This past weekend I enjoyed a good bit of time out at Barber Motorsports Park for the annual Indy Race. It is truly one of the most beautiful sporting venues in the country ... I've heard it described as "the Augusta National of Racetracks" (which only makes sense if you're a golf fan). Every year I'm amazed at the number of local B'ham area folks who say it's their first time there and that they didn't really know about it until recently. How can such a world class facility and a world class event like an Indy Car race be kept hidden from the masses? Everyone should know about this place and come out and enjoy it. It's beautiful, has great views of the track/racing, and very family friendly ... and it's in our backyard!!
There are a lot of other so-called "best kept secrets" in our lives. We all know of a restaurant somewhere that we can't believe not everyone knows about. Then there's that special vacation spot that is absolutely amazing yet nobody else seems to be aware of it. And, of course, there's the life-changing "hack" that saves a lot of time and money that nobody seems to know about. These, and many other "best kept secrets" tend to bewilder and confuse us as to why awareness of them is so limited and they're not more popular than they are.
Do you know what is the "best kept secret" in the Moody/Leeds area? Answer = Community Presbyterian Church. This was highlighted once again to me recently by someone who said they pass by the church all the time but didn't know we were here. And I'm not talking about a visitor from Mars ... no, this was from a member of a PCA church, very involved in ministry, even headed to serve on the mission field. Amazingly enough, this is even fairly common from folks who live in Moody. How many of you have had this conversation with a Moody resident?:
You say, "I attend Community Presbyterian Church."
The response: "Really? Now where is that? Is it in Moody?"
How is it that people who live in this community and who drive past CPC a hundred times a month don't know we're here? Granted, we don't have a 50 foot tall inflatable gorilla out by the road that draws people in, we don't have flashing lights on our sign, and we don't even have a guy dressed up like Jesus with a sandwich board out by the street but it still seems like folks should know we're here.
Actually, I think I know the reason we're relatively invisible ... and I bet you know, too. It's because we're just not very intentional, active, and vocal in our love for the bride of Christ. It's because our lifestyles don't truly reflect the radical nature of what it means to follow Jesus Christ and be a part of His family. It's because we often get too closely identified with worldly culture that the distinct culture of the church is essentially lost. Thus, we become somewhat invisible.
Please don't misunderstand, I don't desire for CPC to be the topic of conversation around every water cooler ... I don't intend for us to sport around in our CPC t-shirts to advertise ... I don't want us to be known as some sort of cult-like group that acts weird for the sake of standing out and being different ... I surely don't want CPC to be be self-righteous and think we're God's only true gift to this area. Rather, we must constantly demonstrate humility and grace and keep the focus on Christ rather than ourselves. But we are called to be the church and that actually means something: we are God's people, called to take up our cross and follow Him, called to die to ourselves and live for Christ, called to live "in line with the Gospel" (Gal 2:14), and behave in a certain way because we are "in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth." (1 Tim 3:14).
I share a couple of quotes from a book I recently completed - The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher. It's not an inerrant or infallible source of truth, not even inspired by God, but it does boldly challenge us in some areas where we need to be challenged.
But you cannot give what you do not possess. Too many of our churches function as secular entertainment centers with religious morals slapped on top, when they should be functioning as the living, breathing Body of Christ ... The sad truth is, when the world sees us, it often fails to see anything different from nonbelievers. Christians often talk about "reaching the culture" without realizing that, having no distinct Christian culture of their own, they have been co-opted by the secular culture they wish to evangelize. Without a substantial Christian culture, it's no wonder that our children are forgetting what it means to be a Christian, and no surprise that we are not bringing in new converts." - p.102
A church that looks and talks and sounds just like the world has no reason to exist. - p.121
Let's not allow Community to remain Moody's best kept secret. We have something incredibly important to offer to this area ... the Gospel of Jesus Christ. May we be those who boldly, clearly, lovingly, graciously, passionately, and loudly proclaim it through both word and deed. Let's let our love for Christ, for one another, and for the unbelievers around us be the thing that makes us visible and known in the community. Folks may still drive by and not realize our building is here (and that's okay) ... but may these folks never be unaware of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.