Today there is a problem in churches in America. It seems we have separated ourselves from the ministry that is all around us. Once in Georgia, I knew a church that found itself with declining membership who’s demographic was becoming one-sided. That means that those who were members were either retirement aged or closing in on retirement. There were no young families, no children except for the occasional grandchild that was brought in for VBS or some emphasis that the church had always participated. They were laden with programs, but no participants. They were full of tradition, but there were no trademarks of faith. They had plenty of longing, but no learning. They were stuck in an area of town in decline with poverty all around. Being a church of mainly white people, those in the neighborhoods around them were mostly black or Hispanic. Crime was a major component of the area where the church was located along with rampant gang activity. What were they to do to revitalize their church and meet the problems that plagued them?They held meetings and decided that drastic action was needed. They relocated to another part of town. They found a location on the freeway and found what they were looking for. A more diverse congregation, money to meet their budgets, a younger and exciting preacher and vibrant music program. They are a growing church again. Is this a success story? Sadly, it is my belief that in God’s eyes it is not. They looked around them and found that they were deep in the mission field. They had mission all around them, not 100 feet from their front door, but they chose to retreat to an area of safety and security. They retreated to an area where they could have safe, have a predictable ministry, where they could say no when the cares of the world, like lunch at their favorite restaurant, called them away. To their understanding ministry was a liability. They had in their minds; this is church; but forgot that the purpose of worship is to bring the world into worship with us. Recently the Supreme Court thought of themselves as the Supreme Being and declared that States, even over the will of the majority, must allow Homosexuals and Lesbians to marry. Forcing even civil servants to go against their conscience and religious beliefs in order to carry out the will of a few for the benefit of a few. Even when it is contrary to the rights and sovereign States rights and the constitution. They punish small businesses who do not wish to participate in the matrimonial affairs of a minority. Next they will come after churches. Presidential candidates from the Democratic Party even suggest that religious convictions must take a back seat to the mandates of the federal government in this matter. So here we are, just like that church in Georgia. We are surrounded by ministry. What will we do when the homosexuals come to force us to into compliance against our beliefs in the Word of God? There is not freeway for us to relocate. There is no place to run. Gangs and crime most certainly surround many of us; what do churches do? What many churches have done is bolt the doors shut. They have revamped their bylaws to keep out those that are not members of our church. They have limited exposure to the outside world. They fear of being on the news, having their church vandalized and ridiculed because of a biblical stance on marriage. They, like the church in Georgia, have moved away from ministry, because ministry you know is messy, it’s uncomfortable, it’s a liability.Instead Churches think of ministry only in terms of what puts people in pews, money in budgets, and the number of baptisms they can report to higher as a banner of pride. But ministry is not about us. It may not even be about our little church. Ministry is about reaching into culture with God’s Word that changes hearts, changes marriages, changes parents, changes children. God’s word brings peace, but when confronting evil and wrong in the world it must bring conflict. What do we believe about God anyway? Is this not where we should be? Instead of retreat, should we not instead be in advance?! We should not be closing the doors, but telling the world, this is what Christian marriage is and this is what it is not! Christian marriage is between a man and woman for life! We should invite the notoriety of being the first church to refuse to marry a homosexual couple. We should dare the state to come after us in court. We should get on the news with the story of the Gospel, because that is what marriage is all about. In Ephesians 5: 32 Paul says of marriage, “This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and His church.” This is our time, ministry is here, right outside our door. Do we dare shut them? If we do, Revelations 5:2 says instead that it will be Christ who closes the door. But we will be the ones that will be shut out.