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Are You A #BigTentChristian?

I am sometimes asked how widely diverse we are aiming for our membership to be. My answer will always be, “As wide and deep as we can be.”  To not open our doors to the vast variety of the different “streams” of belief and practice is short sighted and damaging to the overall health and…

Nov 2, 2017

Douglas Leslie

I am sometimes asked how widely diverse we are aiming for our membership to be. My answer will always be, “As wide and deep as we can be.”  To not open our doors to the vast variety of the different “streams” of belief and practice is short sighted and damaging to the overall health and influence of God’s church.

This mindset that asks the question in the first place, with an underlying concern of who may be considered “IN”, might just be one of the greatest hindrances to influential growth of the church in western society.  I, get it. We are attracted to, and most comfortable with, our own tribe. But, tribalism, whether in the wine skins of denominations or networks or partnerships, can and often does, stunt the movement of outreach focused activities in our communities. We fill our time with retweeting, and reposting material and statements from only those with whom we agree – “our tribe”. And although it is normal human behavior, it is dangerous.

It is dangerous because we never allow ourselves to get to the deep issues of disagreement that keeps God-loving, but differing, viewpoints from interacting for the sake of the Gospel. We are more concerned about being offended, than seeking common ground in the midst of the disagreement. And that common ground is a fight worth waging for the sake of God’s Kingdom the lost who, whether we like it or not, are looking on only to walk away shaking their heads in disappointment.

Christian leaders, “Knock it off!” Christianity is a big tent. All are welcome!

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Douglas Leslie

Douglas Leslie serves as the Founder and President of the Association of Christian Nonprofits, a nationwide membership organization focused on coming alongside local churches and faith-based ministries. In 2001 Doug left the corporate world, moving his family to Phoenix to serve as the Director of Operations for an international missions organization and later as the Executive Director of a grant-making public charity focused on skill training among the world’s poorest peoples. As a former pastor, Doug has a deep love for the local church, believing the church is God’s primary strategy for reaching their local communities and the world’s remaining unreached peoples. Doug lives with his wife and four children in the greater Phoenix area.

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