I come back to this quote from Ray Ortlund often.
It’s simple and clear.
This is what I long for the church to be.
I share it here in it’s entirety so I don’t lose it, so I can keep coming back to it often.
Gospel + Safety + Time = a church where anyone can grow
Gospel + safety + time. It’s what everyone needs. A lot of gospel + a lot of safety + a lot of time.
Gospel: good news for bad people through the finished work of Christ on the cross and the endless power of the Holy Spirit. Multiple exposures. Constant immersion. Wave upon wave of grace and truth, according to the Bible.
Safety: a non-accusing environment. No embarrassing anyone. No manipulation. No oppression. No condescension. But respect and sympathy and understanding, where sinners can confess and unburden their souls. A church environment where no one seeking the Lord has anything to fear.
Time: no pressure. Not even self-imposed pressure. No deadlines on growth. Urgency, but not hurry, because no one changes quickly. A lot of space for complicated people to rethink their lives at a deep level. God is patient.
This is what our churches must be: gentle environments of gospel + safety + time. It’s where we’re finally free to grow.