I recently read an article in “Mission” magazine entitled “Matt Carter and the Austin Stone Community Church“. It first caught my attention because I realized that this church is a friend of Shelby Systems and a user of our software. It intrigued me to write this post, however, because of the message within the article…

Matt Carter is the founder and spiritual leader of the Austin Stone Community Church and he talks about the decision to build the church in a poorer neighborhood where he says, “We believe that God calls us to be more than a Christian country club for a few believers to come and hang out.”

This statement stood out to me because, as a writer on a faith-based blog, I spend a lot of time following other faith-based blogs, and the comments sections can bring in a lot of faithless people. A lot of the non-believers are cynical about Christians and the way we portray ourselves in society. In my opinion, a lot of their ideas of Christian actions are true. Of course, I do not share their main “beliefs” with them, but many of their examples come from the mistakes that some Christians have made.

Reading what Matt Carter had to say about Christianity and his mission for his church was reassuring, uplifting and interesting. Matt’s goal was to create a church where people will always feel welcomed and where they can be missionaries to those around them. In the interview with Matt, the writer of the article asked,

The Barna Group has given the statistic that 4 out of 10 people who don’t attend church do not attend because of negative experiences in the past with church people (i.e. legalism, judgment, lack of grace, hypocrisy, etc.). How are you discipling your people in becoming attractive for the gospel?

Matt’s answer? “This is simple: Jesus said when I am lifted up, I will draw all men to myself. When a congregation exalts Jesus instead of themselves, they will be much more attractive to the world.”

I had a great time reading this article and learning more about a church that we work with, and I admire the foundation that they are based on. Each church has its own idea about how to reach its community, and one idea is not any better than the next, but it was refreshing to read about one that is making such an impact in an area of Austin that was doubted so much in the beginning. After all, Jesus didn’t surround himself with the wealthy, but with those who needed Him the most.