Jesus in the Margins

Jesus in the Margins

Who are in the Margins? Who are the marginalized? They are the neglected or ignored. They are the stranger, the immigrant, the homeless and the poor.

Join us this month as we kick off a new series, “Jesus in the Margins,” about how  Jesus invites us to care about the marginalized. We will push into deeper understanding and application of this side of Jesus’ nature. We have already had a small taste of this. Just a week ago, a group from Outpour took a first step toward connecting with the homeless community in St Louis, through a partnership with New Life Evangelical Center. Here is what Esther, a medical student at Outpour, wrote about her experience:

What I saw was astounding.  Not only did we see individuals sleeping on the side of the street, but we also found “hidden” homeless communities with makeshift tents and tarps put together under freeways and in unheated old buildings.  I have seen a lot of poverty in other countries, but it was something entirely different to see it in my own city, only a 10 minute drive from the warm, dry home in which I live.

This is only a first step for us, but taking the time to physically visit the forgotten places of our city is already changing us, because Jesus is waiting for us there. He meets us as we connect with the marginalized, in fact He counts our care for them as service to Himself:

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Matthew 25:35-40

While many look to the mainstream, Jesus leads us to the marginalized; He specifically emphasized that we not ignore those in the margins. While many seek the powerful and the affluent, Jesus leads us to the voiceless and the poor, to the distant and diverse, to the lost and the misfits.  We find Jesus in the Margins.

Why follow Jesus to the Margins? How do we go there together? What can we expect to experience? Come walk with us for the next few weeks as we venture farther into to the Margins together.

Obsession With Preaching

Cris PreachingJust yesterday, I had a lively debate with another pastor about preaching. He was excited about my vision to plant a church that empowers lay people to minister but balked when I told him that I have lay people preaching as much as I do on any given Sunday. His argument was that the pulpit is the primary place where a pastor asserts his vision and authority and to give that up is to forfeit leadership.

Although I acknowledge preaching can be a powerful and effective way to teach the masses, it did not seem to be Jesus’ primary way of teaching. In fact, there could be a good case made that Jesus was trying to find only the most interested by intentionally speaking obscurely with parables. Only those that came and asked for an explanation were given “the secret of the Kingdom of God.” (Mark 4:11) Many of these became disciples.

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