I was a defensive end for the Kosciusko Whippets in Mississippi. My responsibility on most plays was containment. No running back was supposed to get outside of me. If they did, my teammates who were all inside of me would have little chance to tackle the runner. Keep them inside.
Because my role was containment, my posture was defensive. Defensive ends stood instead of getting in a three point stance. My hands were out in front of me. My inside leg was back a little. When an offensive player came to block me, I used my hands to avoid being knocked down. I would back up, instead of advancing. I would string out the play. Obviously, if I got pushed to the sidelines easily, that was a problem, but backing up was fine. My goal was to keep the play contained until my advancing teammates could pursue the man with the ball. I played in defensive mode.
The church has been in defensive mode. Much of what we do that we call ministry is done behind church walls. We feel safe there. Defensive mode.
We only read Christian books, watch Christian movies, listen to Christian music, attend Christian schools (or homeschool), and have Christian friends. Defensive mode.
For many churches, there is not goal to “seek and save the lost.” The goal is protecting the truth. Every community I’ve lived in has a church that always stays about 30 strong, has no impact the community, but stands for the truth. Defensive mode.
We say a lot, “We are in the world, but not of the world.” We emphasize “of” to affirm that we are not like them. The truth is, though, we are not in the world. We are in our buildings. We might get out occasionally for a two-week mission trip, but we are quickly back to our buildings waiting for the next two-week trip. Defensive mode.
We string the play out, and string it out, and string it out. Maybe we are waiting for our other teammates to pursue, but we are finding that we have a bunch of defensive ends. And we’ve been pushed to the sideline.