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We Are God's "Store Window"
by Tom Goodman
May 2, 2013

What can a "Cardboard Testimony" teach you about church leadership?

We presented a segment in our service last Sunday called "Cardboard Testimonies."  Lots of churches have done this, of course, and we thought it would be the best way to end my sermon, "Can You Help Me Let Go of the Past?" in our series called "Questions I've Wanted to Ask God."  (That sermon will remain on the website for a few weeks here.)

A "Cardboard Testimony" is the simple act of holding up a handmade cardboard sign expressing a choice or behavior or situation that you've faced, and then turning the sign over to reveal what Christ has done with that.

I've posted a video clip of our church's Cardboard Testimonies here, but don't click to it yet.  I want you to think about what a Cardboard Testimony can teach you about church leadership.

You see, leaders point a group of people to a desired destination and they say, "Let's go."  What is the desired destination we want our church to arrive at?  In other words, what is our church supposed to be?

Read Ed Stetzer's comments from his book Subversive Kingdom.  Our Cardboard Testimonies segment showed what the Hillcrest Family should be doing every day, every week, as we live our witness in Austin:

[God] can do amazing things just through the visible interactivity of God's people living our sold-out lives together, day in and day out for our King and his kingdom.

In this sense the church is a present-day sign of the kingdom of God.

We are signs of the kingdom in our confession and repentance, demonstrating our need for Christ, showing that God's acceptance of us is based not on what we do for him but on what our Lord Jesus has done on our behalf (and theirs).

We are signs of the kingdom in our humility as we live together in dependence upon him for our daily needs, as we defer to one another instead of seeking to be recognized or to make a name for ourselves, as we welcome outsiders into our midst as full partners and partakers of the gospel.

We are signs of the kingdom when we show and tell others that Christ is sufficient for us during the varied and invariable sufferings of life, that his kingdom is a place where difficult circumstances may intrude but can never rule -- not for those who are already at home in an eternal, never-ending relationship with him.

We are signs of the kingdom as seen in the overall Godward trajectory of our lives, despite the fact that in certain singular moments we are far less faithful and godly than we mean to be.  So, no, we aren't perfect, as both we and the world would wholeheartedly agree.  But our King is perfect, and his kingdom keeps drawing out the best in us.

In living together as God's people under his reign and lordship, our churches provide to the world the closest resemblance of the kingdom of God on this side of eternity.  We are the invisible kingdom made visible through the people of God and their shared lives on earth.

We are the church.

Where the world comes to window shop.

I recently traveled on business to New York City [and] I seized the opportunity to take one of my daughters with me....  Everywhere we turned, we found ourselves in front of another store or shop, drawn to those huge window displays, each one enticing us to come inside and see what else was back there -- to find out how it looked up close, how it felt in your hand, what it was really like behind the glass.

The window made you want it.

Our churches are meant to serve the same sort of function.  We are God's "store window" on earth where he shows off his kingdom.

Good stuff.  Okay, now that you know that we leaders are both to be and to lead others to be God's "store windows," click here to watch the video.


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