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The Oxygen Mask Church?

If you have ever flown you know the line in the safety speech “Before assisting anyone else around you, please properly place the oxygen mask over your nose and mouth first”.  (I think they still say this.  I usually have my earbuds in and playing loud music; worship music of course)  Obviously, you can’t help someone else if you are passed out on the floor.  

Like many other speakers, leaders, and consultants, I have used this analogy for many things but specifically as an illustration of what I think the role of the local church is.  I feel it is accurate in so many ways but much may get lost in translation.

I have often used the oxygen mask analogy to illustrate that the local church is there to provide oxygen and strength to its church family so they can be rejuvenated to go out and share the gospel.

My question these days is, “Are people really going out and sharing the gospel?”  I can’t remember the last time I was in line at Chipotle where I actually shared the gospel with someone who has no clue about Jesus and God.  Quite honestly, I don't know many Christians who have that conversation.  

What I do know is that my neighbors do pay attention to how I live my life, the words I choose to use and how well my yard is manicured.  

What if we started using the Oxygen Mask analogy in another way?  What if we started providing oxygen and strength for the people of our churches to go out and serve through other organizations who are being the hands and feet of Jesus?  If we are being honest about our local church, we do not do a great job of being the hands and feet of Jesus.  We talk about it a lot but do we actually do it?

In 1991 there were ~550,000 nonprofits in the US.  In 2002 there were ~1.5 million.  This number includes churches and charitable organizations.  There are a lot of organizations out there besides churches doing the work of Jesus.  Since this massive increase in faith based nonprofits I have noticed some ‘resentment’ toward these organizations from local churches.  It’s almost like they are considered competition to the local church’s missions efforts.  

What if our take on missions in the local church took a radical turn outward?  What if we began to see the non-profits in our community as partners in Christ rather than “the competition”?  What if we began to pour resources into these organizations in our backyard?  Resources like love, encouragement, volunteerism, experience and yes, money.  What if we did WAY more than give money to our mission partners?  What if we truly became partners with them?  

What if I volunteered within one of these organizations and began to tell my neighbors about what my church was doing in the community? Maybe I could tell them while working in the yard and they would get so excited that they started mowing my grass every week?  

Why not consider getting everyone in your church to take their earbuds out and re-consider why we should put on our oxygen mask first?  

Community Intersect is where I am spending a lot of my time these days.  I am convicted that this initiative will provide a transformational platform for local churches to connect with the kingdom minded nonprofits in their communities and truly engage in the work of Jesus!  

Let’s talk if you’d like to learn how your church can intersect with your community and foster genuine engagement between the people of your church and the nonprofits in your community.


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