[box style="rounded"]Downtown proverbs are an inside peek into the life of Downtown Church, our way of being, and the emerging values that inform our culture. We realize them as we go along.[/box]
Downtown Proverb # 6: "NO" is an acceptable response, even at Church.
When you start a new church everyone sees a blank canvas and assumes that they can begin painting. However, there is a big difference between a new church development and a church.
Downtown Church looks like a Church, it acts like a Church, but it is not yet a Church. For evidence, note the plain fact that we do not worship every Sunday. One day soon we will worship every Sunday morning. Until then, every minute that we spend doing something other than work directly related to gathering enough people to sustain the Church once weekly worship begins, is wasted time.
To that end, sometimes we have to say "NO" or "not right now" if someone (even people we like who are passionate, wise, and willing to do all the work) proposes that we do something a real Church would ordinarily do. For example: we haven't done missions work in our community yet. We will one day but if we spent our time on it now it would mean we weren't gathering people. It's a strategic position. We don't apologize for it and actually find comfort in the witness of Jesus who encouraged his followers to be strategic in how they spent their time. Jesus says in Matthew 10:
Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town.