, and throwing ourselves into the community of faith for encouragement and support.
If a church loses her peculiar distinction, if she tones down her freakish nature in a world that is not her home, she will simultaneously become powerless with nothing much to offer.