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Erik Cooper —  February 23, 2009 — Leave a comment

I’m a little nervous…ok a lot…

A little more than 5 days from now I will be officially co-leading a brand new church plant in downtown IndianapolisCity Community Church will emerge from years of passing conversation and speculative daydreams to a real live movement of people ready to invest their lives in the city of Indianapolis.  But what’s an inarguable church “insider” (I still regularly have to deny the rumor I was born in the church’s baptismal tank) doing co-leading a church with one of its stated purposes being to make Christ accessible to the church “outsider?” Honestly, some days I wonder myself.

But then I re-read Ephesians 3…

“When it came to presenting the Message to people who had no background in God’s way, I was the least qualified of any of the available Christians.” (Eph. 3:7 MSG)

And I got to thinking…of all the people God could’ve picked to connect with the “outsiders,” why did He choose the Apostle Paul?  In case you don’t know his history, the guy responsible for writing 2/3 of the New Testament was as “insider” as they come.  Trained under scrupulous Jewish law, Paul was the ultimate by-the-book, follow-the-rules, criticize-those-who-don’t-see-things-the-same-way, sit-on-your-high-horse-and-condemn-the-heathen kinda guy.  He was an insider’s insider.  Did God post this application to the wrong Facebook account?

Why didn’t God choose Peter for this gig?  I mean really, the disciple Peter was the obvious choice.  Peter was a quick to speak, rough around the edges “every man” who half the public probably thought just came from a bar fight.  Wouldn’t he have better fit the role of taking the Message to those who had no background in God’s ways?  Maybe not…

As soon as we think we understand God’s template He always changes the rules, and usually blows our feeble minds.  I’m not ready for this gig.  I’m unqualified.  And that may just make me (or you) a great candidate.  I guess we’ll see.

As we worked today on populating the soon-to-be-launched second tier of, I thought it might be good to spend a few posts explaining in more detail the values that are driving the planting of this church.

Number one for us is practicality.  We’ve coined the term “making Christ accessible to humanity.”  But what does that really mean?  Unfortunately, knowingly or unknowingly, I think a lot of churches today make it difficult for actual, normal people to see the reality of God through the lens of their own lives. 

As my buddy Nathan says…when Jesus died on the cross the curtain in the temple was ripped in two, representing the breaking of the barrier between God and man.  Why do so many Christians seem to be trying to sew it back up?

Our desire is to do everything humanly possible to present the truth of God in a way that everyone can understand and connect with.  When Jesus spoke to the crowds on the hillsides, he used stories and illustrations that spoke new life in terms familiar and easily understandable to all who heard. 

He was practial.  He was accessible.  We want to be, too.