During the break I was confronted by an inconvenient truth – the Church has developed a “fortress mentality”. This mentality has a crippling grip on our church. I googled “fortress” and found the following definition: something impossible to get into, something that is impenetrable or acts as protection, a stronghold and fortification.
So, rather than taking new ground for Christ, we’ve spent our time protecting the ground we have. The reality is that too many Adventists hide themselves inside our churches, hoping the world won’t come in to bother them. The fortress mentality, a prevailing attitude in our Church, is about devoting time and energies to maintaining programs that only serve those within, rather than reaching the lost outside our walls.
The early church didn’t have church buildings. They didn’t have a problem with mixing with their community. They met in homes, and in the temple courtyard, where they could be seen, and they could talk to the people.
As a Seventh-day Adventist, I’ve seen too many who are self- centred and preoccupied with their own pet peeves. They focus on issues like the time of the service, dress code, youth, music, evangelism and debating theology – with very little interest in winning the world for Christ. There is safety and security in this mentality, which is the norm in many churches. The reality is that we’ve become too ingrown, self-serving and selfish, with no desire to follow the Great Commission.
You see, the mentality of the fortress can paralyse and cripple individuals, groups, the pastor, and the church itself. I think it’s clear, if we are going to follow Jesus’ example, we’re going to have to get outside the church and go to where the people are. We’re going to concern ourselves not only with whether or not they’re members of our church but whether or not they have a need that we can fulfil – and by doing so, demonstrate the love of God . . .
South Pacific Record, Editorial, February 5 2011