Smash Your Tank (and just keep swimming…)

A long-suffering reader of ‘tween2worlds sent me an article that I found encouraging. But among the comments I read the following, which I found challenging.

A pastor friend of mine keeps a large mouth bass in an aquarium in his office. The fish is probably over 10 years old, but is only about 4 inches long. A large mouth bass in the wild can reach 2 feet in length, and occasionally longer. The point is that a fish will only grow as big as its surroundings allow…

…A healthy church must be ever-expanding, ever-reproducing. If it is not engaged in changing the world, but remains content in entertaining and edifying itself, it can never expect its congregation to live by faith, when reminiscing about history is all they know church to be.Let Me Out

We have this mentality that what we really need is a bigger tank, when in reality what we really need is to smash the tanks and allow the rivers of living water to pour out into the seas of humanity. It’s only there that faith will begin to grow.

~Webb Kline

I like to think that doing things in homes and other small locations is the antidote to the problem that Kline is addressing. The fact is, small groups can be just as self-satisfied and insular. They may not be expending (or expanding) lot’s of money and time on salaries and property, but that doesn’t mean they are redirecting their resources toward the communities that they want to win.

We simple churches may not need to smash our tanks, but we could stand to take advantage of our mobility and swim out to meet the community. I think that’s what it means to live between the worlds, to discover practical ways to live out our Kingdom mandate right in the middle of our neighborhoods.

In Jesus, God’s love for the world worked itself out in some practical ways:

  • He loved the sick
  • He ministered to the dead and dying.
  • He fed the hungry.
  • He demonstrated love for children.
  • He taught the simple and encouraged the feeble.

He did all of those things, and more, right in the midst of communities. Since we house churches are free of the obligations of many of our bigger sister churches, we have awesome opportunities to love in those same ways. We may not be able to feed five thousand or raise the dead, but just because we can’t do what seems impossible to us doesn’t give us the excuse to not do what’s possible. But that means we have to break out of our living rooms. To quote a famous fish:

Dory. Just Keep SwimmingJust keep swimming
Just keep swimming
Just keep swimming swimming swimming
What do we do we swim, swim, swim
OH HO HO How I love to swim
When you WAAAAAANNTTT to swim you want to swim!

~Dory, Finding Nemo

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