I'm very eager to share another excerpt from "Mega Shift" by James Rutz.
In this section, Rutz discusses the benefit of "the open church":
Take a quick look in your own heart. See any unmet needs there? OK, now see any compassion there for the thousands of folks in your town who are living stunted lives and struggling with problems they just can't handle? Well, then, if you have a Bible, you're probably qualified to go out and draw together a brand new branch of the family of God. May God bless you as you go.
The need is on every corner.
I used to attend a good tranditional church in Newport Beach, California, home of the world's largest small-craft marina. The pastor was Joe Aldrich, a young man wise beyond his years and a veteran of thousands of counseling sessions with the sophisticates of that wealthy city. One morning he was speaking about the desperate needs in the hearts of people everywhere. with a vague wave of his hand toward the million-dollar homes on the nearby hills, he stated quietly, "Knock on any door. It'll bleed"
A good open fellowship can stop the bleeding. If it doesn't, you're in trouble. As a poet said,
So is this not a place where my questions can be asked, then where shall I go to seek?
And if this is not a place where my heart cry can be heard, then where shall I go to speak?...
And if this is not a place where tears are understood, then where shall I go to cry?
And if this is not a place where my spirit can take wing, tell me, where shall I go to fly? (This poem adapted with permission (for Mega Shift) from Gary Smalley and John Trent, The Blessing (Pocket Books), 1990