The first chair in any church, in any Biblically functioning community should be full of people who don’t know Jesus Christ personally. I will say it again. Let me rewind. The first chair should be occupied by people who are facing a Christless eternity. I would argue one-third of the people that don’t know Christ. The church is not a country club, it’s not a stained-glass fortress, it’s not a place for the already-convinced, it is a place to reach out. When we reach out, that’s when we grow.
The first time I ever got a hold of this was back at Florida State University. I played basketball at Florida State for the Seminoles. I was the only believer on the team. And for a while people made fun of me, they ridiculed me. And one day I had an opportunity to lead a teammate to Christ. It changed my life. Then I thought, OK, I gotta take him to church! So I took him to the church I was attending. A good church, traditional church, but they sang in tunes he did not understand. The leaders used words he didn’t connect with. And for the first time in my life I saw church through his eyes. And I thought, they have a message that’s timeless but their methodology is nuts. It’s ancient. It’s something this guy cannot connect with. So God spoke to my spirit and said, “Ed Young jr, I want you to lead a church and to have it a place, a restaurant, a house, where even people who are totally far away from God can come and hear this message, and understand the message.” Because see, when this chair is filled, when you’re praying for people who serve you coffee in the morning, when you’re praying high-risk prayers for people that you come in contact with around your work, when you’re praying high-risk prayers for people you play basketball or soccer with, God will open up opportunities, we take the relational risk, and invite them to the table. The first chair of any healthy church should be filled with those who are far away from God. Do you understand me? Chair 1, are those who are facing Hell. If you go to a church and you don’t have a lot of people who are far away from God there, that’s not a Biblically functioning church.
We have eternity to hang out with Christians! I’m not here to hang out with Christians! When Jesus started his ministry he said followers fish! And when he ended his ministry he said, “Fish!” He did not say yo, he said go! As you’re going, a you’re living your life, reach people. This is the most difficult chair for any church to reach. No matter where the church is located, this is it. It’s like Frederico. I speak in English, he translates it to Spanish. We have to take the message. Sometimes it’s complex, sometimes it’s hard to understand, we have to translate it for this chair. Be aware of the chair! If you cannot explain something in a simple way you don’t understand it. That’s what we have to do. Serve the food where people can eat it and understand what they’re eating.