Of course, the immediate answer is yes. But, I am asking the same question I asked about a year and a half ago in this post: http://www.downshoredrift.com/downshoredrift/2009/07/can-the-christian-church-help-montgomery-alabama.html.
Not much has changed in Montgomery in a year and a half except that more people have moved to bedroom communities and more Christians have congregated in megachurches. It will be interesting to see what the new census numbers reveal about regional migration. White flight and middle class flight continue to take hold in Montgomery and Christians continue to run away to nice, safe, secure environments. I really wonder about this. Jesus didn't run away to environs that were safe for Him. He ran straight into a deadly situation out of love for us. Yet, we continue to run away from problems in our community and make decisions based on "what's best for us and our family." Is that a Christian response to the problems in our neighborhoods, our schools, and our community? If there is crime in a neighborhood, where is the church? Can't we run in and address it? If there is family breakdown, fatherlessness, and hopelessness, shouldn't the church be there?
Anyway, read the post above, if you like. It was written last year, but is still pertinent for today. I think that the days are urgent and we have a generation that will be lost if we don't engage them with the gospel. If the church does have a future, it will be a future of missional engagement instead of entrenchment for our own safety and security.
In a follow up post on White Flight/Middle Class Flight, I said this: "we should not just cede other people to the enemy without collective engagement." It is hard to take the gospel to people who are set against it. It requires sacrifice – maybe even our lives. But, isn't that what we're called to? Where does the church call for that? Scripture does – but, do we?
Alan Hirsch has a great message on the need for the church to be a community of missional engagement with the powers of darkness. I posted it on Facebook the other day. Check it out: