Open-Handed Part 1 - Big or Small "C?"

One of the unique things I love about the church where I serve is its "open-handedness." It's one of our core values that we talk the most about, and also one of the things that makes McKinney a unique church.

This week, I want to unpack just a little of what it means to be an open-handed church. Hopefully it will be a reminder for those of you who attend McKinney, and a thought-provoker for those of you who found this blog somewhere else.

Perhaps the foundational thing that makes a church "open-handed" is a commitment to Church (with a big "C") above a commitment to church (with a little "c").

In a lot of churches, you get the feeling that if a particular ministry doesn't happen as a function of that church, it is as if it didn't happen at all. If college students don't choose to attend a particular church's college ministry over and above another campus ministry, they aren't seen as serious about their faith. If another church does a specific program, some churches either try to re-create it and re-brand it, or take pot-shots at it.

Open-handed churches want to be the first to recognize that they don't have the corner on the God market in their particular town. Rather than evangelize people to their church they evangelize people to their Savior. They are more serious about expanding the Church than their church.

I'm not talking about ecumenism, where we celebrate ministries that have abandoned essential doctrines of the faith. I am talking about looking for ways to value ministries that are preaching the same salvation in the name of the same Jesus from the same Bible whether or not those ministries were your idea or share your same budget.

Throughout the New Testament, the primary focus is on Christ building His Church, not us building our churches. I'll talk more about what open-handedness looks like throughout the week which may clarify this distinction even more, but I'm interested in your feedback today: Would you say your church is "open-handed" based on this part of the definition? Why or why not?


elenburg said...

I've always thought of the small "c" as being the invisible church universal and big "C" as being a particular church or denom. I think of proper nouns, a specific person/place/thing, as being the one that gets the capital letter. Interesting how you see it the other way. Still, I get your point and agree.

Chris Freeland said...

That's interesting. I think of "church" and "Church" in the same way I think of "truth" and "Truth."

Not sure which one is technically right.